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Upgrading Processor & Mobo Without Reinstalling XP

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August 22, 2007 4:19:11 PM

Dear Forum Browsers,

Short version:

I tried to move XP hdd from old Celeron to new Core 2 Quad system, but XP constantly reboots after "agp440". I was careful to make new HAL and KERNEL options available for booting, and I created an empty hardware profile for the new device drivers.

Suggestions?

Long version:

I finally decided to put together a new system after inflicting an old Celeron 500mhz eMachine on my wife for seven years. I newegg'd a P35 Gigabyte motherboard, a Q6600 chip, 4GB RAM, ATI X1950XT graphics, and a DVD drive. Nothing special.

But I had this bright idea to take out the hdd from the old Celeron system and use it in the new system without reinstalling XP.

The XP Pro on the hdd is a bona fide activated retail version of the OS fully patched SP2 version. I anticipated having to re-enter the product key, so I have it handy.

I did some research and came the conclusion that it was possible to do what I wanted, but that I had to create an empty hardware profile to use the new equipment drivers, and that I had to make the correct kernel and hal versions available in my /windows/system32 folder.

So I did that, making sure to use the same versions from the latest hotfix. I snagged "halaacpi.dll", "halmacpi.dll", "ntkrnlmp.exe", and "ntkrpamp.exe".

I created two extra boot.ini entries with custom /HAL and /KERNEL switches. One was to use "halmacpi.dll" with "ntkrpamp.exe", and the other was to use "halmacpi.dll" with "ntkrnlmp.exe". Then, I unplugged the hdd from the old eMachine and hooked it up in my new rig.

The new machine found the hdd and boot.ini just fine. I selected the boot menu entry I created which used "halmacpi.dll" and "ntkrpamp.exe", along with the empty hardware profile, and it began starting up XP. However, it never gets past the logo & progress bar screen without rebooting.

Turning on safe mode, safe mode with networking, safe mode with command line, vga only, etc, all produce the same effect. If use boot logging, I can see that it goes through the initial driver set apparently fine, and the last thing on the screen before rebooting is loading "AGP440.SYS". Or maybe "AGP440.DLL". I don't remember which one exactly.

My suspicion is the HAL, but I feel like I've exhausted my options, except perhaps to try the "halaacpi.dll".

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. I'll reinstall the XP if I have to, but I really want to avoid that, if possible.

Thank you in advance.
August 22, 2007 4:21:08 PM

Just reinstall windows. This time, make a partition so you can hold all your valuable data on the non-OS partition, so this won't happen again.
August 22, 2007 4:28:28 PM

The data isn't as big a deal as reinstalling all the necessary applications. I'm not even sure I have all the installers, and it is a very time consuming process.

I was looking for more of an interim shortcut, if you will.
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August 22, 2007 9:30:36 PM

Well, I tried disabling agp440 but didn't have any luck with it. The machine still crashes and reboots at the same spot, but now I don't have "agp440.sys" as the last printed message.

This is starting to look disturbingly like most of the other posts on this topic I have found via the internet. Their adventures finally ended with a reinstall.

I also put the hdd back into the old computer and set everything to "diagnostic mode" with msconfig. No help. Still freezes & reboots.
August 23, 2007 3:48:58 PM

OK, I finally got it working, but I couldn't do it with just a mere HAL & Kernel swap. I chalk that up to going from a PIC HAL to ACPI. It was just too much radical change for XP, I guess.

I still did not want to do a full reinstall, so I took the middle road and did a "repair" install. The general procedure is described here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824125/

Basically, the repair install reverts the core elements of your system back to whatever version of the CD you're doing the repair install from. In my case, it was XP Pro original.

Anticipating driver issues and not being able to have a working ethernet card until I got some patches, I downloaded the offline version of SP2 in advance and placed it on the hdd. Then, I performed the repair install.

The repair install has all the appearance of a reinstall, but slightly abbreviated. I did have to reactivate.

After rebooting, I chose the empty hardware profile, booted normally, and then applied SP2. That went pretty well, but it gave an error on the "Finishing..." step and aborted.

No matter. Following the reboot, everything seemed to work fine, and I then installed all the drivers for the new equipment. Following -that-, my ethernet worked and I was able to Microsoft Update about 71 hot fixes and patches to get the system current.

A curious occurrence was the reversion of IE to v6. I couldn't apply a security fix to that, as it would bomb out. I downloaded IE v7 offline installer, installed it, and it has no problems working now. I'm sure the SP2 error during finalization probably had something to do with the IE v6.

And now, everything works beautifully. I have all of my apps and settings and didn't need to reinstall any apps. The wife and kids are happy.

I did encounter a few errors along the way, so I will probably plan on eventually doing a completely fresh install with a new hdd. Also, five years of software & driver cruft has added unnecessary overhead to the system. Defragment has helped somewhat, but app load and login still takes too long for my taste.

If somebody has some clean-up and de-assify suggestions for existing XP installations, I'm all ears. I found this, so far: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10877_11-6017...

All in all, the hdd reuse was a good interim solution while I relocate all of my software installers. I'll update this thread in a week to report any gotchas or stability issues encountered.
August 24, 2007 5:22:35 PM

Something I've done when installing a new motherboard without reinstalling windows is to boot into safe mode and disinstall all the hardware. Then boot into windows and load all the drivers as it finds hardware, just like you're running it the first time.

Obviously a fresh install is preferred, but when pressed I've done it this way.
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