Rebuilding PC around new motherboard

  Jem 21:45 01 Jan 2011

Unfortunately my 5y old PC has failed due to a motherboard/cpu problem so I'm rebuilding it using a new mb/cpu but utilising existing hard drives. I also intend to upgrade from Win XP to Win 7 and have bought the upgrade software.

My question is: can I expect it to boot up from the previous c drive although the m/b and cpu are new? If it does I can then upgrade the existing OS.

If this is not possible/advisable, I would intend to do a clean install onto a brand new disc drive I have purchased, but am not certain if this work with the Win7 upgrade dvd (I have seen postings that suggest it should but would welcome confirmation)? I believe a clean install is generally to be recommended rather than an upgrade; is this true?

Last question. My updated PC will have an i7 processor and lots of RAM to enable reliable video editing. Should I use the 64-bit version of W7 to maximise its efficiency? What is any issues will this result in for other software?

Thanks a lot!

  GaT7 22:00 01 Jan 2011

"...can I expect it to boot up from the previous c drive although the m/b and cpu are new?"

Might do, but you'll only find out for sure when you actually try it. I've found that it can be hit & miss.

Regarding the fresh install with Win7 Upgrade, yes this is the ideal way to do it (backup your data prior to this though).

Yes, if using more than 4Gb RAM, a 64-bit OS is recommended. I find the majority of 32-bit software also works fine in 64-bit Win7 - they get installed in a different 'C:\Program Files (x86)' directory as well. If not, there are ways around it by using Microsoft's XP Mode in Win7 click here, which needs Pro version & above. But if your Win7 version is Home Premium, you can use other free third-party programs to use XP Mode (a few discussed in this recent thread click here). G

  OTT_B 22:05 01 Jan 2011

"can I expect it to boot up from the previous c drive although the m/b and cpu are new?"

No. You need to install the new operating system, or re-install your old operating system.

Should you do upgrade or clean install?

An upgrade version of W7 should work if you are using a genuine version of XPThere's nothing wrong with the upgrade installs - they're preferred for me). XP may require a clean install, I'm not sure. I'm sure someone else will know,

The issues with 64bit operating systems purely depend on the software you use. If you tend to use software from very small software houses, then you may get problems. The vast majority (and I do mean the VAST majority) of software will run on a 64 bit operating system. Some may run in 32 bit 'mode' though. I, and plenty of others, use 64 bit operating systems with no issues. If you have 4GB or more RAM then 64 bit is your way forward. Less than 4GB RAM then go with 32 bit. Larger hard drives (>2TB) require a 64 bit operating system to work.

  Strawballs 22:48 01 Jan 2011

When you start it up do a repair install of XP which will remove all your old MoBo drivers and install for new board but keep your data intact then do your upgrade install of win 7

  ICF 07:21 02 Jan 2011

This time it might be worth partitioning the hard drive or buying a second hard drive to keep your operating system separate from your data IE photo's music etc
Oh and don't forget to have a another hard drive for back ups or DVD's if you don't have much data

  Jem 11:25 02 Jan 2011

Thanks to everyone for the helpful responses.

The broken PC was a 5y old Evesham which had a genuine Win XP pro OS installed on it. Not sure if I was given a DVD with software.

I think I will try the clean install onto the new drive which I will try to partition (it's 1TB).

Do I need special software to make the partition?I have Acronis TrueImage 11 and could boot from this?

So the sequence would be:

1.Remove the "old" c-drive which (I am confident is intact).
2.Rebuild PC with new m/b etc. and fit new 1TB drive as "master"
3.Boot for first time and partition the new drive (using Acronis?? or ??) I was thinking of giving the OS around 200GB.
4.Reboot using the new Win7 upgrade DVD and install Win7 64-bit. I have found instructions that suggest this is possible.
5.Re-load the other software
6.Reinstall old "C-drive" as slave and copy across the data on it as necessary.

I use an external 1TB drive for back-up.

Will this work?

  GaT7 15:56 02 Jan 2011

There's no master/slave with SATA hard drives, so you can plug it into the SATA 0/1, or any other SATA header on the motherboard.

You can partition the drive at the beginning of the Win7 install (can skip step 3). Just choose the 'Custom (advanced)' option - 8th screenshot onwards in this install guide click here.

Yes, 200Gb should be more than enough for Win7 & several installed programs (I've got my OS partition at 100Gb).

Just after installing Win7 & before doing anything else, I'd first sort out a working Internet connection in order to download Win7 updates. Win7 may have taken care of this on its own, but if not, you can manually install the motherboard's chipset/LAN drivers to do this. And no need to visit the MS website to check as there's an inbuilt updater that will do it automatically if the settings are right (click here / click here).

Next, install the other necessary drivers - check Device Manager for exclamation marks, which will indicate a lack of drivers for those particular components.

Once you have a stable PC with all updates & drivers installed, install all your other third-party software.

Finally, you can activate your Win7 install. G

  ICF 16:59 02 Jan 2011

Then take an image with acronis and store it on a dvd or external drive.

  Jem 21:08 02 Jan 2011

Thanks again. Good to see that Win7 includes the partitioning tool.

In terms of software location, is it better to have Win 7 in its own partition and other software on a different one or to have all software on a single partition and data stored separately?

The PC will be used for general use but the most challenging application is I think editing video using Premiere Elements. In past I've had PE on one drive and the video files on another in the blief this was more efficient.

  dth 21:56 02 Jan 2011

i would put windows and your programmes on one partition and your data on a 2nd partition

  GaT7 22:14 02 Jan 2011

One could also partition while installing with older OSes - from Win95 onwards (may be even earlier, but I cannot remember that far back!). Remember the Fdisk & Format commands?

I think with Win7, especially 64-bit, it's better to install software on the main/OS partition itself. But if you choose to install software on another partition (not all software will allow this by the way), you can make the OS partition much smaller - 40-50Gb will be more than enough. I don't think you'll ever cross 20Gb (with Win7 & a few programs only), but it's always a good idea to have at least 50-60% free space for optimum performance.

Edit video files on its own single large drive if possible, or if not, on the largest partition.

There's some sound partitioning advice over at Radified click here. The basic advice is to 'do what works best for you / your system', which is sensible I guess. G

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