How to: Upgrade your motherboard without reinstalling Windows.

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Phoenix86

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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.
 

Mav451

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how is this not a sticky? I've been other other forums, and many of these had this at the top (ppl switching from nf2 to a nf3 would love to have this, or even nf2 to 875 or 925, etc. etc.)
 

ptweasel

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I agree. I went from an nf2 to nf3 with a very similar method, but this one looks even easier.
 

Phoenix86

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Meh, I just wrote it, I don't sticky it. If anyone notices something that a bit off, or needs to be added let me know.

I'm putting in a few 'warning' links in a bit.
 

Ranma_Sao

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If they are seriously changing mobo's this is also a problem, since the hals might change. I recommend the winnt32 upgrade solution since it's easier, and less chance of the user getting screwed on a mobo upgrade. (But I would recommend using a slipstreamed CD of SP2.)

Sysprep is also a good solution, this isn't what sysprep was designed for, but it works quite well at this.

Note, Sysprep in 2K isn't as forgiving as the sysprep for XP. I would definatly use the in place upgrade for 2K.
 

Phoenix86

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This process is no different than creating a syspreped system for OEMs, except it's not being used on several machines, just one. The 1 image I have created at work, works on every piece of hardware in the company except really old laptops, P-IIs that we don't even use for XP (API-ACPI/HAL issue, don't beat me up if I got the acronyms wrong, it's been a long day :) ).

Anyways, I guess I'm saying that compatibility issues are few and far between in my experience.

Why do you say 2k is less forgiving? I haven't had anymore issues with it than XP.
 

Ranma_Sao

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I know that in 2K there were issues with sysprep switching from an AMD system to an Intel system, and that it wasn't supported. In XP it was fine, what changes were made to the kernel, boot loader, and sysprep to fix that situation I don't remember. (And this might be no longer an issue in SP4, I haven't tested 2000 since SP1 of 2k)

The reason I mention the Hal issue is it's very possible someone is upgrading from a PIII to a P4 with hyperthreading which would definatly cause the HAL issue.

I agree with your article fully, don't get me wrong, sysprep is an awesome tool for this, I use it for this myself, (Since I am a sysprep tester, it would be bad if I didn't use it myself...) But I just want people to be clear there are some caveats to this tool.
 

Met-AL

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This is some cool info and I sure will use it.


However, I did a motherboard switch a while back with a KT133a going to a NF2 Ultra 400, and all I did is change the motherboard and hit the powerswitch. WinXP loaded up and detected and installed all the drivers that it had for the new devices. I also had a good experience with upgrading a old BX board to a KT133 (non-a) with similar success.
 

jawsh77

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just last weekend i bought a new mobo and processor and simply booted up, no issues yet
 

qdemn7

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jawsh77 said:
just last weekend i bought a new mobo and processor and simply booted up, no issues yet

This absolutely needs to be stickied.
 

Barnaby

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How does this work if you require a 3rd party SATA drive or SCSI driver? Will it give an option to put in a floppy?
 

Vertigo Acid

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FWIW I used this method to,temporarily during an RMA, move my main gaming system's drive over to my dualie and back, and it figured out the correct HALs and everything, detecting the duals and then going back to single with ease.
 

Fark_Maniac

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I used this on my workstation so that I could move my ATA133 card up one pci slot to make room for a cnr card. I boot off of this card. Mini-Setup/PnP/ReSeal is what I used. Slicker than sno_
 

Phoenix86

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Barnaby said:
How does this work if you require a 3rd party SATA drive or SCSI driver? Will it give an option to put in a floppy?
I don't have direct experience, but I believe it's fully supported. Look at the sysprep.inf. There is a section for mass storage and 3rd party OEM drivers.

Add OEM Drivers
Mass storage
 

mickster

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Like the guy with the SATA driver question, I'm getting ready to switch from a K8VT800 to an nForce 3 250 mobo. I was really dreading that SCSI/SATA F6 crap. Gigabyte hid the SATA SCSI drivers on their damned website instead of on a floppy. The ones on the CD-rom were not even correct. That was one serious PITA to get done. Hopefully, the switchover to the nForce will be less painful with the Sysprep method.
Thanks again!
 

nightanole

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Dumb question, whats a HAL? ANother dumb question, what if you modified your temp and swap files to diff physical drives, would these just be reset to default?
 

