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Can I upgrade Hardware after Win7 Install?

    Question

  • I build my own computers for personal use.  Currently I am running XP 32x on a completely custom PC.  As a student, I cannot resist purchasing Win7 64x for $30 (I do have a 64x processor (AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+).   I assume I can move from 32 to 64 bit in this case because I am currently on XP and would have to do a clean wipe anyway (please confirm this).

    If that is possible, my concern is that I stagger my upgrades to my PC.  This deal happens to be here now for the next few months only.  My motherboard is a Biostar TF570 SLI, which only supports up to 4GB of RAM at up to 800 MHz.   Of my hardware, the motherboard is currently in the running for next logical upgrade.  When that is done, it would most likely mean a CPU change and RAM upgrades (to take advantage of the shift to 64 bit).

    So my question is:  Will upgrading hardware on a PC affect the OS installation on the Hard Drive?  

    I look at this as future proofing myself in that I have the basic requirements to run 64 bit,  more and more software is availible in 64 bit editions, and at $30, allows me to take a step towards the next generation of PC Technology.   If hardware WILL be an issue, can I still take advantage of the deal, and keep the purchased DVD and CD-KEY for use after my hardware is upgraded to take full advantage of 64 bit and only install after such upgrades have been made?

    Thank you for your thoughts and responses.
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 9:14 AM

Answers

  • So my question is:  Will upgrading hardware on a PC affect the OS installation on the Hard Drive?  


    compagent, there are a number of different ways your question can be interpreted, because it is rather vague.


    Will a motherboard change prevent you from using your student upgrade special offer to install again afterwards?

    No, it will not.  You will be able to install again on new hardware afterwards, get your install activated, and use Windows 7 without problems.

    Will a motherboard change deactivate your installation?

    Almost certainly.  It would only mean, though, that you'd need to use the telephone activation option to reactivate the install.

    Will there be any structural/operational/system corruption issues arising from a motherboard change?

    As Robinson Zhang has indicated, the 'recommended' course of action is to perform a clean install afterwards, for a fresh start.  That's the 'safe' advice to give.  But in reality the answer is more likely than not to be, again, "No."  If you rebuild your rig, pop the drive back in it and boot up the most likely outcome will be that Windows will churn away for a while detecting new components and installing device drivers accordingly, maybe reboot a time or several in the process, and eventually present you with a fully working, problem free installation again.  Windows 7, like Vista before it, actually handles a hardware change such as a motherboard replacement quite well.  Windows XP didn't, but windows XP was rather unsual in that respect.

    There's no harm in trying, and there's a very good chance of success.  I'd suggest that you only install again afresh if you actually DO encounter problems after the motherboard change (other than just the deactivation/reactivation issue, of course)..
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:31 AM
    • Marked as answer by compagent Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:53 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 5:15 AM

All replies

  • Hi, Yes you can do a clean install of W7 64bit. Boot to W7 and it will check to see if you have valid and activated XP.

    It will then create a Windows.old folder for your XP data. ( Backup important data first just in case. )

    Now I would suggest you pay the extra price for the DVD disc, as the download and unzip of W7 has been a nightmare for a lot of users.

    Your hardware setup is ok for W7 64bit. When you change CPU, you will be prompted to re-activated after 3 days. this should be ok done over internet.

    You would only have a problem if you change your Motherboard, You would then need to talk to a Microsoft Person and explain what you have done.

    They would then decide to activate your W7.

    Slan go foill, Paul
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 10:45 AM
  • Most of the items that WGA looks for are on the motherboard, and Microsoft considers the motherboard to "be" the computer. I don't recall the link to the list of 10 things the WGA looks for, and they may have changed anyway, but swapping motherboards is enough to kill an OEM license. (Unless you can sweet talk a Microsoft rep into issuing a new key, or doing a phone activation)

    At any rate, your currently installed OS will very likely become invalidated. In this case, you have three days to resolve the issue (instead of 30).

    However, if you are talking about the $30 student discount, those are FULL licenses. You don't have to have a previous version of Windows to use those. You can either upgrade XP (via a clean install) or do a fresh, clean install. There are instructions on the web for burning the files to a bootable DVD.
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:18 PM
  • Hi Compagent,

    Changing motherboard is a significant hardware changing to Windows 7. As a result, it may cause unexpected issue, it is recommended to reinstall Windows 7 after changing motherboard. 

    In additon, if you change another hardware, it may cause a re-activation issue. For your reference:Windows Vista Activation FAQ. (Currently, I haven't see Windows 7 version)

    Hope it helps.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 2:56 AM
  • So my question is:  Will upgrading hardware on a PC affect the OS installation on the Hard Drive?  


    compagent, there are a number of different ways your question can be interpreted, because it is rather vague.


    Will a motherboard change prevent you from using your student upgrade special offer to install again afterwards?

    No, it will not.  You will be able to install again on new hardware afterwards, get your install activated, and use Windows 7 without problems.

    Will a motherboard change deactivate your installation?

    Almost certainly.  It would only mean, though, that you'd need to use the telephone activation option to reactivate the install.

    Will there be any structural/operational/system corruption issues arising from a motherboard change?

    As Robinson Zhang has indicated, the 'recommended' course of action is to perform a clean install afterwards, for a fresh start.  That's the 'safe' advice to give.  But in reality the answer is more likely than not to be, again, "No."  If you rebuild your rig, pop the drive back in it and boot up the most likely outcome will be that Windows will churn away for a while detecting new components and installing device drivers accordingly, maybe reboot a time or several in the process, and eventually present you with a fully working, problem free installation again.  Windows 7, like Vista before it, actually handles a hardware change such as a motherboard replacement quite well.  Windows XP didn't, but windows XP was rather unsual in that respect.

    There's no harm in trying, and there's a very good chance of success.  I'd suggest that you only install again afresh if you actually DO encounter problems after the motherboard change (other than just the deactivation/reactivation issue, of course)..
    • Proposed as answer by Techwrighter Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:31 AM
    • Marked as answer by compagent Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:53 AM
    Wednesday, October 28, 2009 5:15 AM
  • Thank you all for the replies.   Being a custom PC builder, the primary concern is to be able to install Windows 7 (or any future) and be able to continue upgrading parts of the system.  It is entirely possible that 2 years from now everything in my system will be different except for the hard drive. 

    Based on what you all have shared, that will not be a major problem, with the worst case being reactivation via phone and explaining my situation.   A motherboard change is by far the most substantial, so this issue is pretty much a one time deal.

    Thank you for your responses.
    Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:57 AM