first question comes to us via email from SIMON23. Don't forget to visit
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Q: I'm upgrading to a brand new Athlon64 chip
and motherboard (sweet!), with a new videocard. The trouble is, I'm quite
attached to my current install of Windows XP. It's got software that I
could not replace easily and enough files to give me backup troubles. I'd
rather replace the board without reinstalling Windows. The guy that's
going to sell me the parts says it will be no problem, but I don't want to pay
him extra to do the job. I'm confident that I can replace the board
myself, but I'm not sure what to do to make sure XP works with the new
hardware. Any help would be much appreciated.
A: One of the best features of Windows
XP is how easy it makes major hardware upgrades like a
motherboard switch. The repair installation process, which has been a
feature of every version of Windows since 95, has been updated in XP to
adapt easily to new hardware. All you need to do is perform
the motherboard installation, then boot your PC from the Windows XP CD and
choose the following options:
press ENTER to 'set up Windows XP now'
Press F8 to
skip through the EULA (though if you haven't read it before, you should now. See
PCstats' legal article for details as to why).
Now press R
to begin a repair installation.
will go through the entire XP install process, but will not attempt to replace
any of your existing data. It will check and replace all system files and
re-examine the hardware your PC uses. During this process it will
determine that you have a new motherboard and load generic drivers for it.
This will enable XP to boot properly so you can install the proper chipset
You will likely have to
reactivate your copy of Windows XP after this process also, as the major
hardware change will cause your current installation's activation key to become
void. Just follow the onscreen instructions to reactivate your
The only drawback to the repair installation process
is that you will have to reinstall any Microsoft Service Packs
and hotfixes you added previously, as these will be deleted.