So I finally replaced my crappy Intel board with an Asus P5Q3. I know you usually have to re-install Windows with a new board (I'm using Vista Ultimate 64-bit), but figured I'd boot it up first and see, and if I had to, I could always just boot from the Windows install CD and format the hard drive from there.
Of course, once I got it assembled, not only will Windows not work, it won't even let me boot from the CD. It will get part way and then go to a BSOD with "Stop Error 0x0000007e" displayed. Same thing happens when I try to boot from the HDD into Safe Mode, although at least there it looks like it tried to install a few drivers first.
Is there ANY way I could conceivably solve this without having to 1) Disassemble the system, 2) reassemble with the old motherboard, 3) format the hard drive, 4) disassemble the system again, and 5) reassemble again with the new board. I REALLY would like to avoid doing that, on account of it'll probably take an entire fricking day.
Enter the BIOS and make sure the boot order is to DVD/CD first, HDD second. (Vista install is on a DVD, not a CD) Disable all other boot options for now.
That should let you boot to your install DVD.
If the board is quite different from what you had, it is quite possible that Windows will not boot at all.
If all this is set correctly, remove all but 1 stick of memory and try that. Make certain the memory is running at the correct voltage and settings before going any farther.
You can also try running memtest 86+...it boots straight off the cd and will test your memory for errors.
jit is correct on the ram voltage...most new boards have the voltage at 1.8volts alot of high end ram is ment to run at 2.1volts. So you have to manually go in and set it.
Always check the ram specs before changing anything.
Hope this helps....JQ
I MAY have solved this, but we'll see. Machine was actually booting past BIOS and even sometimes (about 1 time out of 10) partway into Vista in Safe Mode, where it would attempt to auto-install about 30-40 motherboard-related drivers and then crash. But it wouldn't let me boot from CD no matter what I said in the BIOS -- it would still crash.
Anyway, after several cycles of trying to boot into safe mode, it started getting through 4 or 5 drivers before crashing, and eventually apparently succeeded in installing enough of them that it became stable enough to boot from CD and let me format the drive. Vista seemed to install OK and hasn't crashed yet. So I'm crossing my fingers. This has to be one of the weirder situations I've run into while trying to rebuild a system.
On the off chance that it sheds any light on the problem, specs are: