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Upgrading mobo and video card while keeping HD data

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  • Homebuilt
  • Graphics Cards
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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December 9, 2006 7:49:54 AM

Here is the question i am presenting to you all : I am currently in the process (as in awaiting the delivery) of a new EVGA 680i mobo, a new E6600 Core 2 Duo, Cooler Vigor Gaming ed cooling unit, Gskill DDR2 2GB memory, and an EVGA 8800GTX video card.

This is my first step into Nvidia hardware as well.

My current setup is this:

Mobo: an ASUS PC-132E Deluxe (i believe thats what it is)
Intel Pentium IV 3.2Ghz Processor with HT
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
2 Hard Drives with a SATA connection
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB 8X AGP
4x 512MB (2GB total) PC3200 DDR Dual Channel Memory.

What i am trying to accomplish is make the hardware switch as painless as possible while still retaining my OS and all data on the drives, especially the one containing the OS to avoid the sheer frustration of getting alll assembled data back, some of which might not be possible or user friendly , like running around 2 locations 40 minutes apart finding all game cds!

I plan to gut my case, install the CPU onto the mobo, *THEN* install the mobo into the case as recommended after the CPU goes on, as i have read. Next up is all the auxillary hardware and cards like the graphics card and the old audigy. If i download and install motherboard and video cards JUST PRIOR to the teardown, will that be enough to allow the system to POST? (which i assume means Power On Start Up)

- Will i encounter any drivers issues this way? Switching to an ASUS mobo and a ATi card to alternatives?
- Will Windows XP Sp.2 freak out at the radical hardware changes?
- What do i need to do to make this as smooth as possible?


If you need more information, i would gladly give it if it helps you evaluate my situation. Thanks guys!

More about : upgrading mobo video card keeping data

December 9, 2006 5:33:43 PM

Quote:
What i am trying to accomplish is make the hardware switch as painless as possible while still retaining my OS and all data on the drives, especially the one containing the OS to avoid the sheer frustration of getting alll assembled data back, some of which might not be possible or user friendly, like finding all game cds!

If i download and install motherboard and video cards JUST PRIOR to the teardown, will that be enough to allow the system to POST? (which i assume means Power On Start Up)

- Will i encounter any drivers issues this way? Switching to an ASUS mobo and a ATi card to alternatives?
- Will Windows XP Sp.2 freak out at the radical hardware changes?
- What do i need to do to make this as smooth as possible?


Mpilchfamily is right. Some of the most difficult OS obstacles to overcome regarding hardware upgrades, are changes in motherboard, chipset and RAID drivers. However, I completely understand your reluctance to do a reinstall. It's easy for everyone to make this blanket recommendation, but the time consuming reality of a total reinstall, especially if you have a lot of software tweaked just the way you like it, can be the most daunting prospect of a hardware upgrade.

Fortunately, there are some steps worth trying, which may save you from having to perform a reload. My current XP software load has been running for over 4 years, through 5 major hardware upgrades, without reinstalls or repairs. Changes include motherboards, CPU's, RAID, and most recently, a total migration from AMD to Intel. I've kept my system from becoming cluttered and slow, by not allowing trash to accumulate.

Through careful maintenance of installs and uninstalls, stray files, unnecessary registry entries, tray programs and windows services, performing virus scans and defrags, the computer still boots fast and runs smooth. It would take many dozens of hours to reinstall the OS, a long list of programs, updates, and restore the data, then configure hundreds of menus, settings, preferences, options and properties, to tweak my rig back to it's present state of bliss. The upcoming release of Vista will mandate a clean install, but until then, I have no desire to reinvent the binary wheel.

Even if you haven't exactly kept your software clean and organized, you may still be able to avoid the dreaded reinstall. The following isn't for a novice, but if you want to give it a try, then you'll need some basic tools, such as Partition Magic 8, Norton Ghost 03, and a backup hard drive large enough to hold your current partition(s). Here's how to proceed:

(1) Connect your backup drive, boot up your rig, install Partition Magic, and partition the drive according to your original drive's partitions.

(2) Install Ghost and create a clone boot floppy or CD.

(3) Reboot into Ghost, and "clone" your original drive's partitions onto the backup drive's partitions.

(4) Shutdown, disconnect the original drive, then reboot to the backup drive to test the "clone". If the original drive is a RAID0 set, skip to (6).

