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Can I install two different set of Motherboard drivers on the same Windows installation/HDD, and therefore be able to boot with two different motherboards on the same HDD?


How do I change over the motherboard drivers of a Windows installation from those of an old mobo to a new mobo?


-I have an old Asus P5Q-E motherboard +9300Q Quad core CPU with HDD drive ("old HDD") running windows 7.

-I upgraded to a MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard + i5 Ivy Bridge CPU (+DDR3 mem). I have a new SSD to pair with this system.


I want to be able to boot my 'old HDD' with my new motherboard, for more straightforward access to my old files.

  • If I simply connect the old HDD to my new motherboard, windows complains of 'windows failed to boot- new hardware/software issue'.

  • I am able to reconnect my old motherboard to boot the OS from old HDD.

  • I have installed Win7 on my new SSD and can access my old HDD as a secondary volume.

My attempted solution:

  1. Use the driver disc supplied by the new Mobo and install all drivers on the win7 os of the 'old HDD'. Will this let me boot the 'old HDD' with my new mobo?
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Wow, I am surprised that Windows 7 can't do this. There is something like that in Win 8, where you supposedly can put the OS on a flash drive and boot wherever (this is so last decade). – Ярослав Рахматуллин Nov 9 '12 at 1:20

Yes and no. You can add the drivers to the windows installation in all the right places. When you boot from the alternative motherboard windows might detect the new hardware, install the right drivers, reboot and work fine.

This assumes that windows can boot far enough to get to the point where it starts to install new drivers. If it fails before that (e.g. because the harddisk drivers are incompatible) then windows will fail to start and you have a problem.

Windows is also likely to detect a lot of hardware changes, leading to a reactivation. So be prepared to phone Microsoft every time to switch motherboards.

Now if you installed two host operating systems and selected which one to boot it would work, though what you saved on one desktop would not equal to what you saved on another desktop. Tricks like a shared data partition might help with this. As would dropbox like programs.

Things which would work flawlessly include:

  1. Two different OS installs with virtualisation. And using a VM for the actual work.
    This would use multiple windows licences, including one for thr OS in the VM.
  2. VMware server (no license) able to boot on bot OS'ses, and the windows install in the VM. (Depending on the windows license you have this might or might not be legal).
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Thanks for the answer. I've thought more, and my best scenario is actually to have both the new SSD and old HDD connected to my new hardware, and be able to choose which drive to boot into from the bios. I.e., is there a way to install the new Mobo drivers onto my old HDD, replacing the old mobo drivers in the old HDD completely? – PPTim Nov 8 '12 at 19:59
Is there a specific reason you need to boot the old HDD? Personally I would just use a clean install on the SDD&Z77A-GD65. RUn sysprep generalise on the old HDD, add it to the new system and setup a VM (e.g. vmware player which is free) to use the physical disk. You would use the new clean install and you can access all old files ina a VM. – Hennes Nov 8 '12 at 20:10
Thanks. I assume the sysprep generalize will have to be run while booting into the old HDD OS? One issue is that I have a windows virtual PC setup in my old HDD that i use to print/scan- my printer/scanner doesn't have win7 drivers anymore. I do have a clean install on my SSD now. I was going to pull the Win7 activation key from my old HDD to use in the new SSD install. Would this work? – PPTim Nov 8 '12 at 21:11
Sysprep has to be run before booting into the old HDD OS on a new system. It restores windows to a before first boot situation. --- Re win7 key: check for a sticker with a set of five-digit-codes-on-it on the original PC. Note that this code is not stored literally in the old OS. You can derive it from the product ID with some aditional programs. (see 'my computer - right click - properties' for the product key) – Hennes Nov 9 '12 at 0:02

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