Hello, I just joined TH because I hear good things about this site and the community looks great! But I'm sure it's nothing new that I come bearing a problem...
I'm looking to turn my cheap HP Compaq CQ5720F into a low-grade gaming PC until I can upgrade to a custom build but there's a huge problem... the board on it only has mini PCI 1x slots so I'm stuck with integrated graphics.
So now I have to buy a new motherboard to get a decent GPU. I'm going with a Gigabyte and a GeForce 450 but I recently found out HP tattoos their mobo's so that the PC will only run if it has the original board in place... I asked my friend what to do and he said your going to have to reinstall windows for it to work. HP only supplied me with restore discs, not the original windows installer discs so I'm really lost.
So I guess my main questions are: Will I need to download a Windows 7 installer ISO via torrent and burn it to a disc and do it that way? Will my current windows 7 serial even validate it or is it once and its no longer valid? And how will I get my PC to run the installer with the new motherboard in place if it won't work in the first place?
Welcome to Tom's!
Your friend is correct, all pre-built(Dell, Gateway, HP, Compaq, etc) computers have their version of windows tied to the motherboard, and will not work with a new motherboard (unless you get the exact same replacement from the manufacturer). If you get an aftermarket motherboard, you will also need to get a new copy of Windows and its license.
You can purchase an activation key online from Microsoft. I don't recommend that as they will charge you the full retail price. It would be cheaper to buy a new copy of Windows from newegg.com or other online retailer.
I suggest that you do a clean install. since you are re-using your HDD, it has the drivers for your old motherboard, and that could prevent your new motherboard from even booting. A clean install would mean that you have to reload all of your programs. On the other hand, if you backup your data, at least you won't lose that.