Barnaby

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HAL stands for hardware abstraction layer. This basically tells window what type of system you have such as:

ACPI Multiprocessor PC
ACPI Uniprocessor PC
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC
MPS Multiprocessor PC
MPS Uniprocessor PC
Standard PC

This way Windows knows how to treat your system resources.
 

nightanole

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Notes
A common symptom when deploying the incorrect image to a computer is that the Sysprep image stops responding on restart or reports a

Stop 0x0000007b
error message.
If an incorrect HAL is forced during Setup or by using a System Preparation Image (Sysprep), you can see the correct list of HALs only if you perform a new installation of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003. You cannot change to a HAL other than what is listed in Device Manager.

Device Manager does not permit the change from a Non-ACPI HAL to an ACPI HAL. You must use a new install of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 for this type of change. Change from an ACPI HAL to a Non-ACPI HAL only for troubleshooting purposes.

On Windows XP and later, the ACPI Uniprocessor HAL and the MPS Uniprocessor HAL recognize the existence of more than one processor and report the MP ID. Plug and Play detects that the computer devnode's hardware ID list has changed and moves the devnode back through the "found new hardware" detection process. As a result, when you add a second processor the MP files (HAL and kernels) are automatically installed, and you do not have to manually update the driver in Device Manager.

Microsoft does not support running a HAL other than the HAL that Windows Setup would normally install on the computer. For example, running a PIC HAL on an APIC computer is not supported. Although this configuration may appear to work, Microsoft does not test this configuration and you may have performance and interrupt issues. Microsoft also does not support swapping out the files that are used by the HAL to manually change HAL types.

Microsoft recommends that you switch HALs for troubleshooting purposes only or to workaround a hardware problem.

When you create a Sysprep image, the image must contain the correct HAL type for the target computer. The following list describes the computers that you can deploy a particular Sysprep image to based on the HAL type in the source computer:

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses a Standard PC, Non-ACPI PIC HAL (Hal.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types:
Standard PC, Non-ACPI PIC HAL (Hal.dll)

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses an Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC, ACPI PIC HAL (Halacpi.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types:
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC, ACPI PIC HAL (Halacpi.dll)

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses a MPS Uniprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halapic.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types:
MPS Uniprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halapic.dll)
MPS Multiprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmps.dll)

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses a MPS Multiprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmps.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types:
MPS Multiprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmps.dll)
MPS Uniprocessor PC, Non-ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halapic.dll)

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses an ACPI Uniprocessor PC, ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halaacpi.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types: ACPI Uniprocessor PC, ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halaacpi.dll) ACPI Multiprocessor PC, ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmacpi.dll)

You can deploy a Sysprep image created on a computer that uses an ACPI Multiprocessor PC, ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmacpi.dll) to a computer that uses the following HAL types:
ACPI Multiprocessor PC, ACPI APIC MP HAL (Halmacpi.dll)
ACPI Uniprocessor PC, ACPI APIC UP HAL (Halaacpi.dll)



If im reading this right, If you have a modern pc (lets say PII or newer) You can switch from a pc with a single proc, to a multi proc motherboard, without having to to the repair option and just use the sysprep tool?
 

Phoenix86

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nightanole said:
If im reading this right, If you have a modern pc (lets say PII or newer) You can switch from a pc with a single proc, to a multi proc motherboard, without having to to the repair option and just use the sysprep tool?
In short, yes.
 

poopy

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I hate sysprep and this is why: "Sysprep.exe makes changes to the way that password keys are stored in the registry; these changes are not compatible with the Recovery Console logon routine." http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;308402

To make a long story short my version of xp was isntalled prior to sp1 via sysprep. XP wasn't booting and the only way to fix it was through the recovery console, but since sysprep messed with my admin pw I wasn't able to get into the rc. Ended up reformating my entire drive and lost everything.
 

Ranma_Sao

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poopy said:
I hate sysprep and this is why: "Sysprep.exe makes changes to the way that password keys are stored in the registry; these changes are not compatible with the Recovery Console logon routine." http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;308402

To make a long story short my version of xp was isntalled prior to sp1 via sysprep. XP wasn't booting and the only way to fix it was through the recovery console, but since sysprep messed with my admin pw I wasn't able to get into the rc. Ended up reformating my entire drive and lost everything.
Use XPSP2 or SP1 slipstreamed and you should be ok, or use BartPE or WinPE.
 

nightanole

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EH sysprep didnt work for me. It was either it did like that i had vert mem on another partition, or it didnt like the ide drivers. Everything was looking good ( detecting etc), on reboot it was nill, just a constant reboot almost instantly. tryed repair and it did the same thing. Oh well fresh install time.
 

Phoenix86

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Poopy, good point I will add it to the first post. I kinda assumed everyone was SP1, but after reading all these "I don't need SP2 posts," I guess it's prudent.

nightanole, It's not the page file, XP will re-create it if it's not found (this is why it's not necessary to back it up). You may have hardware issues as well as potenial OS problems, sysprep ain't perfect, but when it works it saves a lot of time. Worse case is you do what your doing now, rebuilding the OS, which is what you would of done w/o sysprep.
 

