Fresh XP install but on new motherboard/CPU combo

Posted on 2009-04-20
Last Modified: 2013-11-09

Im preparing for a major upgrade (recently posted and now closed on this site).  
Ive been strongly advised to do a fresh install of Windows XP (Im waiting for Windows 7, will skip Vista), rather than a repair installation - even though you could also boot into Safe Mode, disable all drivers and then reboot with any driver disks at hand.  But because its such a major change (I m going to i7, X58 chipset) Im happy to take the long route - a clean-up was probably long overdue anyway!

I understand (hope?) that Ill be able to re-use the Product Key from my existing (legal) Windows XP OEM CD on the new motherboard.  However I imagine Ill have to deactivate the old XP installation first, otherwise the activation process will throw me out?

How do I do this please?  Can someone outline the steps I should follow in a logical sequence?

Thank you.
Question by:JRT55
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    You should be able to just go on head with the installation, when you go to activate, you will probably fail, if so then just tell it to activate by phone and give you phone #, and give you a reg number, call the number, and tell Microsoft you simply changed motherboards, and are only using this copy on the one machine, they will give you a number to fill into the boxes, it will then activate.
    LVL 70

    Assisted Solution

    You can't "de-activate" XP.  

    Just go ahead with the new install; then try to activate over the internet.   It may work fine -- it depends on how long it's been since you activated the system.   If it fails, just call the telephone activation number and be sure they know it's the SAME system, but you simply replaced the motherboard and a few necessary components for the new motherboard :-)    Note that an OEM license is not transferable to a new system -- but it shouldn't be an issue with an upgrade of some components on your current system.

    Note, by the way, that even if you simply did a Safe Mode/uninstall drivers/swap boards/boot & load drivers and/or a repair install, you'd have exactly the same issue => the major changes would require re-activation.

    Author Comment

    Hi again Gary.
    I recently had a similar experience for a friend-of-a-friend, for whom I had to replace the motherboard.  It was an older Dell, and she didn't have the OEM copy of the XP CD.  So after buying and installing a replacement mobo, I used my OEM copy of XP to reinstall Windows; when I did the activation, I used the Product Key on the label attached to her PC case - but the number was rejected.  Is that partly because it was a Dell?  I feel guilty now that perhaps I should have called Microsoft and explained the circumstances, but I did not.  Instead I got her to buy another OEM copy of XP and then used that Product Key - I didn t even have to take the disk out of the wrapping!  Since I did the whole job as a freebie for her I guess she's still in front financially speaking - and if anything ele goes wrong down the track, she's got an XP CD now.
    My machine's not a branded one, even though it's an OEM copy of XP.  So from what you're saying I won't have to buy a new copy, which suits me given what I've just spent on my upgrade.
    LVL 70

    Expert Comment

    The Dell uses an OEM version that's tied to the Dell BIOS code -- it doesn't even require activation.   But since you tried to use a standard OEM version, it wouldn't work.   So you did just fine with her system.

    As for yours -- the OEM CD you have will work fine to do the install.   The only question is the activation.   If it's been a long time since you activated, it will most likely activate just fine over the internet.   Otherwise, you'll have to call ... and whether or not they give you an appropriate key depends on whether they think you're moving to a new system -- or simply replacing parts in yours :-)    As I noted before, since you're just "replacing your motherboard" [ :-) ]  there shouldn't be a problem.

    Unlike a Retail CD (which can legally be moved to another system), your OEM CD is only valid on the system it was purchased for.

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