Can you switch mobo and cpu (Intel to AMD) without reinstalling windows 10

So I have previously switch pc components like the mobo and cpu, provided they are the same socket without reinstalling OS.

Can I do the same by switching from Intel to AMD CPUs too?

You can but from my experience you can also encounter random weirdness.
Last year I switched from Skylake to Comet Lake and my new CPU was locked to my old boost clock.

Reinstalling windows solved the issue.

TL;DR i wouldn’t recommend it

1 Like

I’d say give it a go.

Worst case is you have to reinstall anyway. There’s not much to lose by trying.

But backup important stuff first anyway.
Always backup your data, not only when switching hardware.

1 Like

Likely, but why?

There should be nothing but OS and apps on your main drive so wiping and re-installing off a USB stick should be easy peasey these days.

Keep in mind that you will lose activation,
when your particular license is oem.

1 Like

Lazy, I couldn’t be bothered to reinstalling applications and network drives and printers for the office

The proper way to do this is with sysprep to generalize your OS before changing the hardware. Alternatively, you can go through the device manager and just start removing all the devices that won’t be on the new system.


Does Microsoft link the lincense to the CPU, MOBO or a combination of both? Curious.

It seems to be hit and miss and might depend how far apart the generations are.

I built a new PC with a friend of mine, old one was an i7 4790(?), new one was a Ryzen 5600X and while it booted, it immediately bluescreened after loading the login screen.
Safe Mode worked, so I thought it was GPU drivers, so DDU’d them and reinstalled, no luck. Did the Windows reset thing and it has worked ever since.
I don’t remember if she had to re-activate windows though.

Microsoft links to the MOBO, you can change most everything else out, but it may take a phonecall to reactivate. If it’s OEM, don’t know.

It links to motherboard ID when it’s a oem license.
A Retail license can be transfered to a new machine.
There is also a Digital license which can be transfered as well i believe.

1 Like

Short answer, yes, but expect possible weird problems.

Longer answer, yes, but Windows tends to mold itself around the hardware on install, so changing it without a reinstall causes undefined behavior.

Licensing aside, it’s actually ultra easy to just move your hard drive from one computer to another. The last few months have found me moving my OS around across a few different motherboards/processors.

The first time you do it’ll take a bit longer to boot and add drivers, but after that, no problem.

  1. Check your license. If it is an OEM, you will need another one. Windows stores the activation information into the BIOS, and you will lose if even if you wipe out the BIOS
  2. Backup your data
  3. Replace hardware
  4. Boot. If all goes well, you will have a slow boot, but it should work. However Windows has the information/drivers of all the previous hardware that slows down and sometime conflicts with your current.
  5. Left click “Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > Environment Variables”
  6. Bottom box, System Variables, click “New” and add:
    Variable name: devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
    Variable Value: 1
  7. Click “OK, OK, OK” and close window
  8. Open “Device Manager”, select menu “View” and click on “Show hidden devices”. This will enable you to see all the old devices. You will notice they are grayed out.
  9. Right click on each of the grayed out and select “Uninstall”. Carefull to not uninstall devices that may be disconnected, but you need them, like external drives, printers, etc.
  10. It will take a while, but once you remove them all, reboot and it should be quite fast.
1 Like

can you do it? yes. should you do it? NO!.

  1. you will have to revalidate windows regardless. and will likely have to ring microsoft to get a new key when the validation thinks you have a whole new pc… (windows uses your mac address among other things to validate your key)

2)when you install windows it sets up a hardware layer and loads default drivers for that hardware.
so if you installed with intel, it will have all the base intel drivers, to get windows running.
if you swap out the motherboard and cpu, windows will still try to load the defaults for the intel chip, despite you now trying to run on amd, end result GUARENTEED instability.

your best option is save all your personal data to another drive.
photos, music, other media, saved game files and the likes. and fresh install.
on a modern system with an ssd its about 20 mins and maybe an hour of installing your preferred av and other software.

oh you dont wanna fresh install because of all the software you have installed…
yep that sux… but fresh install is the only real option…

oh and again regardless your gonna have issues revalidating windows with a new motherboard and cpu… i had this issue myself, i signed into my m.s account and it still wouldnt validate.
so had to call M.S.
10 mins later they gave me a new key.

1 Like

This really depends on the type of key. @MisteryAngel outlined them well. If you have a digital key attached to your Microsoft account you generally shouldn’t have to much trouble.

1 Like

That’s what I thought too, but that didn’t work out on my friend’s PC (see above).

Customers should not be scared of Microsoft… Microsoft should be scared of its customers…

Try KMSpico. Or better yet, switch to Linux.

Barnacles Nerdgasm is warning against KMSPico as all the copies circulating are all fakes. KMSPico ended development and people switched to something called HWID. Won’t help this situation as it’s a hardware level change, and you’re changing hardware.

If you’re super desperate, Windows 10 AME.

that was the plan when i did the upgrade. but it failed to validate.
i had a digital key registered to my account. but when i signed in the system wouldnt validate.

the key i had… an oem key for windows xp, free upgrade to windows 7 pro, and free upgrade to windows 10 pro digital.

then when i got my ryzen. installed the motherboard cpu and ram.
installed with a m.s account and it just didnt validate it… so had to ring em. and yeah they were nice enough to issue me with a new key.
when they didnt have to :slight_smile: as id already had my free upgrade.