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I am not sure if SO is right place to ask this question. I have Win 7 x64 installed in my computer. ( Intel C2duo + Some mATX Asus Mobo) .. I am planning to upgrade my comp and i was going to buy a diff mobo and planning to buy AMD Athlon2 X4 proc. So i was wondering

1) If i plugin my same HDD will my Win 7 x64 properly work with new AMD proc?? ( Yeah i know mobo drivers needs to be re-installed) . But moving from Intel to AMD proc, does it make a difference to Win 7 OS???

2) I am not sure if changing Mobo = requires new Win 7 license. (Win 7 was bought recently with my edu address)

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 10 '09 at 18:48

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You were right to question SO as the proper QA board. –  Stefan Kendall Nov 10 '09 at 18:46
    
+1 for the mobo, hilarious term ;-) –  Kugel Nov 10 '09 at 18:47
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5 Answers

Sure, Windows 7 is designed that you can create a single image and deploy it across your company. You only need to maintain two, one for x86 and one for x64 - that's it.

As the "x64" architecture is the same for AMD and Intel, you'd only run into problems if you're trying to go from Itanium (IA-64) architecture to x64 architecture. But since there's no such thing as Windows 7 for Itanium based systems (Only for Server 2008), you've definitely got a x64 processor and Windows 7 x64 and will be fine.

Worst case you'll have to phone Microsoft to reactivate... the phone call usually goes something like this:

  • Q: What is the first six digits of your installation ID?
  • A: ??????
  • Q: Is this the first time you are activating this product?
  • A: No?
  • Q: May I know the reason you are activating windows today?
  • A: Because I changed hardware or the hdd crashed or whatever..
  • Q: On how many computers other than this one (that’s the trick question) is this copy of windows installed on?
  • A: Zero

If you want to be really sure, then just run sysprep on your machine first. (Start > Run > Sysprep)

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You may have to reactivate your copy as it'll think you're on a different pc. This may require a call to MS to prove it's your license or that you're entitled to it. The actual processor and mobo will almost certainly work fine, activation is the more likely bugbear.

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I can't find specific documentation on this, but while Windows 7 IS more friendly with radical hardware change, I DO BELIEVE that you can expect major issues if you change processor architectures - that is, go from Intel to AMD or vise versa. IF you bought another Intel processor and mainboard - even a major updated Intel processor, I believe you should be ok (re-activation issues aside).

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In the WinXP days (I skipped Vista) it was the motherboard drivers which would prevent you from migrating your windows install between machines. In windows 7, that still seems to be the case but there are those who think you can hack out the manufacture specific drivers for generic ones and it will supposedly work. In my experience, this only works some of the time. There are a lot variables that have to line up in order to easily move a drive from one motherboard to another.

So to answer your questions:

  • Yes, the windows OS cares when you move hardware architecture between Intel and AMD, but not generally because of the processors themselves. If you just hook up the drive to the new system, expect it to blue screen before loading into windows.
  • No, you do not need to get another license. All non-OEM licenses can be migrated from system to system without breaking the EULA. OEM licenses can generally be migrated as well, but Microsoft frowns upon that practice.

So your "best" option is to backup your data, wipe the drive, and reinstall windows in the new system. This is guaranteed to work 99.9% of the time. (assuming you have good hardware)

Now if you are one of those people that have some "mission critical" software that for some reason can't be reinstalled (lost media, someone else installed, lazy user), there is a way to migrate your OS to new hardware. The bad news is that it takes a lot of work and is not recommended for "normal" users.

If you've worked in large IT departments, with hundreds of computers, you may have heard of something called sysprep. It's a OS deployment/replication tool that allows you to create something called an "image" that can be deployed to your organization. In this case, you would use sysprep to pack up your OS, removing machine specific information (SID,Drivers,HAL) and prepare it to do a partial reinstall on next boot. It's take too long to go over all of the details here, but I have links to others who have explained it.

http://callahansspace.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A125D1CFA42E21F7!987.entry

http://blog.brianleejackson.com/sysprep-a-windows-7-machine-start-to-finish

Read the links, and if your eyes start to glaze over, do yourself a favor and just reinstall the OS. You'll be back up in a few hours instead of a few days. Trust me on this. Also, if windows activation gives you problems, Sascha's answer tells what you need to say. As long as you say that it's only on one system, they will almost always activate it.

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I've just done this recently, moving from a 2006 vintage x64 Athlon (don't remember the model at work) to an i7 920. Windows wanted to be reactivated (twice, not sure why) and try to keep your HDD's on the same protocol - I set up AHCI mode for my SATA drives and Windows refused to load until I changed it back to IDE emulation.

Other than that Windows SHOULD load fine, though for better performance install the drivers for your new motherboard when you can.

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