With much advice from this group, I am about to upgrade both my motherboard and cpu on an older Windows XP system. Unfortunately (foolishly?) I don't have everything on the system's hard drive backed up. I understand that I should do a clean install of the OS after the MB and CPU are in.
-- Can I do that off the same HD without wiping out all the data?
-- Would it be best to dismount the current HD and install a clean one for the install, then re-install the original HD as a second HD and delete XP from that drive afterward?
-- Can I really just boot from the original HD to the new components?
I prefer to not have to buy another component (budget!), but will if I have to. (Of course, probably wisest to upgrade the OS too, I suppose.)
As always, thanks for any advice, and for all the help so far.
Can I do that off the same HD without wiping out all the data?
I suppose, if you're able to create a small partition on the current drive, large enough to install the OS on (from scratch), you could use the same drive, but all the programs installed would need to be re-installed. Each program you install creates numerous registry entries that would need to be corrected. Far easier to just re-install the software.
Would it be best to dismount the current HD and install a clean one for the install, then re-install the original HD as a second HD and delete XP from that drive afterward?
This would work, but you'd still need to install all the software programs you have for the same reasons stated above. Strictly data will be fine, but most installed programs will not work until re-installed on the new drive.
Can I really just boot from the original HD to the new components?
It's extremely rare for this to work. Generally this only works if the two motherboards (old and new) are nearly identical and hence use most (if not all) the same drivers. While Windows may be able to fix/repair these issues, I've noted that doing so normally leaves the system in a less the optimal state (BSODs and crashes). When changing the core components, it's always better to do a clean install.
I could make the quick recommendation that Windows 7 is dirt cheap right now and may be worth the upgrade.
First, you could do an upgrade from XP up and should be able to maintain a lot of stuff in tact, regardless it is always best to resintall programs (never actually done an upgrade from xp to 7, so can't speak from experiance)
But what I do know is that if you have 7 running you can swap the harddrive into another build with little trouble, because basic drivers will fault back to default settings and you will be able to boot back in and update whatever drivers you need. I do say this from experiance because I do it all the time ... XP will hate you if you do somethine like this and most likley haunt you in your dreams for it.