So here is my goal. My current system had Win7 Ultimate 64 on it (activated since the original install several years ago). I did the Win10 upgrade July 29 with no issues. Now I am looking a new hardware (motherboard, CPU and RAM) and I would like to be able to keep all the software / games intact. Ideally I want to simply transfer my old SSD to the new system, make a call to MS and get it reactivated, but I know they won't do it for the new system. Does this make sense?
If the Windows 7 Ultimate was a retail key then call Microsoft and point out to them that the Windows 10 EULA states in section 4.b that an upgrade from stand-alone software (retail version) is supposed to upgrade to stand-alone software (retail version) and you would like them to activate your Windows 10 on your new computer because you have moved it and not copied it.
A new board is the major hardware concern without any doubt as that can be considered a new machine. With the activation process now being changed by MS you may get them to activate it for you but be advised of one thing. The initial upgrade install over a fresh copy of 7 Ultimate x64 with SP1 required turned out "Buggy"! I ended up first going with a second upgrade to repair the first during the first week 10 was out and then saw the full clean install take place.
The first golden rule with any new version being tried out is simple. Make a full system image of the drive while 7 is still on it and then expect the worst! Either programs like your antivirus simply won't work or the upgrade will be too buggy to work with! As for a number of programs depending on what they are you risk incompatibility issues or may find some old XP capable app runs perfect on the 64bit 10! Let's see here's one test of the trial version of a recording program ironically used to grab a segment from a 2001 game title.
The free to try only allows up to 10 minutes max recording time while you know any game map can run a bit longer until I come up with the $40! if I decide to go with that particular program since it leaves it's own watermark for the web site's home page in the video. That one goes on everything for some reason while the 2014 build for the av program wouldn't even install on 10! At first I ended up with the 2016 beta form prior to the clean install which sees the 2015 yearly build suited for 10.
As you will find out for yourself fast it's best to prepared for starting everything all over fresh! Once the new mb is in along with the new cpu, memory, etc. you may find it simply easier to toss on a fast quickie for 7 and get that activated with a call to MS having a retail key already and once SP1 is on review the steps in the guide for seeing 10 activated without the need for the upgrade install but once you have the Genuine Ticket seen to simply replace 7 with a 10 clean install. Clean Install Windows 10 Directly without having to Upgrade First - Windows 10 Forums
From there you then find out just what will run on 10 as far as the programs you are presently running on 7. A good number surprisingly will still run on 10 while some will need to be replaced. For the most here 10 seems to be running a lot like 7 despite the new look and features it comes with. But I did break down and end up trying out Start menu 10 from Stardock for $5! since I have been using a shutdown gadget to replace the 7 shutdown button with optional settings for the Restart set as default instead of the constant need to right click on the Start>Power or on the Start button to scroll for the three options there.
I still preferred to have the "New Look" option over the 7 Start menu however while there are no tiles and as you can see the Restart option was set to default since the main build here runs 24/7 as a rule except for the periodic cleaning.
My upgrade from 7 to 10 was perfect. No issues and all my programs / data was retained. Same with my wife's system. My son had some issues, and I did a fresh 7 install, then the 10 upgrade and that went well too, other than having to reinstall all of his peripheral stuff, which is what I was trying to avoid for myself when I do my system upgrade in the near future (since some of the stuff I have installed I no longer have access to for a re-installation).
I do hardware reviews for an overclocking website, so there is a nice pool of hardware available to the reviewers and I plan to take advantage of that for my new system. As for me, I review CPU coolers and Cases - both of which I have a supply of to sell / trade. My wife reminds me regularly to get rid of all the computer stuff that is accumulating.
Well despite the advantage of having plenty of hardware options you still may end up with fewer software ones! Going from 7 to 10 is actually going three versions newer. You have to take that into consideration since each newer version will see some type of compatibility issue come up.
What I ended up running into here was seeing one out of three upgrades actually work out and not simply be found buggy from the start while clean installs were already planned ahead of time. When going to try out any new OS or even a new program the practical approach is simply having a disaster recovery plan in place just in case things go sideways on you! Here I would automatically lose a few programs not from compatibility issues but going over the limit on how times a certain 3rd party app can be activated before needing to buy it all over again as I previously was stuck doing.
Besides all that however each of those programs saw it's own installer configured to the hardware environment if not a complete stand alone type. Once you make a major hardware swap out you are simply putting a new machine together that will require a fresh start for everything from scratch. Since 7 isn't activated to all that yet the upgrade to save programs won't work but simply see those program folders included with the Program Files, Program Files(x86) for 64bit, and users folders tossed into the Windows.old with some programs typically small size being retained during the upgrade.
Anything that requires a product key on the other hand has to go fresh. If you have the retail key for 7 seeing a Repair Install might get 7 activated with the new hardwares but then you still can lose a few there needing a fresh install all over again. Then you add the change of OS going three versions newer with 10 to add even further to the confusion where newer versions that support 10 will have to be attained if available note! MS will first need to activate a clean install of 7 to the new set of hardwares since the "This is a counterfeit copy of Windows" watermark will be the first thing you are confronted with once you try booting into the original 7 install which might not even able to load up fully. When that happens the old 7 install may simply lock up on you to the greater extent due to the security measures MS already has in place.
I started the Insider thing last Nov. and I keep the Insider version of 10 running in a VM just to keep up with the new builds, so I have seen many of the less than stellar releases. But I am the hardware guy and I let my son handle the software issues. I think I have been through 10 of the Win 10 updates on different systems (for friends) and I think only two had some issues, and only one completely stumped me. I finally just told the guy that 7 was as good as it gets on his old laptop. The more I think about it I believe you are right - a new systems needs a fresh OS. I was really trying to save my SolidWorks installation - but I have it on my work computer too, so really it isn't that big of a deal.
On the old laptop you mentioned for a friend running into too many problems that could simply be from not seeing anything for 8.1 let alone 10 since the 10 installer will presently grab 8.1 updates when none for 10 are out. If the laptop saw 7 but never 8, 8.1 support that would explain a great deal there.
It was interesting that a friend who had lost everything in a house fire and ended up with a brand new 10 laptop was asking about how to get 7 on it where I had to explain it likely was simply too new a model even for 8 since it apparently just came out and would lack anything for the previous versions unless one was an OEM option. Dell often allows for the choice of OS with certain model series only usually being the case there. The ones you pay more for!