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I have had a full retail (not OEM) version of Windows 7 x64 Ultimate installed on a PC for about a year. The SP and all of the many updates that MSFT has issued in the interim have been applied. If the boot drive is transferred to another PC with a different motherboard, as its boot drive, would the SP and all of those updates have to be reinstalled?

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The service packs and updates are still in the OS itself. Changing motherboards is like changing hardware. I've had varied success doing this kind of move, but my most recent time was with Windows 7 and it was quite smooth. In XP, I'd do backups, sacrifice some Jolt, and cringe when powering up. Sometimes it would work and sometimes need a re-format.

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Thanks. Did you tell Windows to do a repair or anything like that? Or does Windows just go out and try to find the right drivers automatically? – mrblint Feb 22 '13 at 20:25
There isn't a repair. It will try to install and uninstall things automatically. I recommend you have the manufacturer's install DVD for the new motherboard handy; sometimes it's needed to get the ethernet port working and almost always needed for something about the PCI bus. – Chris K Feb 22 '13 at 20:32
Generally it takes least twice the amount of time to play with installing drivers when a clean install is a much better idea. Starting fresh would likely let you get the most out of new hardware anyway... – Moses Feb 22 '13 at 20:39
@Moses: I have a years worth of installed programs and don't relish reinstalling all of them. If Microsoft made it easier to separate programs from O/S, it might be a different matter. I could just restore "My Programs" from backup. But it's not that simple. – mrblint Feb 22 '13 at 20:57
I've also moved motherboards with Windows 7, very recently in fact. Usually the only main concern is that Windows will notice the major hardware changes and will want re-activating within 3 days. If you're changing motherboard brand (or chipset) you may wish to install the new motherboard drivers prior to the move though. – Adambean Feb 22 '13 at 21:06

You might lose your service packs if you end up running the 'repair' process to get the new machine to boot.

Avoid it by making sure the OS is ready to move to new hardware.

The most important thing to do is prepare the OS before you move the HD.

Use sysprep as outlined in

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If he moves the hdd the correct way he won't need to repair anything. Best not link to material unless you make an attempt to document the process also in your answer. – Ramhound Feb 22 '13 at 23:17

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