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Will A Motherboard Upgrade Cost You Your Windows License?

Mike in Colona, Illinois asked us about avoiding problems with Windows after upgrading a PC


Mike asked: “Last year, I purchased a gaming computer for my son that had Windows 8. It upgraded to Windows 10. If I wanted to upgrade the motherboard in this computer, will I have a problem with my Windows 10 License?”


Mike, unfortunately you almost certainly will.

Microsoft doesn’t share much about how it detects whether a computer is the same that received the license in the first place or not, but generally small predictable changes like getting a new hard drive, or expanding your system’s RAM, don’t trigger any alert. A motherboard however is a much more serious change.

Windows will almost certainly fail the activation process

Windows will almost certainly fail the activation process, Microsoft ties Windows to hardware and to them a new motherboard is more likely to be a new computer than just a new part, but that doesn’t mean you’d be forfeiting the license completely. After your son’s computer fails to automatically activate Windows, you’ll be given the option to type in your license number manually, that will fail too, then you’ll be warned that you’re running a non-genuine copy.

Don’t worry, you should be able to go to Services and apps, then Windows, and finally Setting up. From there you should be able to either chat or talk on the phone with a Microsoft representative that can remotely activate your Windows 10 for you.It’s a little more unnerving than just having things work on their own, but it’s not too rare a situation, and it will probably go your way.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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