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Windows won't boot after Motherboard/CPU/RAM change

This is a follow up to my last question

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/383952-31-video-signal

Basically I had to stop in trying to fix that problem because I found that Windows wouldn't boot. It said I needed to insert the disk and repair the install, however I didn't have it anymore. I had to hunt another up and buy it.

Now I have booted from the disk and tried to repair the install twice. The first time it just didn't work, the second time it said this is a problem that cannot be fixed by the automatic repair.

I am running Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit OEM.

What I am wondering is, is there any way to get the system to boot again without losing all my files? Do I have to add a new hard drive and install Windows to that? What about upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate? Can I reinstall Windows Vista Ultimate without losing all my programs? Will reinstalling Windows even work?
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows boot motherboard change
  1. If you changed your motherboard that's why, windows saves onto your motherboard in a way, you will need a new copy of windows for it to boot once more.
  2. "I had to hunt another up and buy it."

    Does this mean you purchased a new copy of Windows? You should be able to do a clean install - this will wipe out all your data and applications.
  3. I purchased another copy of the disk. But not a full copy of windows no.
  4. You need a new copy of windows. With a new CD key.
  5. Would I be able to install it without losing my stuff then? Can I do an upgrade install without actually being able to boot windows?
  6. No, you have to do a fresh install. Make a partition on the HDD for the new install. The old files will be accessible but all programs and apps will need to be reinstalled.
  7. I see. Would I be able to request a new product key from windows even though I used the OEM version? Or is my only choice to buy the new Windows?

    As for a new partition, how would I go about making one? Don't know how to without being able to boot, but I certainly have the space.
  8. Best answer
    Microsoft might give you a new key. They will deactivate the old key though, if they give you a new one. You create the partition on the drive when you install windows. Just partition off the old files. (is they are 89gb then give them a 90gb partition). Install windows on the new empty partition.
  9. Best answer selected by Shmiggles.
  10. I only see the option to install to the drive or format the drive when installing windows. How exactly do you create a new partition? Don't want to accidentally destroy my old files.
  11. I don't think it is a product key issue. I swapped out the motherboard and windows booted fine although I initially had some driver problems.

    Later it prompted for activation but I tried online and it worked.

    Sounds like a major driver issue. Probably need to reinstall fresh.
  12. tiny voices said:
    No, you have to do a fresh install. Make a partition on the HDD for the new install. The old files will be accessible but all programs and apps will need to be reinstalled.

    That is NOT true. There is a way to fix the issue without having to reinstall Windows. Check this link: http://www.dowdandassociates.com/content/howto-repair-windows-7-install-after-replacing-motherboard/
  13. I had the same problem which brought me to this thread. The PC in question for me is an HTPC with no important data so I opted for a fresh install. After installation including entering the validation code included with the discs, I loaded various drivers and software and to my surprise, all of my data was still on the drive! My version of Windows is the Win 7 Family Pack Upgrade.

    It's probably harder for OEM PC owners because the restore discs are images rather than install discs.
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