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Mobo Swap With Identical Replacement But Same Boot Drive

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Nov 16, 2001
I finally completed my new build and it is now up and running. The build is based on an Asus Prime Z490-A. Unfortunately, the new Z490 has a problem; the Ethernet port is apparently partially dead. The device manager indicates it is installed and properly recognized by W10. However, the Ethernet port does not see the Ethernet cable and neither of the two lights above the port light. The W10 troubleshooter says no cable is connected. I tested the cable by plugging it into my laptop and it is alive and well. None of the pins in the RJ-45 connector are bent or misaligned, there is no debris inside the connector, and the connector seats with a satisfying click. I spent a lot of time with Asus and downloaded various new drivers they sent but no joy (using a USB WiFi connection). Asus stated the Z490 is defective and needs to be replaced. I just called Amazon to RMA the board and it could not have been easier or faster to get a replacement. The new replacement board will be here tomorrow and the represented I talked to is in North America. The entire call took only a bit over 4 minutes. Wow, what great customer service! No wonder Bezos is the richest guy on the planet.

Now my question.

The existing board is fully installed including video card, W10, Bitlocker, and all my software (MS Office & others requiring activation). W10 Pro is installed with a product code just purchased a few days ago. The only connected drives are the M.2 boot drive and and an M.2 storage drive, all, obviously, on the board itself. If I just swap boards, reinstall the two M.2 drives, can I expect any problems from Windows activation, etc.? I really do not want to do this clean install twice from scratch withing just a few days. I expect it to boot but I installed seven software packages all requiring activation on a limited number or only one computer.
You are being sent another motherboard of the same make & model, correct? If so Windows (& your other software) shouldn't make a peep & just carry on. My only concern might be with bitlocker since I have no experience with it.
The reactivate by phone option is still around & you have a legitimate claim for a failed mobo, so they should take care of you if anything happens.
You may have some MB drivers that will need updating. And any BIOS settings that you may have set up will need to be set up anew on the replacement board. But it should boot successfully. Afterwards, download any/all MB drivers that have most likely been updated since the board was manufactured and shipped to Amazon.
I'm not so sure Windows will activate automatically, even if the replacement motherboard is the same. Not sure how Microsoft identifies motherboards with regard to activation. But in any case, you should have no problem with phone activation should it be necessary.
Trents, I have an x38 mobo flashed with an x48 bios. That motherboard was giving me problems and I moved the Win10 ssd & q9650 to an actual x48 mobo. It didn’t need to re-activate, because it was already activated on that model mobo (according to the matching bios version). I’m still folding with that rampage formula & a gtx970.
I had an Intel NUC that failed and was sent an identical replacement and windows 10 would not reactivate on the new unit
Windows sees the motherboard's ID which is generated during installation based on the motherboard model and product key. Sometimes it works without additional activation, but usually not ( business Windows versions sometimes activate in a bit different way). In most cases, you will have to call MS support (usually it's an automatic system) and tell them that the motherboard was faulty and you had to replace it. Then they will provide you activation number (not a product key).

The only way in which you can activate Windows from older PC is when you use Win7/Win8 key on a new PC with Win10. As long as you make it up to 3 or 5 times (don't remember if they changed that or not) then it will activate. Microsoft key database is refreshed every some months, usually about 6 months so if for some reason Win7/8 key couldn't be activated then there is a high chance it will work in couple of months.

Regarding motherboards. I was switching M.2 and SATA SSD between AMD and Intel Z490, B460, X570, B550, and some more motherboards. Only in one case when I moved a drive from B550 motherboard to Z490 then I had some driver issues with AMD power driver, which somehow loaded on Intel motherboard.
All modern Intel motherboards have the same chipset drivers so in most cases when you change the motherboard then it may not find something additional like LAN driver which isn't in Intel chipset like 2.5Gbit/5Gbit/10Gbit Realtek or Aquantia.
All PC devices has a serial number (MB, video, any plugin PCIe device, HDD & SSD), so when you swap the MB, Windows sees that it's not the same MB that it was installed on even if it's the same model. In older OS's, you could make 3 changes and be ok but the 4th major change you would need to reactivate Windows, I don't know if it's the same with Win 10.

You can use Belarc Advisor to show all the info on all your devices as well as if you are missing any updates.
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