replacing socket A motherboard

  keef66 12:11 29 Apr 2009

We have a 7 year old Athlon XP 2100+ desktop. I have traced an erratic startup fault to the motherboard; when I had the thing in bits last night I could clearly see a couple of capacitors with bulging tops and leaking electrolyte and I think it's only a matter of time before the thing dies completely.

The annoying thing is we only need it to last another year, by which time our youngest will have done his A-levels.

To my surprise I can still find new socket A motherboards for sale on the net, and one appears very similar to the stricken one: same manufacturer, chipset etc. What are the chances of being able to do a straight swap?
Will I have to do a repair install of XP? Will I need to reactivate XP and if so will Microsoft allow me to? The OS is OEM.

  Diemmess 12:23 29 Apr 2009

Sounds sensible.
With an EXACT match there should be no problem.
The new mobo should have its own CD of drivers anyway in case there's a change.

The more discrepancies you have, the more chance of having to reinstall everything, though that would be the worst case.

Somewhere in the middle (I think,) you might have to boot in safe mode to install any changed drivers.

Whatever you do, back up every bit of data first, just in case.

  Diemmess 12:27 29 Apr 2009

If you need to re-activate XP there shouldn't be a problem, "you had to reformat didn't you"

  keef66 12:34 29 Apr 2009

sadly it's not an exact match; it sound like it is about 6 months newer than the original, in which time the AGP slot increased in speed from 4x to 8x, usb 2.0 was introduced, and the max fsb increased a bit. CPU support is OK according to the MSI website.

Driver disc is unlikely; it's an OEM part and I'm assuming I'll have to download them first.

I'm thinking a repair install is the most likely scenario, but if I have to reinstall from scratch, what are the chances of MS letting me reactivate it?

Data already backed up in several places.

  keef66 14:22 29 Apr 2009

Bugger! retailer just phoned to say they can't find the MSI board. My only option appears to be an Asrock board with a different chipset.

Reformat looking more likely now, and hopw MS will reactivate over the phone.

Or should I just go for the cheapest Atom based pc from Novatech??

  Diemmess 14:29 29 Apr 2009

what are the chances of MS letting me reactivate it?

Very good, even if you have to phone.
Say only that you had to reformat your HD which is true.

It is possible if your XP disk is o.e.m. and you mention that you have replaced the motherboard, they might become excited and preach that it is a new computer and as such your XP licence doesn't have a second life.
Most unlikely, but we all have bad days!

  keef66 14:45 29 Apr 2009

I'll not mention the mobo, just say the HDD died and the backup's corrupt. I'm not after a second life, just a stay of execution

  Stuartli 14:45 29 Apr 2009

All you need to do with a new motherboard is to undertake an XP Repair - I've done it twice in the last four or five years (current board is an MSI KT6V (MSI-7021) model which has been absolutely stable during the three years plus I've had it).

Although programs, applications, utilities and configuration should be OK, still best to do a backup just in case of any problems.

  Stuartli 14:46 29 Apr 2009

I have an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ CPU in the motherboard, the final processor in the Athlon XP range.

  keef66 14:49 29 Apr 2009

I'll try the repair first. I've read that it's best to revert to windows generic drivers while the old mobo is still working, do the swap, do the XP repair, then install the drivers for the new board.

  Stuartli 15:06 29 Apr 2009

If you have Via chipsets, most likely the motherboard drivers won't need updating once the system is going, as they are backwards compatible. See:

click here

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