What's the best way to install a new motherboard and Windows 7


I am looking to upgrade my CPU and processor but I am told that there is a good chance I'd have to re-install Windows. The problem is that I no longer have my Windows XP CD's, so to play it safe I figure it's a good time to upgrade to Windows 7.

What's the best (or most efficient) way to install the new motherboard and Windows 7. My plan was to re-format the HD, install the new motherboard, and install Windows 7 on power-up. I do most of my own computer hardware upgrades but this is the first time I've had to install a motherboard or Windows, so I am weary of screwing up and could use some advice.

Also, because I have to buy Windows 7, I'll have to wait and get my CPU another day. Will installing the new CPU aslo require a Windows re-install or is it the motherboard the reason for the Window's re-install?
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  1. I would install all your hardware first including the cpu before proceeding with the O/S install.
    It will be much smoother if all possible hardware issues are addressed first.
    Have your board posted and bios configured with the latest bios version that's compatible with the new cpu and then install Win7.
    Btw Win7 sp1 is out on the 22nd.
  2. Ok, so if I downloaded the latest Bios version for my mobo. How would I update it without being able to access the .exe in Windows? Assuming the new mother board asks me to re-install Windows, I couldn't get back into my computer until I installed Windows.

    I know this must seem silly, Dos and Bios are my foriegn to me still.
  3. If you really want XP SP3; this is an official ISO -> http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=2fcde6ce-b5fb-4488-8c50-fe22559d164e&displaylang=en

    You can probably use your current XP, but afterwards you'll need to download the correct and updated drivers from the MOBO site. You'll definitely want to also install the 'Chipset' drivers first and the remaining next.

    @tecmo34 wrote an excellent guide -> http://www.computing.net/howtos/show/guide-to-building-a-pc/509.html
  4. redvandam said:
    Ok, so if I downloaded the latest Bios version for my mobo. How would I update it without being able to access the .exe in Windows? Assuming the new mother board asks me to re-install Windows, I couldn't get back into my computer until I installed Windows.

    I know this must seem silly, Dos and Bios are my foriegn to me still.

    If you were more specific it would be easier to answer your question.
    Are you changing platforms or simply buying a better cpu and mobo on the same platform.
  5. Thanks, Jaquith. Thank link may prove most useful. If I am able to use that re-install XP I'd be golden.

    Sorry, platform is OS or the make of the Motherboard?

    Right now I have Windows XP, Asus M2N-PV (I think), and a Athlon X2 CPU.

    I am upgrading to a Athlon Phenom X4 955, but I am unsure of what MoBo I am getting. Frankly, it'll be whatevers cheap to mid-range that supports my CPU and DDR3. I'd like to stay with Windows XP if I can.

    Another thought I had are those Hard Drive you can buy with Windows already installed? Would it just be as easy as installing the CPU, MoBo, Ram and the new Hard Drive? Or do I still run the risk of having to re-install Windows?
  6. Assuming the:
    M2NPV-VM - http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=HGTVnGv5nGahCYgK
    M2NPV-MX - http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=yjN4AeiHqvcZzqJw

    *** PROBLEM neither lists the AMD Phenom II X4 955 ***

    To identify your MOBO use CPUz, Mainboard tab -> http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

    No, I've never seen an OS preinstalled on a HDD, and you don't want a HDD with Windows already installed attached to your PC when making a 'fresh' install. Installing XP on current MOBOs can be a pain, and in many instances you can use nLite to avoid the 'F6 preinstall Drives' - http://www.nliteos.com/ ; see the Guides.

    Worst case, take it to a computer shop - an OS install isn't very expensive. edit: in that case get Windows 7, it will install easy and has the drivers on it 9.9/10.
  7. Currently I do have the M2NPV-VM and you're right it doesn't support the X4 955. That's why I have to buy a new MoBo. I don't have one in mind, that's something I'll probably ask the clerk for advice on. I'd like to stick with Asus but I'll probably go with one in the $100 price range that can support the Phenom X4 955 AND DDR3 ram.

    Why is installing XP on new MoBos a pain? Is it advisable to upgrade to Windows 7 while installing the new Hardware?
  8. XP a pain, because you'll more than likely need to F6 preinstall the SATA drivers wich if the case requires a Floppy drive or you to create an nLite custom XP installer CD.

    New MOBOs in the $100 price range; discrete GPU:
    ASRock 870 EXTREME3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157198
    ASUS M4A79XTD EVO - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131402
    Side-by-Side - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007625%2050001944&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&CompareItemList=22|13-131-402^13-131-402-TS,13-157-198^13-157-198-TS

    note: ASUS owns ASRock.
  9. Thanks for the MoBo suggestions, that ASUS one looks like just what I need.
  10. I've briefly looked into nlite. It seems that it's purpose is to remove certain applications from the Windows installation. What exactly would I be using it for?
  11. It can customize XP installs if you want, but more importantly it too can add the critical drivers needed to install XP; e.g. F6 drivers.
  12. Thanks for taking the time answering my noob questions Jaquith. I have just one more and I think I'll have everything I need.

    I haven't downloaded that nlite yet, so maybe this would have answered itself but if I made an XP CP from the ISO link you gave me, and a Boot CD that you make through nlite.

    Which would and how would I install Windows using both. Does nLitle boot disks cotnain XP S3 on them? Or do I need to run one before the other?
  13. nLite combines the 'F6 preinstall SATA/Drivers' + XPSP3 into 1 'hybrid' installer CD/DVD. **

    If you're looking at the ASUS M4A79XTD EVO, it seems the 'AMD SATA RAID/AHCI Driver' via F6 is only required if you set the SATA to AHCI or RAID, so it 'seems' imply if you leave it as IDE you don't need to create an nLiteOS CD/DVD.

    If Required:
    See page 4-17 of the manual. This ASUS also allows a USB Flash drive procedure where you can install the driver as another alternative; format the Flash Drive as FAT32 and use if needed. You'll need to download and extract the 'AMD SATA RAID/AHCI Driver' which includes a Make a Disk option for USB.

    **nLite would add the following to the XPSP3:
    Contents on the disk
    README TXT This readme file
    AHCIx86 Microsoft Windows miniport disk label file
    AHCIx64 Microsoft Windows miniport disk label file
    TXTSETUP OEM Microsoft Windows miniport text mode setup file
    x86\AHCIx86 INF Microsoft Windows miniport setup file
    x86\AHCIx86 SYS Microsoft Windows miniport driver for x86 compatible platforms
    x86\AHCIx86 CAT Microsoft Windows WHQL Certified catalog file
    x64\AHCIx64 INF Microsoft Windows miniport setup file
    x64\AHCIx64 SYS Microsoft Windows miniport driver for x64 platforms
    x64\AHCIx64 CAT Microsoft Windows WHQL Certified catalog file

    Software Version
    Microsoft Windows miniport driver 3.1.1540.127
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