Want to upgrade motherboard, but will windows 7 nuke itself and data?

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Revanchist8525
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I want to upgrade from an AMD motherboard on a custom PC, to an intel, and I've read around the internet that if you want to upgrade your mobo, you're gonna have to reinstall Windows? How does this work exactly especially if I have an OEM copy of windows for my custom PC. Is there a way to not nuke my data with windows and just simply reactivate windows again or something?

spawnkiller
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believe me you don't want to just uninstall the old drivers and install the new one... (i've already try that to save my windows) intempestive random BSOD + very slow computing... you should reformat (maybe you could buy another HDD or a SSD and install windows on that, then plug your old drive and transfert all the data on your new, format the old and you now have 1 backup HDD (that's what i actually do...)

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Razear
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Revanchist8525
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so, I can just install my OEM copy of Windows into that new hard drive again if I want to reformat the system for the new motherboard? Or would I have to buy a new copy of Windows 7 which is the last thing I want to do.

spawnkiller
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if it's an original OEM disc for retaillers it's ok it will work but if it's a OEM Pc manufacturer disc (like HP, Acer, etc.) the disc will not work with any other computer...

Revanchist8525
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Ya, i got the disc in a plain white sleeve which is for system builders.

spawnkiller
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that's ok jsut reinstall and take the same key you already have ;)

eire1274
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I will say that I often to mainboard changes with Windows 7 without a fresh install. There are tricks to doing this, though, to remove the drivers that will cause these random BSODs and other issues that have to be done first.

First off, you need to be working in Safe Mode. In Protected Mode (normal mode) the system is looking very closely at active hardware, and uninstalling a chipset driver package will not remove everything, as Windows is currently USING those drivers while in Protected Mode. In Safe Mode a much more general driver set is linked to the kernel, allowing you greater access to the driver base and files.

Next problem, many scripted uninstallers (Intel for example) don't want to run in Safe Mode. Look online for tools to remove them manually. SIMPLY DELETING THE HARDWARE COMPONENTS VIA DEVICE MANAGER WILL NOT NECESSARILY REMOVE ALL OF THE REGISTRY ASSOCIATIONS OR FILES and is not the right way to go. Even if you kill the driver, the background applications will still try to load.

SATA can be a major pain, because we all know that the new board will have different controller ID:

1) The easy way is to add a PCI SATA controller with boot functionality to the system. Add it with no drives connected and boot into Windows, and install the drivers. Power down, move the system's hard disks to the SATA card, reboot, and kill the mainboard drivers. Install the new motherboard, and attach the PCI controller to it with the drives still attached. Install the MB drivers and verify operation (including MB SATA controller[s]). Power down, remove the PCI SATA controller, attach the drives to the mainboard ports, and you should be able to reboot. THIS WILL NOT WORK for systems using AHCI formatted drives, and can also be problematic when working with SSD drives. There are ways around that but I don't have time to write that encyclopedia tonight.

2) The harder way (but more stable) is to trick the system to run the SATA ports on Windows 7's generic ATA driver, which can be done in Safe Mode, which will let you boot without installing the drivers first when the new mainboard is in (this is the primary point of failure... "I booted but now I can't see the SATA driver so I just unmounted the boot disk, OK?"). The time going through this needs a bit of study as you have to do it just right, and it has it's issues as well with AHCI modes between different chipsets, but you can pull off miracles if you learn how to do it right.

Re-installing a fresh Windows is the safest bet, with out a doubt. It can take you a while to get it right after the install, but you KNOW that there isn't anything out there. I just chose to explain the operations above because NO CLIENT OF MINE ever has a system restore backup or a Windows 7 disc.

If you are willing and can afford it, programs like PC Mover (Laplink, I think, makes that one) will let you create a backup onto a removable drive in the fashion of GHOST, and then migrate your programs and data files over. I've used that one a few times with good results, but you are looking at a longer process and you might find just reinstalling the programs easier. I'm currently using G4L (GHOST for Linux) which allows very easy driver-free backing up of NTFS partitions if you can get through the ancient interface; I just dump it to my server, make the hardware changes, pull it all back over and then install drivers in Safe Mode. Usually comes out OK, though AHCI conflicts can get you there, too.

Nick McDermott