motherboard swap without reformat?

my question is quite similar to a recent one but this is a little different scenario. i have an ecs k7zmm mobo with win xp pro os. i want to change the mobo with another ecs brand but with a higher model. can i do the swapping without reformatting the hard disk? and are there any procedures that i should do before replacing the mobo? will win xp just automatically look for changes and adjust itself to the new mobo?
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Install a new motherboard in a Windows 2000/XP system.

Swapping Motherboards Under Windows XP,3428,a=23979,00.asp

For the hard disk drivers

Click Start and then click Control Panel.
Change the Control Panel to Classic View and then double click on the System icon.
In the System Properties dialog box, click on the Hardware tab and then click on the Device Manager button.
In the Device Manager window, find the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers line and expand it. You'll see something like Intel 82371AB/ED PCI Bus Master IDE Controller (note that yours may have a different manufacturer - it's the first one in the list). Right click on the controller and click Update Driver.
The Welcome to the Hardware Update Wizard page appears. Click on the Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) option and click Next.
On the Please choose your search and installation options page, select the Don't search. I will choose the driver to install option and click Next.
On the Select the device driver you want to install for this hardware page, click on the Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller entry and click Next.
You will be asked for your Windows XP disk. Put your CD into the drive and point the Wizard to the right location. Or, if you have the installation files on your hard disk, point the Wizard to the location on your hard disk where the installation files are located. Click Finish when the wizard completes the installation of the new drive.
You'll be asked if you want to restart the computer. Click No and shut down the machine. Remove the disk and install it in your new computer!

Take a look at this MS KB

How to Move a Windows XP Installation to Different Hardware;en-us;314070


The information in this article applies to:

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see Q249694 .

IMPORTANT : The issues that are discussed in this article and in the linked articles are the most common problems and limitations that you may encounter when you try to restore a backup copy to different hardware. Other issues can also appear because of the variations in software and hardware configurations. You may be able to resolve any of these issues by troubleshooting the specific problems that occur, but compatibility issues may limit the success of the restore of a backup to dissimilar hardware.

This article describes how to move an installation of Windows XP to new, upgraded, or just different hardware. By using this information, you can:

Migrate a working Windows XP operating system and your installed programs to a different or more powerful computer in minimal downtime.

Replace a small system/boot disk drive with a larger system/boot disk drive.

Restore a Windows backup from a malfunctioning computer to a different computer for disaster recovery purposes.

Windows Backup (Ntbackup.exe) can handle differences in hardware configuration information between computers and maintain critical registry entries that are unique to the computer to which you are migrating information. This capability means that you can migrate to new hardware by performing a full backup of the source computer and then restoring the backup over a fresh installation of Windows XP on the destination computer.

Ntbackup.exe handles restore operations in the registry by first querying the following registry key:

This registry key indicates to Ntbackup.exe that certain registry keys under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM key should not be overwritten when files are restored.

An entry that ends with a backslash (\) indicates that a key is protected and that any keys or values under that key should not be restored. If the entry ends with a backslash and an asterisk (\*), all subkeys are "merged." In this situation, "merged" means comparing the start values of the keys in the backup set with the start values that exist in the current registry, to determine the correct key to restore.

If the value of the key on the backup set has a lower start value, the backup key takes precedence. If the value of the key in the current registry has a lower start value, the current key takes precedence. This process ensures that all services and devices start correctly after a "system state" restoration, even on dissimilar hardware.

For example: If the value of the following key on the backup set has a lower start value, the backup key takes precedence:
If the value of the same key in the current registry has a lower start value than the key you want to restore, the current key takes precedence.
                Original System   New System: Before Restore  After Restore
   DHCP Running:      YES                          NO             YES
   DHCP Running:      NO                           YES            YES  
   DHCP Running:      NO                           NO             NO
After the computer successfully restarts, Windows Plug and Play takes care of any minor differences in hardware configuration.
The Factors to Consider Before You Use This Procedure
Drive Letters and the %SystemRoot% Folder
For a complete migration to work correctly, the %SystemRoot% folder (the Windows folder in Windows XP) and the drive letters for any (target) volumes that contain a system-state component must be the same on both the source computer and the destination computer. This means that if the source computer has, for example, Windows XP Professional installed in the C:\Windows folder and has Active Directory (NTDS) and SYSVOL on separate drives, drive D and drive E respectively, the destination computer must have Windows XP pre-installed in a C:\Windows folder and contain drives D and E before the restore operation can succeed.
Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)
The HALs on both of the computers should be the same. This means that the source and destination computers should be using the same HAL type to achieve favorable results. Although this is not a requirement, the computer may not perform migration properly if the HALs do not match.

To determine the type of HAL that you are using on each computer:
Click Start , click Control Panel , and then double-click System .

On the Hardware tab, click Device Manager , and then view the listing under Computer . Possible values for the system description and the associated HAL include:

ACPI Multiprocessor PC = Halmacpi.dll
ACPI Uniprocessor PC = Halaacpi.dll
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC = Halacpi.dll
MPS Multiprocessor PC = Halmps.dll
MPS Uniprocessor PC = Halapic.dll
Standard PC = Hal.dll
Compaq SystemPro Multiprocessor or 100% Compatible = Halsp.dll
The Windows\Repair Folder
The Windows\Repair folder that contains your source computer hardware and software configuration files and the Setup.log file may not be valid for the new hardware on the destination computer to which you restored them. You should perform an in-place upgrade on the destination computer to update these files so that you can make the appropriate repairs in the future if necessary.
NTFS Volumes
You may need to start special filter drivers before you can restore files that contain reparse points to NTFS volumes. This means that before you can restore these types of files, you need to restart the computer after you restore the operating system. Examples of these types of files include Remote Installation Services (RIS) images that rely on Single Instance Storage (SIS), Remote Storage Server (RSS) files that you are restoring to managed volumes, or other third-party services that use reparse points and require filter drivers.
The Procedure for Moving a Windows Installation
On the destination computer, perform a new installation of Windows, using the product type that matches that of the source computer. Ensure that the drive letter and %SystemRoot% folder names match those on the source computer.

Using Disk Management, create, format, and assign drive letters to any additional volumes that may be required to hold a system-state component (for example, SYSVOL, Active Directory, or Active Directory Log files). Ensure that all drive letters match those on the source computer.

For additional information about drive letter assignments,, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q307844 HOW TO: Change Drive Letter Assignments in Windows XP
On the source computer, log on as Administrator, and then stop all the non-essential services that you normally stop before performing a backup.

Using Ntbackup.exe, back up the system\boot volume, the system state, and associated NTDS and SYSVOL volumes, if applicable.

For additional information about how to perform a backup, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q308422 HOW TO: Use Backup to Back Up Files and Folders on Your Computer
On the destination computer, log on as Administrator. If the system that you want to restore is a destination computer, you must restart the computer, press F8 during startup, and then click Directory Services Restore Mode before you log on as Administrator.

Start Ntbackup.exe, click Options on the Tools menu, click the Restore tab, and then click Always replace the file on my computer . Restore the system\boot volume, the system state, and associated volumes from the backup that you performed previously. Make sure that you select the option to restore them to "original location" in the backup program.

For additional information about how to restore, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q309340 HOW TO: Use Backup to Restore Files and Folders on Your Computer
NOTE : To have access to all removable media (tape or magneto-optic [MO] disk) from the source computer after the full system restore is complete, you must also click Restore Removable Storage Database under Advanced before you begin the restore.

After the full restoration finishes, and before you restart the destination computer, make sure that the computer is disconnected from the network, to avoid conflicts.

Restart the computer.
If the computer does not restart after restoration because of HAL mismatches, you can start from the Windows installation disk to perform an in-place installation or repair. This type of repair occurs after you accept the licensing agreement, and Setup searches for previous versions to repair. When the installation that is damaged or needs repair is found, press R to repair the selected installation. Setup re-enumerates your computer's hardware (including the HAL) and performs an in-place upgrade while maintaining your programs and user settings. This also refreshes the %SystemRoot%\Repair folder with accurate information that you can use for normal repairs.

If the computer does restart after the restoration, log on as Administrator and initiate an in-place upgrade by running Winnt32.exe from the i386 folder on the Windows CD-ROM. This refreshes the Setup.log and registry files in the %SystemRoot%\Repair folder, and ensures that the proper HAL is in use.

Note that in Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, user profiles are stored as a subfolder of the %SystemRoot%\Profiles folder. In Windows XP, if the installation is an upgrade, the existing profile path continues to be used. In new Windows XP installations, a Documents and Settings folder is created on the same volume as the Windows XP installation, to hold user profiles. If the original system was an upgrade from Windows NT, the original profiles will be used after the restore. However, if an in-place upgrade is performed, you may need to change the profiles' path in the registry back to %SystemRoot%\Profiles by modifying the keys under the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
After the upgrade is finished and you are certain that everything works, you can remove the source (original) computer from the network and connect the destination (new) computer in its place.

NOTE : The difference between the time of the backup and the time of the restoration to the new computer may affect the machine account on the domain controller. You may have to join a workgroup first, and then rejoin the domain.

