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Old 7th March 2017, 9:53 PM   #1
osmodiar Thread Starter
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Default Can I swap a dead mobo without a reinstall?

Howdy, had a crap night of troubleshooting for a mate so far. Gigabyte Z170-D3H - Started restarting a week ago, now won't boot at all not even a light on it (anyone know if this board/all Giga boards have an led when they have power?) Doesn't mention it in the manual. It has an led strip but I can't find out if it's meant to light before post or not.

I've swapped out the power supply, ram, and even the power switch, disconnected everything but essentials, it just blips the power supply fan for a microsecond and then nothing, no light no beep zip.

What's the story with swapping boards these days (Windows 10), will it cope with a totally new board and just need activation or do I need to get one with the same chipset, or does it need to be the exact same board to avoid reinstalling from scratch? (Need one tomorrow looks like they are obsolete/sold out everywhere local so far)
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Old 7th March 2017, 10:13 PM   #2
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Being Gigabyte board, have you tried the old reset the CMOS for an hour trick?

Worked to bring back many gigabyte boards for me in the past. However those were usually plagued by the infinite reboot bug. Not sure if it would help for you. But no harm in trying.

1. Turn power off, and unplug power cord.
2. Remove CMOS battery
3. Short the Clear CMOS jumpers and leave it there for an hour
4. Un-short jumpers
5. Replace battery and plug power cord in then power it up

Good luck.
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Old 8th March 2017, 7:48 AM   #3
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Win10 is pretty accepting of board swaps. Just make sure to uninstall any software/drivers that aren't required with new board.
You will most likely need to reactivate Win10 as well, you will prob need to do the phone activation, they may ask you why you need to reactivate, just be honest and tell them you are replacing a dead motherboard and their won't be an issue.
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Old 8th March 2017, 8:19 AM   #4
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You can swap boards multiple times, each time MS gets a bit tougher about it on the phone.

OTOH, if your board is linked to an MS account, then the activation is linked to your MS account, NOT the board (or so the MS monkey explained to me the last time I found it necessary to do this).

When reactivating Win10 after installing a new board, it actually asks you for the MS account 'your device' is linked to.. until now I've had to proceed without doing so. I've linked it now.. had to sign in to MS then switch accounts to avoid the login BS.. but I haven't had a board fail since to confirm that its as easy as the monkey claimed.
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Old 8th March 2017, 9:05 AM   #5
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I think once I was able to do a straight gigabyte swap of the motherboard without reactivation. Strange, but it seemed happy.
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Old 8th March 2017, 11:28 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input, I have removed the cmos battery for a few minutes and briefly shorted the cmos clear pins, not for an hour though..

I noticed the heatsink over the cpu vregs is fairly loose, so maybe they got fried.

So do I need to worry about finding a Z170 board which seem to be out of stock or can I swap in the newer Z270 and it will be close enough? Seems like they are very similar chipsets.

I will probably have to do the MS phone activation as it was a Win7 upgrade

I can't seem to find any warranty information from Gigabyte / MSY websites either, this one would be more than 1 year but less than 2 years old

Last edited by osmodiar; 8th March 2017 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 11th March 2017, 8:02 AM   #7
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I have swapped out SSDs with WIN10 on them from my NUC to my gaming PC (ASRock Z68 Extreme4 (and vica versa)) and both OS worked without issues (one cried out the license was void but a phone call to MS got that sorted).
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Old 11th March 2017, 6:32 PM   #8
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The motherboard webpage will show which CPUs it supports.
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Old 11th March 2017, 7:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osmodiar View Post
Thanks for the input, I have removed the cmos battery for a few minutes and briefly shorted the cmos clear pins, not for an hour though..

I noticed the heatsink over the cpu vregs is fairly loose, so maybe they got fried.

So do I need to worry about finding a Z170 board which seem to be out of stock or can I swap in the newer Z270 and it will be close enough? Seems like they are very similar chipsets.

I will probably have to do the MS phone activation as it was a Win7 upgrade

I can't seem to find any warranty information from Gigabyte / MSY websites either, this one would be more than 1 year but less than 2 years old
Any chip that will run in a z170 will also run straight out of the box on a Z270, no problems. If you were moving a Kaby Lake to a Z170, you'd need to flash the BIOS, but in the other direction, no issue.

You'll probably need to do the MS activation in either case if you want to use your existing drive/OS, but its worth trying to use your Win7 key to activate it before you call them. Generally the first time, this works, but not always, and usually only once.
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Old 16th March 2017, 8:26 AM   #10
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Thanks again all,

I tried the board swap last night with a Z270-HD3, it looked like it was going to work - The new board lit up and booted into bios, I thought we were golden.

Then I noticed the SATA section was reporting no device detected. I tried all the sata ports, many different sata and power cables, even a power cable from a separate running computer, could not get the SSD to be detected at all.

Really confused at this one, unless i'm missing something it must be a dead board AND a dead SSD at the same time? It's a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB, I mean what are the chances. The computer was transported a fair distance in a car, but I couldn't see any physical damage or burnt out components on the board, it all looked fine. Power supply is an Antec Edge 650, wasn't a cheapie and it seems to be working fine at the moment, not sure what to tell the guy.
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Old 16th March 2017, 9:21 AM   #11
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That sata cable can be physically damaged inside where the connectors are.
Look to see if contact strips are pushed back.

Same symptoms as you described happened to me.
Then you can add dust in the ram slot. Especially if you moved the case
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Old 16th March 2017, 9:51 AM   #12
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If you have tried different SATA cables on the new board, and a different power supply, then I'd be looking at the SSD as faulty. Try the SSD in another computer with a known working copy of an os (even a linux box will do - you'll be able to read the drive from linux, and check the partitions out with gparted).

Even a 5-10 year old laptop with usb and an external usb 2/3 enclosure will suffice for this test. And if said laptop has no os on it, a linux live CD or USB will work.

To check the new board isn't faulty, grab any old sata hard disk you have lying around with a known good SATA cable and see if its detected in the bios. You don't actually need to boot up the drive, just adds evidence with this test that either the board is at fault, or the SSD is dead.

I've noticed a lot of people motherboards have been dying lately, including my old faitful Z77E-ITX (replaced the entire guts with a new kaby lake setup), a mates Gigabyte, and just now I got a call "my computer wont start" from another friend. I am on a frenzy at the moment building mates new computers LOL
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Old 16th March 2017, 10:07 AM   #13
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Yes I've had decent ssd's die. No warning at all.
The damaged sata cable I had ....... effect was damaged x2 dvd drives.
They later did errors & played up to buggery. New drives too
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Old 16th March 2017, 10:12 AM   #14
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depends on the hard drive controllers, if the previous board used a similar controller and the driver was initialised you should be fine.
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