This article is written for Microsoft Windows XP, the information is still valid for Windows 2000 (all versions) but may vary slightly. When swapping out motherboards it's common practice to reinstall the OS (windows), because of a chipset incompatibility, this is unnecessary. There is a time and place for OS reinstalls, but if your OS is running like a champ, and your just upgrading to a new mobo/cpu/ram, or just a new mobo you have other options. There are two methods available, the first involves running a repair on the OS, the other uses a program called Sysprep. I strongly recommend the sysprep method over the repair method because it makes less changes to the OS and gets the job done. In fact, this tool is meant specifically for the job. There are down sides to the repair method commonly used, other than the fact it takes 10x as long. Here are the potential problems to the repair method (also called an in-place upgrade). Loss of program settings. Data loss. And you must reinstall ALL windows updates and service packs, since the files copied from the CD are not patched. Sysprep First let me describe what Sysprep is, and why it's useful to us. Sysprep is a tool used in creating HDD images for mass deployment, where the hardware can vary from machine to machine. The general idea is, you setup a PC, install all the software you want, make all the setting changes to the OS and applications. Then run Sysprep, which will remove all hardware IDs from the OS. At this point, you would want to create an image of the machine, but we are not creating images for mass deployment. I am just outlining what the tool does, we will be using it differently. The next time the PC boots it will run a Mini-Setup Wizard and re-detect your hardware just like the first time Windows was installed. You can setup the image to have drivers ready for your different hardware, but that ins't necessary for what we are doing. We are only deploying this to a single PC, yours, and you can download the drivers by hand yourself. Now lets go into the actual process. 1. Download drivers for your motherboard and especially your network card. When you blow away your current setup it's nice to have these ready to install. The network card is essential, you mush have this driver handy in case XP doesn't. Otherwise you will be downloading from another PC just so you can get on the internet. 2. Extract the Sysprep 2.0 files from your XP CD (\support\tools\deploy.cab) to c:\sysprep. The deploy.cab can be downloaded here. I'm not sure if Sysprep 2.0 works on Windows 2K, I assume so (have not tested this). I know Sysprep 1.1 does work, that can be downloaded here. 3. Run Sysprep.exe 4. Select Mini-Setup, PnP, and then Reseal. Your PC should shut down when complete. 5. Install the new motherboard and or other hardware. 6. Boot the machine, it will show screens similar to when XP was first installed, this is the Mini-Setup Wizard. 7. At this point the instructions will vary depending on your hardware, you will be prompted for drivers that Windows does not already have. 8. Once you have installed the drivers you are ready to go. EDIT: Possible issues with Sysprep. Unsupported Scenarios STOP 0x0000007B or INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE EDIT2: Adding 3rd party OEM drivers. Add OEM Drivers EDIT3: Sysprep REQUIRES SP1, or password in recovery console will not work. generating a 'The Password Is Not Valid' error message. (thanks Poopy) 'The Password Is Not Valid' error in recovery console.