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How easy is it to replace my motherboard? Answered

 If I wanted to upgrade my motherboard but not any of the other components, could I do it without having to re-install windows and do loads of messing about software wise?



Best Answer 8 years ago

It's pretty easy, but you should get a kit with a CPU & memory. Why upgrade the board and stuff your older, slower chips in it?
When you start it up (assuming you've not broken anything) Windows will pick-up new hardware and for XP onwards require a re-activation - follow instructions it's straightforward, I've done it.
You'll then need to update drivers, the new board should come with a disk.


 I would buy a kit, but the reason for wanting to upgrade my motherboard is because there isn't enough space between PCI slots on it for the new graphics card i want to fit. Or maybe i don't need to upgrade the mobo if there is a way of moving the sound card... 

Is there any way of moving the sound card so that it is below the bottom of the mobo? Like a PCI Cable or something?

Oooh... that is something I intend to do, but haven't (yet). Tricky.
All I'm suggesting is that you buy a board-CPU-RAM package, it'll have onboard-sound and support the graphics-card. You don't need to spend that much, but you get the whole-thing upgraded, rather than just spending money to fit something in.


Your Windows installation may be installed on your hard drive but I believe it is tied to your motherboard. If you swap the motherboard you'll need to get in touch with Microsoft for a code. (or so I've heard)

Actually the code is on the side of the PC. 

Not that code.  If you make certain changes to the hardware you have to re-athorize windows.  You will have 30 days to do so.

Oh ok.  I almost forgot about that.

> could I do it without having to re-install windows...
.  Windows XP will balk if you make big hardware changes. I added RAM and a DVD burner and a screen popped up during boot that gave a toll-free number (US) to call and re-authorize. No problem other than the hassle of making the call.
.  Microsoft's license allows you to install your copy of Windows on only one computer and it is not transferable to a new one. Changing the mobo may be considered a new computer.

> and do loads of messing about software wise?
.  As others have pointed out, drivers may be a problem if you are using integrated audio and/or video. Any plugin cards should work OK.

Depends on how much you're relying on integrated motherboard hardware.

If you're using sound or video that lives on the motherboard, you'll need to make sure the right drivers are installed for the new motherboard. (That may not keep you from booting, but will keep you from doing anything fancy.)

Most of other hardware, these days, is connecting through well-standardized interfaces and while it might benefit from new drivers is likely to pretty much run with the drivers you already have.

Before buying,  make sure the new motherboard is mechanically compatible with your case (there are a few common layouts, and some uncommon ones) and electrically compatible with your power supply (if it runs faster, it probably draws more power and may need the power supply upgraded too).

I'm not sure the savings-versus-hassles tradeoff favors motherboard replacement these days. Know what you're getting into before you plunk down your cash.

I had one where the old motherboard I/O drivers would seize control during even safe mode boot, and screw things right up.


8 years ago

So long as your existing hardware is compatible with your new motherboard, no problem!  All the software is on the hard drive so there shouldn't be to much of an issue.  The hardest would be taking out and placing in the CPU, and then the physical effort of doing the transplant.

The shop you buy the motherboard from should be more than willing to do it for you at no charge, but if you want to do it yourself, they'll give you all the advice you need.

Either way, good luck!

In my experience, no, but I'd be interested to hear other people on this ?