Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Fresh install required when swapping out mobo?

Last response: in Windows 7
Share
August 17, 2012 5:47:40 PM

I need help settling a debate.

My understanding has always been that if you swap out a motherboard, you need to re-install the OS with board-specific drivers because the existing drivers are no longer compatible with the new hardware.

Or, another example is building a new PC and using the hard drive out of an older PC that was dying to avoid having to reinstall software.....is this possible?

I've heard people say that you don't need a fresh install, which makes me wonder.
What's the verdict? Are there certain circumstances when you do or don't need a fresh install?

August 17, 2012 5:53:35 PM

Same doubt here
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 5:56:16 PM

Well, if you do a fresh install, you'll have less issues to worry about. However, you CAN keep your installation of windows (XP and up), by using the installer's repair option. Using that you can repair your installation on the new motherboard and have all the necessary drivers installed so it will boot your current install. You will still have to manually update/install old or missing drivers from there on.

On some changes of motherboards, you can even boot straight after a swap. You may have to change the AHCI SATA mode to IDE/Compatibility mode to get it to boot, then install all necessary drivers, including the AHCI SATA drivers, then restart, switch back to AHCI mode, and boot. There are guides on this out there if you go this route.
m
0
l
Related resources

Best solution

a b \ Driver
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2012 6:00:25 PM

Almost impossible to accomplish without major hassles with driver conflicts. There is a Microsoft recommended route visa Sysprep, but i've yet to hear of anyone who has achieved that either.
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/135077-windows-7-i...
Clean install recommended by the vast majority, and unless you have a retail version of Windows, legally speaking, you'll need a new licence...
Share
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2012 6:00:39 PM

sharkbyte5150 said:
I need help settling a debate.

My understanding has always been that if you swap out a motherboard, you need to re-install the OS with board-specific drivers because the existing drivers are no longer compatible with the new hardware.

That is correct, but you MIGHT be able to get away with it... all that could happen is you get a BSOD, but if you manage to be able to get into safe mode, you can install the correct drivers there - it's just a super tedious way of doing it
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:03:24 PM

It depends on how different the mobos are. If you just replace with same type & cpu - chances are good. If the hardware is significantly different - do the fresh install and save yourself some time and aggravation.
-Bruce
m
0
l
a b $ Windows 7
August 17, 2012 6:06:37 PM

It largely depends on the similarity of the hard drive controllers between your old and new motherboards. In days gone by there was a large difference between the controllers of the different motherboards it made the change to a new motherboard need a fresh install in most, but not all, cases. These days most motherboards are using AHCI controllers which are mostly compatible with each other.

I have personally done this a few times with differing results. The most recent was a fortnight ago where all I had to do was to wait for it to detect and install drivers and re-activate Windows and Office, it was a success. I have had other times in the past where it has failed spectacularly with blue screen crashes.

The best advice I can give is to backup your current/old system and then try it in the new system.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:18:28 PM

Best answer selected by sharkbyte5150.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:20:24 PM

Another way of doing this is to pre-install all the necessary drivers for the new target system, then taking the installation drive to the new motherboard and boot. Higher chances of straight plug-n-boot this way, but nothing guaranteed.

Either way, if it doesn't boot, usually it is because of the storage subsystem, using IDE mode on the new motherboard will typically allow you to boot your old OS, then you can change the drivers for your storage device in device manager to a generic one, install the AHCI drivers, reboot, go to BIOS, change SATA mode to AHCI. If you haven't done it, and have some time to spare, it might be worth a try to at least learn how it works this way.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:21:12 PM

Thanks for all of the insight.
I'm always in favor of a fresh install and as much as I love a challenge now and then it doesn't sound like migrating an existing OS to a new set of hardware is a favorable experience in most cases.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:24:23 PM

sharkbyte5150 said:
Thanks for all of the insight.
I'm always in favor of a fresh install and as much as I love a challenge now and then it doesn't sound like migrating an existing OS to a new set of hardware is a favorable experience in most cases.


Well, its up to you. It might be a good learning opportunity. I had to figure out how to migrate installed Windows for a lot of people who don't back up, or the installation had critical functions for them, and it has come in handy many times when I had to be someone's technician.

Cheers.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:31:24 PM

I can definitely see the benefit in knowing how to do this.
In most cases though I'm not just swapping out a motherboard, I've built an entirely new system and using the old existing OS would be a downgrade vs. fresh install.

For example:
Latest build for my sister's business PC is an i5-3570K on Asus P8Z77-V with 8GB DDR3-1600. Her existing is a 6 year old Dell with 2GB RAM and XP 32-bit so it makes no sense to go through the trouble to save her current OS config considering the vast hardware upgrade.
m
0
l
August 17, 2012 6:36:35 PM

sharkbyte5150 said:
I can definitely see the benefit in knowing how to do this.
In most cases though I'm not just swapping out a motherboard, I've built an entirely new system and using the old existing OS would be a downgrade vs. fresh install.

For example:
Latest build for my sister's business PC is an i5-3570K on Asus P8Z77-V with 8GB DDR3-1600. Her existing is a 6 year old Dell with 2GB RAM and XP 32-bit so it makes no sense to go through the trouble to save her current OS config considering the vast hardware upgrade.


Sounds good. Makes sense what you said. Good luck on the mobo swap!
m
0
l
!