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I have HP computer and it came with Windows Vista. It also had an option to upgrade to Windows 7 via upgrade disc. I have upgraded to Windows 7 via the special upgrade disc (It is special because it will only allow to install Windows 7 if Vista is already installed.

My motherboard recently died. I just replaced it and Windows 7 will not start up. It reboots and sometimes gives a blue screen of death. Very similar problem as described in this post: Unexpected replacement of motherboard now windows 7 won't boot. Windows will not boot into normal or safe mode. Start up repair from system repair disc does not fix the problem. However, "Can I run my win7 on another machine with different motherboard?" post on superuser describes that it should be possible to run Windows 7 on a new motherboard.

Is it hopeless to find a way to repair Windows 7 and I need to do a clean install? Is there a difference for repair options between OEM and retail versions of Windows 7? I remember doing this type of repair just fine in Windows XP days, so why am I unable to do so with Windows 7 - is it Microsoft or HP's fault? Should I stop buying HP computers or should I switch to Ubuntu?

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I just used this tutorial to get back into my Windows 7 SP1 32-bit operating system. My inital problem is the same as yours in that I replaced my motherboard, CPU, Graphics Card and RAM and when I rebooted my PC; Windows crashed with a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) after the starting logo.

The new motherboard I was using was an MSI Z77A-G41 Plus. Here is a short version of the tutorial (in case the link goes dead):

  1. Download drivers for your motherboard and unpack them onto a USB or CD-Drive (I used a USB)

  2. Create a Windows Repair USB/DVD for your version of Windows

  3. Boot your PC into the Repair Utility and run the repair on your Windows, when this fails use back to get yourself to a menu with a command prompt option on.

  4. Insert your USB/DVD with the drivers

  5. Hit command prompt and find your USB/DVD drive letter using:

    dir $DRIVE:\

where $DRIVE is a letter from C-Z (mine was E:\ for instance), eventually you will find the USB/DVD with the drivers on. Once that is done enter the following line:

dism /image:$WINDOWSDRIVE:\ /add-driver /Driver:$MEDIA:\ /recurse

where $WINDOWSDRIVE will be C (or perhaps D depending what HDD your Windows sits on) and $MEDIA will be the Drive letter of your USB/DVD with the drivers on.

This should successfully copy your new motherboard's drivers across to Windows. Boot your PC back into Windows, at this point it may fix itself. But if it doesn't (as in my case) then attempt to switch your SATA mode from AHCI to IDE in the BIOS and start using Last Known Configuration. This rectified the problem for me but if this doesn't work for you remember that the hard part is probably over and you are quite close to having your OS back.

Finally, if you do manage to get back into your Windows, be prepared for an Activation message and have the key handy for your windows install. Best of luck and please feel free to ask any questions below.

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It requires quite some BIOS (eg. AHCI mode), driver (chipset controller) and registry fiddling in order to get your Windows to work on your new motherboard. Even if you do get it working, you will not be able to use it due to licensing issues. This is to prevent you from reselling the computer with better components.


You should install a new Windows 7 over the current Windows 7, or perhaps do an Easy Transfer. Be sure to back-up your computer in advance to prevent data loss. This is an easy way to fix your installation and only requires you to install some programs again. Note that because you have a new motherboard you do need a new Windows 7 license...


There's nothing wrong with buying HP, but you should consider to switch to a retail installation instead of OEM if you like to upgrade your hardware now and then. Going to Ubuntu might cause similar problems, although you won't have licensing issues. But well, some people prefer Windows while others do not...

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Thanks for the answer. Needing a new license in either case, how would I get it to work with my existing installation? Do you know of any post where someone describes exactly what BIOS, driver, and registry settings to fiddle with? Would my situation be any different if I had retail version of Windows 7 installed instead of OEM? –  dabest1 Dec 5 '11 at 3:36
    
@dabest1: The settings/drivers/registry settings depend on your configuration. I don't know of any guide which is why I call it fiddling. It involves getting the BIOS settings to be the same, making sure (mostly in advance) the drivers are installed and to enable the driver services is the CurrentControlSet/Services registry key that are relevant to the controller. Your mileage may vary heavily, so it might be more feasible to just install Windows 7 on top of your current installation. Retail does not make a difference, changing the motherboard is an OS-breaking experience... –  Tom Wijsman Dec 5 '11 at 3:57
    
It was not an OS-breaking experience with Windows XP, with that in mind I though modern OS like Windows 7 would have no issue with this as well. What do you mean by "install Windows 7 on top of current installation"? When I try to install Windows 7 retail on top of the same partition where broken OEM Windows 7 is, it tells me that it will move the old Windows directory to Windows.old. This is highly undesirable for me as all settings and most installed programs will not work anymore. –  dabest1 Dec 5 '11 at 4:31
    
Actually, XP was more likely to break, since it had more HALs available. It's no one's fault that a motherboard breaks. It happens. However, if it is an OEM Windows license (more than likely, since retail licenses are more expensive), it is tied to the motherboard. Usually, HP will get you a replacement motherboard and handle the data transfer if it is under warranty. You can also try calling HP and explain the situation. Then try calling Microsoft. –  surfasb Dec 5 '11 at 5:18
    
Like TOM said earlier, you should try the Easy Transfer. It will save your program settings to a file that you can use to restore when you reinstall the OS. However, not all programs save their settings the same way. . . –  surfasb Dec 5 '11 at 5:20
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