Message: I have a basic question. I have an optiplex 745 and the motherboard is bad. if I replace it, can I still legally use the OEM windows xp that came with the machine, or will the configuration be all wrong?
I've done some swapping of drives and once added a esata to an older IDE computer, but I've never changed a motherboard. Is it difficult?
Interesting question. On the technical side, the system will likely not boot with the new motherboard, as all the drivers will be different. If you have an XP disc, you could boot to it and do a Repair Installation to get the right drivers.
Legally, I'm not sure. My best guess is that that would count as a repair, and if you have activation issues you could call Microsoft and they would give you the necessary codes.
If you can find the exact same motherboard model, you should have no issues. Technically, a motherboard swap is one of the times that OEM Windows throws a fit. But in the real world, you should be able to activate it OK if you need to, or MS support can do it over the phone. They usually allow this.