For additional information about re-activation after the restore, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q305356 Windows XP Prompts You to Re-activate After You Restore Your Computer
For information about how to install Ntbackup on a computer that runs Windows XP Home Edition, see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Q302894 HOW TO: Install Backup from the Windows XP Home Edition CD-ROM

Published Jan 11 2002 1:34PM  Issue Type kbinfo  
Last Modifed Apr 5 2002 6:58PM  Additional Query Words stop 0x79 pnp transfer new hard drive  
Keywords kbenv kbsetup  

COPYRIGHT NOTICE. Copyright 2002 Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399 U.S.A. All rights reserved.

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^^^If Crazyone don't get any points for that then there's no justice :)
Bottom line here is that it MAY work, it MAY NOT.  It just depends on the hardware and Windows "view" of it.  

I've been successful about 50% of the time in this.  If you cannot risk having to re-install, then DON'T DO IT!

If you DO attempt this, be 100% sure of your backup.  I prefer to use the follow procedure:

1) Get a NEW hard drive.  YOu probably need a larger one anyway.
2) Use an imaging tool like Ghost or DriveImage to copy your old drive to the new one.
3) Remove the OLD drive and put it in a safe place.
4) Setup the NEW drive to boot and boot the system.
5) Attempt the upgrade now.

If it works, you are all set.  If things go badly, you can recover your original installation and start over or keep things the way they were.
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As said above it may and it may not.  It will work if the same chipset is used on both MB's.  However, it will probably not work if you use a different chipset.  Meaning a chipset from a different company.
jhance: Another harddrive with the exact same OS/drivers on it makes no difference apart from maybe a faster load.

It may work to install it on another system. I actually did replace a system with 2 different motherboards during the last month, and it runs like a charm. The operating system is Windows XP, and I wouldn't recomment any other system (maybe Windows 2000) but definitly NOT Windows 9x!!

When it's replaced it's important that you install the drivers for that specific motherboard.
I think I'd backup, sysprep the drive - the new hardware will be detected and unless there's a funky storage driver it usually works for me
pegasysIT, System Admin, Development and Stack DevelopmentCommented:
Its no problem. Just make sure that you have copies the driver CD to the hardddrive first (into a Directory called DRIVERS) or something like that. Chenge the Mobo, fire it up... Windows will start in 16 color mode, and ask you about the drivers for the PCI devices, sound or whatever. Point them all to teh C:\drivers directory...

Reason that I want a C:\drivers dir, is that without the PCI, sometimes XP doesnt pick up the CD Drives etc.. and it can be annoying to get the drivers on...


I just did the Ms way described above with w2k and It sux!!!

Even with ghost on hand it took over 3 hours, incl bkup/restore, In place install, etc.

It worked, it functions.  Windows works just fine.  One tiny problem.... Most of the apps including
Office 2k, and many non-ms programs do not work,  They display error messages.  Ms says this is normal
and / or by design.  The solution?  Just reinstall all your apps. Ok, then I ask what is the point of doing all this?

Moral of the story: try any NON-Ms method! The Ms method says if you back app's and restore them to a differen computer they will not work and will need to be reinsatlled.

Heres the short route. Running a repair instalation. This will erase all of your restore points and set you back to version 2002 which will then need to be upgraded to service pack 2..."less biggie"
1. Install new Mobo
2. Configure your bios to boot from CD
3. Boot to windows XP CD by tapping the spacebar during    bootup.
4. Press enter at the first screen to setup windows XP now    (not "R" to enter recovery conlsole)
   Highlight your detected windows XP instalation in the    list and press "R" to repair
5. Enjoy a tasty beverage and watch setup TV
   This should land you right back on your desktop. which you can upgrade to service pack 2 by going to google and typing "service pack 2 network install" and going here

Hope this helps
A better way!  This resolves Windows XP's inability to allow for a motherboard change without reinstalling:

Before you change the motherboard go into device manager and change the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers to "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller". You do this by going to update driver and then selecting "Don't Search. I will choose the driver to install." Then select the "Standard....Controller."

After you have changed the controller, shut down the PC and change the motherboard. You should now be able to boot without the blue screen. Now load the new motherboard drivers including the new IDE controller driver.

Additional steps to avoid re-activating:
Before you install the new Mobo, locate a file called "wpa.dbl" and copy it on a floppy.
After installing the new Board on Windows XP machines only, copy the file from the Floppy back to
it's location, usually in C:\Windows\System32.  Windows XP will not ask you to re-activate the License.

Remember - If you have an OEM license the license can not be transferred to a new motherboard.

Doug Kerfoot
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