Hi, I've got a really slow underpowered old computer and I want to replace the motherboard and the cpu. Is it possible to change them without having to reload everything that is on the hard drive? The OS is XP. Thanks.
There is a very comprehensive answer here from paperdoc, you should read it and it will explain how it might be done, but you will need a bootable CD/DVD of the Windows XP operating system that you currently use.
I would have thought that the problem you're likely to run into is drivers for the new motherboard - you'd need to install those, as the ones on your hard drive won't work and may give you issues when booting XP for the first time.
Drivers to disable BEFORE changing motherboard
click here very common reason for boot issues on an XP system is problems with loading drivers and system services, which may be unstable, damaged, or corrupted. Use the Enable Boot Logging advanced startup option to try to determine the driver or system service name causing a failure, or even a filename referenced in any error messages you might receive when trying to boot XP normally. This information is useful, since the Recovery Console allows you to configure the startup settings with drivers and system services, selectively disabling them or changing their startup settings if necessary.
The listsvc command displays a list of all critical drivers and system services, and displays information about their current settings – for example if they are configured to start automatically, manually, or if they are disabled. The enable command allows you to enable a service or driver, and control its startup setting. For example, the command enable messenger SERVICEAUTOSTART would configure the Messenger service to start automatically. The disable command disables a service, just as the name suggests. Try disabling drivers or services which you suspect of causing boot problems, but be sure to write down their current settings first, just in case you need to change them back.
The disk is less important than the key. Anyone can download and burn a copy of Windows 7 - the value is in the key which must not have been installed before (or has been uninstalled) and not blacklisted by Microsoft. As MechKB says: reputable retailer. If a W7 deal seems too good to be true - well, you know the answer...
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