Moving a windows 7 install to new hardware

webiis used Ask the Experts™
I would like to know the best way to move windows 7 to a new motherboard without having to reinstall the OS and programs. Is there a way to do this? People say carbonite but will that work with different hardware?  Any ideas?
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I've had good luck with Paragon's Drive Copy to accomplish this.  You can boot it from a USB stick and then have it do an adequate enough job of setting up drivers that you'll be able to boot on the new motherboard.

Depending on how different the new motherboard is, this might not be necessary at all.

Of course, be careful about Windows licensing issues.  Depending on which type of Windows license you have, this may or not be in compliance.


It's a non-profit with (I believe) volume license on their PC's. The manager said the license was purchased separately, so not an OEM license. Would that be in compliance? I'll  pass the information along. Thanks
You should check with Microsoft's site ("I heard it on EE" will not hold much weight!) but I believe that with a volume license you can move it to different hardware.
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OK thanks, I'll get in touch with his sales rep. What is EE?
RaminTechnical Advisor

the answer is simple no, it is not easy, you might have licensing problem also driver and controller problem.

more details:
Joseph HornseyPresident and Janitor

CompProbSolv - EE is "Experts Exchange".  :)

Regarding your issue, if they're a non-profit with volume licensing, the license is not tied to any specific computer or hardware, so moving them around is not a big deal as long as you stay compliant with the number of licenses you have.  If Windows comes up and says it needs to be activated, just put in their volume license key again.

As far as moving to a new motherboard, you can just install the motherboard and then deal with whatever driver issues come up.

This isn't the same as dealing with an OEM or retail license... the license isn't tied to hardware at all.
Top Expert 2013
paragon has a tool for this : Adaptive Restore - tested it and it works well; you Do need to install the drivers for the new motherboard, after the move though
John TsioumprisSoftware & Systems Engineer
Personally i have migrations working just fine even to systems with a lot of dissimilarities like Intel to AMD ....but this was a customized installation with a lot of extra drivers slipstreamed...BUT...i always go for a clean install unless it is utterly critical to maintain the current specialized parameters for legacy applications....try to find a motherboard that is as close match to the original...if there are no issues like performance or features missing (e.g SATA support) then probably is best to look for a 2nd hand...
Before powering up with the new motherboard I would:
  • Make a drive image or backup the entire drive.
  • Download any new drivers needed (especially ethernet drivers)
  • Power up and install the new drivers
  • Run Windows Update to pick up any leftovers
  • Check system properties to make sure Windows is still activated

If Windows does not activate you can contact Microsoft, let them know you swapped out the motherboard and they will provide you with an activation code.  They have always done that for me (I used the phone number provided on the activation screen).   All licenses allow for hardware component replacements.

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