Noah

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2 questions:

Will this work with Windows Server 2003?

Will this work if I want to just move a hard drive to a totally different computer? I don't want to reinstall because I want to keep my OS settings intact.
 

Phoenix86

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I have not performed this on S2K3, but the functionality is likely there, so testing is required. You may have to extract the sysprep files from the S2K3 CD, or from MS' website. I'll see if I can find any info.

To answer you second question, yes you can move just the HDD, after it's been syspreped.

edit: I dind't find any issues specific to S2K3, and the path is as Ranma_Sao notes below. I would not mix version of sysprep. If you have any problems lets us know, good luck.
 

Ranma_Sao

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IT's the same but you need the sysprep from the 2K3 folder. (support\tools\deploy.cab)
 

josh_fick

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I'm glad this article is sticky.

This article makes me very happy.

I can say no more, I'm going to cry with joy.

:D
 

jgiants

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I tried sysprep yesterday and got nothing but a blue screen and reboot after changing hardware. Dont think I did it wrong but its possible I can, also I was REAL stupid this time and did not even do a backup of my bookmarks and stuff with tweakie. Put faith in this method working and got burned. I had a backup from mid august but thats quite a while ago and I have lost alot of bookmarks etc.

Ended up having to do a second install on the same drive, I suppose I could maybe get the stuff I need from the old if I switch back the hardware but thats a major hassle.

I cant even see the folders anymore in documents and settings for my old install I may have erased them, show hidden woud show them even though they are password protected from within old install right?

Anyways lesson learned, I am back to doing my regular backups and stuff of what I need incase of worse case turnout.
 

Phoenix86

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Start a thread with the OS version, sysprep version, and BSOD and lets see what we can do.

I seriously doubt you lost data in this process, but running a backup before making major system changes is always recommended.
 

97_max_se

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SO according to the unsupported scenarios link, going from AMD to Intel won't work? Specifically a sinlge AMD XP to dual Intel XP's
 
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I just used sysprep to move my harddrive with mixed results. Yes it moved the drive preserving all installed programs but it wiped out all my desktop icons and files stored on the desktop including subfolders. It also forgot some passwords including the one used to log onto the internet service provider. It changed the machine from shutting down when shut off to that insipid screen that says you can now shut the machine off. I haven't recovered from that yet.

I added
[Sysprep]
BuildMassStorageSection=Yes

[SysprepMassStorage]

to the sysprep.inf to insure the disk drives would be recognized. Also make sure you use the same Administrator password in setupcl.exe as the machine has. This sysprep process does not have the power to change the Administrator password and will attempt to log on as Administrator after the machine restarts.

I had included in the sysprep arguments -clean and now wonder if that is the reason it killed all my stuff on the desktop.
 

Fark_Maniac

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OldDataBase said:
I just used sysprep to move my harddrive with mixed results. Yes it moved the drive preserving all installed programs but it wiped out all my desktop icons and files stored on the desktop including subfolders. It also forgot some passwords including the one used to log onto the internet service provider. It changed the machine from shutting down when shut off to that insipid screen that says you can now shut the machine off. I haven't recovered from that yet.

I added
[Sysprep]
BuildMassStorageSection=Yes

[SysprepMassStorage]

to the sysprep.inf to insure the disk drives would be recognized. Also make sure you use the same Administrator password in setupcl.exe as the machine has. This sysprep process does not have the power to change the Administrator password and will attempt to log on as Administrator after the machine restarts.

I had included in the sysprep arguments -clean and now wonder if that is the reason it killed all my stuff on the desktop.
sounds like it "cleaned" your profile? are all your bookmarks still there? Stuff still in 'My Documents'?
 
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Bookmarks and documents are all there it just nuked the desktop and most likely the caches and temp files but I never checked that.

Perhaps others may wish not to use the -clean argument.
 

Phoenix86

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OldDataBase said:
Bookmarks and documents are all there it just nuked the desktop and most likely the caches and temp files but I never checked that.

Perhaps others may wish not to use the -clean argument.
This writeup does not include command line switches, it uses the GUI. I don't know where you got the -clean switch from, and since I don't use it, I don't know what all it does.

I just want to point this out, as the process I have layed out works under a lot of scenarios, but I don't cover all possible switches.

97_max_se,

I have gone from AMD-Intel with success. However, if it doesn't work, you no worse off the before (you still have to reinstall). Also, the repair reinstall method may work where sysprep doesn't. I just haven't run into many cases where it isn't compatible.
 
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