>old motherboard fries
>get a new one
>hard drive windows installation won't let me boot up
>apparently I have to 'buy it' again and cant even get my files back
Is Microsoft really THIS jewish or am I misunderstanding something?
what the fuck doesn't make sense? That windows key is only valid for your old motherboard. Do you even know how to google?
Boot up your system from a usable dvd or flash drive with Knoppix and back up your files that way
How the fuck are you using a computer
When you license your Windows installation, it reads what motherboard you have. If that bit of data doesn't match, it thinks you stole the OS. It's fucking retarded, but that's how it is. Just run RemoveWAT, KMSpico, whatever have you. Or install Linux.
>When I boot it up it wants to run a repair tool
It's not asking you to buy the OS again, it's just being stupid with the new hardware. Do you not have an OS disk to run repair from?
>Can I put it on a USB or something
If you have a different computer and the iso, yes. But Windows is weird about USB boot disks. If you try to put a 64bit version onto a USB while using a 32bit one it won't work period.
>dd linux root partition to another hard drive
>copy the git repo holding my dotfiles into the home partition
>put hard drive in new computer
>instantly in my usual environment
your install is fine, you're just fucking retarded. if the install was no longer activated, you would not be prevented from using it. either you need to configure your bios to use the correct settings (AHCI, raid, or whatever the fuck your other bored was set to), or there's a problem with the drive (data corruption or hardware failure)
either way, if you couldn't even figure that out on your own you have no chance at fixing it yourself you useless fuck.