Custom PC Motherboards
If you have a PC built using custom parts, like one you put together yourself or had made at a PC shop, then changing motherboards and keeping your old hard drive and configuration is something you can do. I still think it is best practice to reinstall Windows, but you don’t always have to with a system like this.
Before you begin, make sure you have all the proper drivers for your new motherboard. If you purchased it new, then it should come with a CD. If possible, copy the contents of the driver disc to the hard drive before you swap motherboards, because I’ve seen computers where it couldn’t load the CD/DVD drives without some kind of motherboard interface drivers. It will also help make the drivers load faster from the hard drive as opposed to the CD. You should do the same thing with your Windows install disc, and copy the entire disc to a folder on your hard drive.
The first time you boot up Windows with your old hard drive and the new motherboard, you should expect it to go a little crazy. The video might only be 16 colors, your mouse may not work right off, and who knows what else. This is because the system will boot expecting to have the old motherboard and won’t yet have the drivers for the new motherboard. Just follow the on-screen prompts for driver installs and be ready to reboot a couple of times before it is finished.
After rebooting, be sure to check the Device Manager for any hardware that might not be working properly. Sometimes you have to manually install drivers for certain hardware. It all depends on the manufacturer. If for some reason your system just won’t work with the new motherboard, you may still have to reinstall Windows.