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Replacing a motherboard - must I reinstall the OS from scratch?

Ive just bought a replacement motherboard for a friend, with DDR2 memory & a P4 dual core CPU.  I am proposing to install the mb into the existing case with its power supply, hard drive, DVD drive & fan.  My question is this - when I reboot the system from the existing C drive (its perfectly OK, Ive checked it):

(1) Will Windows (XP Home) simply allow me to reinstall all the hardware drivers; or

(2) Will I have to reinstall the operating system itself from scratch?

Of course I will have the installation CD that comes with the new mb, with the appropriate drivers.  However if Im forced into option 2 Ill have a problem because my friend bought her PC 3-4 years ago and it came with an OEM version of XP pre-installed, so theres no OS disk.  I doubt very much whether she has the knowledge to have ever created an emergency boot CD.

We can always buy another copy of the OS, I know, but shes not well off financially so Im trying to do it for her for the lowest cost possible.

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8/22/2022 - Mon

Windows isn't going to boot with a new MB, RAM, and CPU...you'll probably get a blue-screen when you come up.  Sometimes you can pop any windows disk in and run a system repair...but generally, when you make an upgrade like that, you need to reinstall from square one.

That is a 50/50 depending on the configuration of the new motherboard. The best thing to do is image the old hard drive so you have a back up and give it a try. A new motherboard has too many variables to say "yes" it will work so using a copy will give you a guage of what is going to happen.
If all goes well windows will boot and ask you for a bunch of drivers...etc (if it goes into windows you can download via the web). if all does not go well you will get blue screens over and over that will require a fesh install of XP.

Thanks all.
Ive seen a suggestion elsewhere that the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Enum subkey can be deleted from the (old) registry, then reboot with the new mobo and its installation CD in the CD drive.  Any comment on this?
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That works sometimes, but that takes out the Generic IDE drivers, and the CDrom doesn't always work.
If you are going to try that, boot from the XP CD diskand at least get the generic drivers reloaded.

I don't have the links, but Google SYSPREP and read the procedure for moving to a new mobo from MS.


I just realised that I didnt mention why I replaced my friends mobo - the old one copped a power spike and is no more!  The implication therefore is that I cant now boot the old system, even though her C:\  HDD is completely readable as a slave drive on my own desktop pc. So I have the two challenges of a dead old mobo, and no XP disk.
If I just do a full backup (image) of her C: drive, then install the drive back in the case (with the new mobo) and just fick the power switch on, what risks are there (apart from simply not wanting to work)?  I aks this because I have seen on other forums that some people have done this and everything has simply worked - ok im lazy  ;-)
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One further idea...
As the only working pc i have is my own desktop, what if i disconnect my own C: drive, install my friend's drive, try to boot up from her C: drive and if it works, run Sysprep to remove all the hardware info, then re-install the "stripped" C: drive back into her pc case with the new mobo, and flick it on.
Is this a dumb idea?

If you have some way to clone the disk first, do that before you start.
You might try removing your drive (an excellent idea), and try booting hers in Safe Mode.
If it does that, usually you can go to Device Manager and delete/remove most of the hardware that way. .
Leave any of the drives that are to stay (hard drives, cd/dvd, etc), video, pci cards (try to put them in the same slot they were in on the old board).
Under System, the USB stuff can go, network card if it was onboard. The IDE is tricky. Just delete any listing that has a specific name that you know was a chipset on the old mobo. That should leave you some basic generic working mobo drivers.

This is a crap shoot anyway you go about it with XP.  W98 was a lot more forgiving.

Whoops, missed the Sysprep above. Try that in Safe Mode.
Trying to load drivers for your system, them take them off and load drivers for hers, just complicates things.
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OK, well thanks for all the info guys & girls. Will try my luck this weekend.
One related but trivial question - any easy ways to remove the heat sink from the back of the CPU? i ll need to do this in order to lock the CPU into the socket on the new mobo, because the heat sink when glued on prevents access to the locking handle on the socket.

