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I recently upgraded my motherboard from a Gigabyte 78LMT-S2p to a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3. When I tried booting up Windows it blue-screened, and after some research I learned that it has something to do with the drivers and that the easiest solution would be to reinstall Windows 7. I also read that it is possible to get Windows running without reinstalling it, but I was unable to find any sort of guidance on how to go about that. I'm currently running Windows 7 off of a spare HDD I had, so I'm wondering if there is some way to fix the old installation from this new installation on a different drive.

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2 Answers

The correct way to do this would have been:

  1. Make a backup. (Always do this, even if we should not need it)
  2. Test the backup (an often skipped step).
  3. Deinstall software which is only relevant for the old motherboard. (e.g. tools specific for the old Gigabyte 78LMT-S2p). Optionally reboot to finish that.
  4. Run sysprep to reseal your OS. This tool from Microsoft will thouroughly remove all drivers.
  5. Shut down and do not boot the computer again with the old motherboard (else it will just rediscover the old hardware and reinstall the drivers).
  6. Only now migrate to the new motherboard.
  7. Boot, new hardware will be found. It should just work.

The downside to this is that you need to start before you swap motherboards. In your case that means reverting to the old setup, running sysprep and then changing the motherboard again.

An other method which you already mentioned is a clean reinstallation of windows. This has the advantage of giving you a clean start with no left over cruft. Is that is worth it or not depends on you (e.g. how clean in the old install. Does it even bother you if there are left overs or do you really want a good start, etc etc. Only you can answer that part).

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I learn something new everyday here, does sysprep work on other versions of windows (xp, vista)? This is great as I have been manually uninstalling drivers before swaps. Also, good tip on backup test having learned the hard way in the past. –  Carl B Aug 13 '13 at 17:09
    
Sysprep works on XP and can be found on the XP professional CD's. It also works on windows 7 (see here for a demo on w7.) I never tried it with Vista but since it works with both newer and older versions I assume it will work with Vista as well. –  Hennes Aug 13 '13 at 17:55
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Typically it is hit or miss if this works, but here are the steps that have worked for me.

  • Backup your data

  • Create a system restore point

  • Uninstall all drivers (chipset, sound, ethernet, video, ect..)

  • Reboot into safe mode

  • Double check that all drivers are uninstalled.

  • Install the chipset drivers for the new motherboard

  • Shutdown

  • Swap Motherboard

  • Boot into safe mode to make sure the driver installation completed

  • Reboot normally

You'll have best luck if your new motherboard is based on a similar chipset.

If you can't install the new motherboard chipset drivers while still on the old motherboard. Try force installing them by finding .inf file, right clicking and choosing 'install form here'

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I already installed the new mobo, so would i be able to do this from a different windows installation on a different hdd? Like if I went to System32>Drivers and copied all the files from a fresh installation to the same folder on the old installation? –  Derek Aug 13 '13 at 4:45
    
@Derek I've never tried that, I'm not sure it would work. If you can get into safe mode, you still might be able to salvage it, by uninstalling the old drivers, and installing the new ones. –  spuder Aug 13 '13 at 4:59
    
I tried going into safe mode, but it did not boot up. –  Derek Aug 13 '13 at 5:00
    
It crashes while trying to load atipcie.sys in safe mode. –  Derek Aug 13 '13 at 5:10
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Installing the chipset drivers for the new motherboard often fails until you have changed the hardware. Many drivers now check if the hardware is present and will abort if they do not detect it. :( –  Hennes Aug 13 '13 at 11:32
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