Microsoft support articles are effectively (almost completely) silent on the subject of adapting an installed operating system to a different motherboard.  Because there is no official guidance from Microsoft, Windows users have developed a variety of methods on their own.  With no standard procedure, users variously modify basic methods with alternate procedures.  Following are the various methods reported to be used successfully by Windows users.  All known alternate procedures for each basic method are included.

For the benefit of Windows users, Microsoft should publish recommended step-by-step procedures for each operating system.  Methods need to be unambiguous and standardized.  There are currently too many variants.  Itís confusing. 

If  Microsoft has no recommended procedure because it finds that Windows adapts poorly to a motherboard swap (and they canít therefore recommend a procedure other than a fresh Windows reinstall), then the Windows operating systems needs to be improved.  Changing a motherboard and moving a hard drive to new hardware are not unusual occurrences.  These common events should not require that Windows and all applications be reinstalled.

Due to lack of information from Microsoft, the majority of information contained herein comes from unofficial sources.  Accordingly, use it at your own risk.  Raw user reports forming the original basis for this guide can be found at:

This document is an ongoing public project continually improved by user feedback.  Corrective comments and other helpful input from Windows geniuses is requested. 

Guide created  on:  January 6, 2002.

Lee Kenyon - Seattle, WA

Guide has updated 12th February 2004

Mark Walmsley

Guide Updated 15th April 2005

Mark Walmsley

Guide Updated 10th Jan 2006

Mark Walmsley