Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Upgraded to Windows 8, can I change the motherboard?

  1. #1


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8 Pro

    Upgraded to Windows 8, can I change the motherboard?


    Hi, I came into possession of a quite powerful, but last-gen, PC that came installed with Windows XP Pro OEM. Now at the moment I can't afford to upgrade all the internal parts so I chucked in a new graphics card to help it along and I upgraded it to Windows 8 Pro. My question is, in the future when I can afford proper upgrades will I be able to change the motherboard? I know that with XP OEM that was not allowed, but now it's been upgraded to Windows 8 is it allowed or is it still forbidden?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello Spinner, and welcome to Eight Forums.

    A Windows 8 Pro upgrade copy uses a retail key, so yes you will be able to install it on any computer/motherboard you like so long as it's uninstalled from any others first.

    Clean Install with Windows 8 Upgrade

    Hope this helps,
    Shawn
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2
    Windows 8 Pro


    Oh that's good news! So just to be sure, essentially I should be able to swap out the motherboard right now and Windows 8 will still continue to work, even though it was upgraded from Windows XP OEM?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    There are at least two considerations: license and technical.

    The license requires that you have a qualifying older OS to use the Win8 upgrade. If you acquire a new motherboard, you can't use the old OEM XP license to qualify the Win8 upgrade on the new motherboard. You can legally move a retail Win8 upgrade onto any machine that has a qualifying OS on it.

    Technically, if you just swap the hard drive with the WIn8 installation into a system with a new motherboard, it may or may not run.

    It's possible to clean install Win8 onto a blank HD using an upgrade copy. (I've never done it.)

    Clean Install with Windows 8 Upgrade[2]=Installation and Setup

    If you do it without having a legit qualifying OS in hand, you are violating the EULA (end user license agreement).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello Bob,

    His qualifying OS was the XP Pro OEM, so he's good with the EULA there.

    Since Windows 8 upgrade is a retail key and not an OEM key, he doesn't have to worry about Windows 8 being permanently tied to any motherboard like the XP Pro OEM was.

    Since he is replacing the motherboard, he will most likely need to reinstall Windows 8. Luckily the EULA allows him to be able to do a straight clean install with the Windows 8 upgrade.

    He will not have any issue doing it. I've done it several times already.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Brink View Post
    Hello Bob,

    His qualifying OS was the XP Pro OEM, so he's good with the EULA there.

    Since Windows 8 upgrade is a retail key and not an OEM key, he doesn't have to worry about Windows 8 being permanently tied to any motherboard like the XP Pro OEM was.

    Since he is replacing the motherboard, he will most likely need to reinstall Windows 8. Luckily the EULA allows him to be able to do a straight clean install with the Windows 8 upgrade.

    He will not have any issue doing it. I've done it several times already.
    What OS would be used to qualify the use of the Win8 upgrade on the new motherboard? The OEM XP license is not valid for that; it's only good for the original motherboard. I imagine that you know that better than I do.

    I'm not here to protect Microsoft's interests. However, do you assume that because it's easy to install Win8 on a blank HD using an upgrade license (without any qualifying prior OS installed), that it's implicitly OK, even though explicitly it's not allowed?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 22,576
    64-bit Windows 10


    I think you may be confusing the XP OEM with the Windows 8. The Windows 8 upgrade key is a retail key, and will always be so. It's not the same as the old OEM keys that can only be used on the same motherboard it was first activated on. A retail key can be used on any computer or motherboard. Upgrading from an OEM doesn't make the Windows 8 OEM as well.


    The qualifying OS (XP sp3, Vista, or Windows 7) is only to qualify for being able to purchase the Windows 8 upgrade. The EULA allows him to transfer the Windows 8 upgrade to another computer (or motherboard) as often as he likes, but the EULA does require you to no longer user the qualifying OS's product key while you have the Windows 8 installed.

    Basically, he is just transferring the Windows 8 upgrade he qualified for with his XP Pro to the new motherboard (aka: new computer).


    Now of course, if he had a new blank computer and didn't have a qualify OS or a Windows 8 he could transfer, he would have to purchase the full priced "system builder" copy of Windows 8 instead.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    You can change it, but you may have to reactivate your copy of Windows.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Tropical Island Pair a Dice
    Posts : 3,030
    Windows 8.1 Pro x64/ Windows 7 Ult x64


    Thanks for confirming that for me Brink, that's the way I understood it after reading the MS W8 upgrade EULA and many articles on the subject.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Brink View Post
    I think you may be confusing the XP OEM with the Windows 8. The Windows 8 upgrade key is a retail key, and will always be so. It's not the same as the old OEM keys that can only be used on the same motherboard it was first activated on. A retail key can be used on any computer or motherboard. Upgrading from an OEM doesn't make the Windows 8 OEM as well.


    The qualifying OS (XP sp3, Vista, or Windows 7) is only to qualify for being able to purchase the Windows 8 upgrade. The EULA allows him to transfer the Windows 8 upgrade to another computer (or motherboard) as often as he likes, but the EULA does require you to no longer user the qualifying OS's product key while you have the Windows 8 installed.

    Basically, he is just transferring the Windows 8 upgrade he qualified for with his XP Pro to the new motherboard (aka: new computer).


    Now of course, if he had a new blank computer and didn't have a qualify OS or a Windows 8 he could transfer, he would have to purchase the full priced "system builder" copy of Windows 8 instead.
    No confusion here.

    A retail Win8 license is transferable to a different PC (PC = motherboard). (The license purchased through the Upgrade Assistant is, as far as I know, a retail license.) However, the new PC must itself qualify for the use of an upgrade license. If the qualifying OS for the old PC can be transferred, that would be OK. (The old PC is supposed to be left with no OS.) If the qualifying OS for the old PC could not be legitimately transferred (OEM XP, for example), then the new PC has no OS.

    If Spinner installs and activates the Win8 upgrade on an unqualified PC, it doesn't offend me. As far as I know, Microsoft does not check for that. However, claiming that Redmond blesses such an installation is disingenuous at best.

    I'm done here. Feel free to speak the last word.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Upgraded to Windows 8, can I change the motherboard?
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