The heatsink shouldn't be 'glued' on.
If the old paste has it stuck , try twisting it right and left, without pulling up. Start easy and slowly increase the force until you get to about what it take to open a 'normal' twist top jar. If it isn't off by then, you might need to warm the heatsink up by using a hairdryer (doesn't need to be hot, but a pretty good warn is needed).
If turning on the old mobo gets the heatsink warm, that will work also, but use that as a last choice since the mobo took a surge.

OK, an update.
Replaced mobo, rebooted with the old C: drive (after making an image) and had partial success  I got the Windows Welcome screen showing the 3 users who use this PC.  This was without having inserted the CD which came with the new mobo, by the way (I took my chances, since I had the image). No blue screens or other problems.  At that stage I was very happy.
However when I clicked on one of the Users in order to enter Windows, I got the Must Activate Windows message and a screen wanting me to enter the product key.  The PC is a Dell and had the product key label on the case, so I entered the product key carefully but was told it was wrong, and to re-enter it. I did so, making absolutely sure it was as per the label, and got the same error!!
I dont understand this error.  The mobo is new, but the CPU is not  its the original one.  And the C: drive is also the original one.  My understanding was that a Windows XP installation was tied to the one CPU, so I expected only to be asked for drivers for the new hardware on the mobo, but thats all&.
Ive read the Sysprep stuff but if I cant get into Windows in the first place, how am I supposed to run Sysprep.exe?  (I can certainly get the Sysprep.exe file from my own Windows XP CD, so thats not a problem).  Given that the old mobo is dead, I cant reboot it one more time and run Sysprep on it.  I can only attach the old C: drive to my desktop PC  but as a slave.  Am I able to run Sysprep on a non-system drive?
Im nervous about using Sysprep at all, in fact. I found the following text on Microsofts own website:
Microsoft does not support the use of Sysprep to create a new image of a system that was originally created by using a custom OEM installation image or by using OEM installation media. Microsoft only supports such an image if the image was created by the OEM manufacturer. 
As this machine is a Dell, I figure it falls right into the category described as not supported.
The second issue  expected  is that the Welcome screen is 640x480 but I put this down to the fact that I havent yet put in the new mobo CD.  Im wondering if I boot with that CD inserted whether the drivers will be automatically installed or if Ill still be stopped by the Activate Windows screen.
I have an inkling that I saw a reference somewhere to a utility which allowed you to tell Windows what the correct product key is? This might solve my issue, can anyone help on this?  Bear in mind that, at the moment, I CANNOT boot into Windows natively, and I only have an XP disk from my own machine.
Man, I feel Im not far away from getting through this, so I hope someone can shine a little light for me.
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OK.  My last post on this problem.  Dell has told me that because the mobo has been replaced, all that they can recommend is a clean install, so I ve had to purchase an OEM copy of XP and all the time that will go with this approach!!
Unfortunately, because the image I took of the C: drive is based on the Dell mobo which got zapped, I can't simply restore the image as this would overwrite the new XP installation & put back all the old drivers.  So all programs will have to be reinstalled, then my friend's data.  Grrr...
It seems somehow unfair for her having to pay for a second copy of XP. She still only has the one PC.  C'est la vie!
Last hope is that I can somehow back up not only the personal data, but also the programs too? I have Acronis True Image by the way.  I'll have a look at this possibility just in case.  I can t avoid having to resinstall Windows XP, but restoring programs and data would be a good second-best option.
Please post any thoughts on this idea, if you have any.
My thnx to everyone - this site works really well, because of your efforts.  My gold star goes to Coral47 for sticking with me throughout.  You will get the points.
I guess I ve learned a bit about the tricks and pitfalls of replacing a mobo.

I don't think you can restore the programs either, as they write so much stuff to so many places in Windows. Especially in the Registry.
Restoring the Data shouldn't be a problem, and program settings are usually easy if they are in a seperate config type file.
I don't remember if Acronis will do that or not.

>> ... the tricks and pitfalls of replacing a mobo

The Branded OEMs are the biggest part of that problem. And if you run into a RESTORE CD, be careful. They usually only want to format the hard drive, and not do a 'repair install'.

Thank you much.    : )
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