(5) Shutdown, disconnect the backup drive, reconnect the original drive, and reboot.

(6) Uninstall antivirus, graphics drivers if changing from ATI to nVidia, or vice versa, motherboard devices / chipset drivers / monitoring utilities, and RAID drivers if present. Ignore prompts to restart, and shutdown only after uninstalls are completed, then power off.

(7) Perform the hardware upgrades, boot into BIOS and configure, then cross your fingers and reboot to the original drive. (If the original drive was a RAID0 set, then you'll be rebooting to the backup drive).

Note: Connect only the drive you will boot from. If windows detects both drives, the other drive's C:\ letter will be reassigned in the registry as D:\ which will render it unbootable, should you need to reconnect it to the old rig. Disabling the drive's controller in BIOS is the same as disconnecting. If you disable only the drive in BIOS, windows may still detect it.

(8 If windows boots successfully, this first windows session may be your only opportunity to complete loading of critical motherboard chipset drivers, so ignore restart requests until finished, then reboot and test your OS.

(9a) If a RAID0 set needs to be installed, then configure the striped set in RAID BIOS, and reboot. Windows will prompt you to install the RAID drivers. Partition, set active, and format the RAID0 set, then shutdown.

(9b) Reboot to the Ghost disk, then clone the backup drive's partitions onto the RAID0 partitions, then reboot to BIOS to disable your backup drive, observing the above note. Reboot to the RAID0 set, and test your OS.

I hadn't intended to write a guide, but it appears as though perhaps I have. I hope I haven't omitted any details. Now let's answer your questions.

Yes, download the latest drivers, unzip the files if necessary, and place them in a readily accessible folder, but the installation CD's should work.

The system should post upon power up, regardless of drivers, because post occurs prior to hard drive boot.

If you follow these steps, you stand a fair chance of succeeding. Although this method has worked numerous times, there are no gaurantees, but it's certainly worth the effort. If nothing else, you'll have your software safely backed up as a bootable clone.

I hope this helps you out, and good luck with your new build! :D 
December 9, 2006 5:52:38 PM

outstanding information, gentlemen. Now i will just have to seriously digest the amount of information given to me by computronix.

I do not have any RAID array's for my hard drives, the two on my current computer is regulated into the following:
Hard Drive 1
C Partition containing most basic operation programs and the OS.
F Partition containing some media and some games.

Hard Drive 2
G Partition containing games, music, and media.


From what i gather by Computronix, even if i do a clean install on my 3rd hard drive (on the way) and after i get the system up and running, i will still encounter problems by having the original hard drive plugged in as C Partition, with a copy of windows, with the wrong settings.

Can this not be allievated by poking around in BIOS on what hard drive to boot off of?

The instructions to uninstall all current drivers, install the Nvidea drivers and Motherboard drivers were the original plan. I am a novice and still somewhat confused as to the nessesity of using Partition Magic 8 and Ghost to create floppies, when wouldnt the new drivers already pre-loaded before the last shutdown allow the unit to detect the new hardware changes?

I also am assuming Windows XP will want to re-validate windows as well...
December 9, 2006 6:37:40 PM

Quote:
even if i do a clean install on my 3rd hard drive, i will still encounter problems by having the original hard drive plugged in as C Partition


As noted, if windows detects a second C:\ drive, it will reassign that drive's C:\ letter to D:\ and it will no longer be bootable, so you shouldn't enable two bootable drives simultaneously.

Quote:
Can this not be allievated by poking around in BIOS on what hard drive to boot off of?


Although you can select in BIOS which drive to boot from, again, if they're both enabled, windows will detect them both, and the second C:\ drive's letter will be reassigned, rendering it unbootable.

Quote:
still somewhat confused as to the nessesity of using Partition Magic 8 and Ghost to create floppies


Partition Magic installs in windows, and is a quick and easy way to create partitions, set a partition active so it can boot, and format the partitions. Ghost installs in windows, and allows you to create a bootable Ghost floppy or CD, which runs at a low level in DOS, to "clone" hard drives.

Quote:
when wouldnt the new drivers already pre-loaded before the last shutdown allow the unit to detect the new hardware changes?


You won't be able to pre-load drivers, because windows must first detect the new hardware in order to install drivers.

Hope this answers your questions. Enjoy! :D 
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