Hi guys, my motherboard died and I decided to take the advantage and upgrade my motherboard and CPU to haswell specs in June.
However, my old motherboard had windows 7 OEM installed on it so i'll have to get a new version. Is there a way to install a new windows 7 on a new motherboard without erasing all of the files on my HDD?
I normally use a Microsoft tool called Sysprep when doing major hardware changes or drive migration.
What Sysprep does is remove all additional drivers, Logs, SID's, and even the product key. It basically removes anything that could cause conflict with new/different hardware. It does not delete your user account, data, or any of your installed programs. Although I do believe it wipes the in-built administrator account but you shouldn't be using that anyway for security reasons.
I will link a guide but basically you run Sysprep > wait for the PC to shutdown > Replace the Motherboard > Start the PC and go through the Out-of-Box-Experience > At the end your user account will be there to log in to with all of your programs and data
- Since this wipes all of your drivers you will have to go through installing them again. A lot of these will be easy as you will get a driver CD with your new motherboard. Things like graphics cards, PCI Cards, Printers, Cameras etc will be the main thing.
- Backup all important data first. Unlikely to be needed but unforeseen problems could occur.
- I advise uninstalling any Antivirus before running Sysprep.
Obviously this is quite an advanced process and if you are not confident enough you can always go with backing up your data to an external drive, re-install Windows, copy the data back. This just means you have to re-install all your software and re-tweak everything to your liking.
Prior to using sysprep, it is first best to fully understand what sysprep is and what its purpose is for. Also, when it comes to deploying, attempting to deploy, or simply refreshing any Windows media, you first might want to check out the reimaging rights document available from Microsoft here. The document reviews the rights of creating images and using those images for deployment scenarios.
The details Casper1973 provided you are valid, indeed. You data and installed applications will remain but the process of using Sysprep is quite advanced. It will be best to read the documentation on how it works, what it is and what its intended use is. Also, as stated in the How Sysprep Works TechNet library article, “If you set PersistAllDeviceInstalls to True in an answer file, Sysprep will not remove the detected device drivers. For more information, see the Unattended Windows Setup Reference.”
Next, it is important to note that each time you run the sysprep command with the /generalize switch, the licensing state of the Windows is reset, otherwise known as rearmed. If your intention is to transfer a Windows image to different hardware, you will want to use the /generalize switch only once and then capture the image.
In the event that you do have to run sysprep multiple times prior to capture, you would run sysprep with an answer file that has the SkipRearm setting enabled. You can review the number of times you can use the SkipRearm setting by running the Slmgr.vbs /dlv command in an elevated command prompt. Bear in mind, that by using the SkipRearm setting, you are not resetting the licensing state of the Windows installation. The command you would use in this case is as follows:
sysprep /generalize /unattend:answerfile (the answerfile part would be the name / file path of where your unattend.xml file is located)
Finally, there is also a great deal of resources for various deployment, virtualization and management scenarios available from the Springboard Series on TechNet.
I hope this helps and keep us posted on your progress!