I lost my desktop Win7 development machine, including the disk drive (apparently) to a power surge a few months ago.

I have a Norton Ghost full drive backup from a couple months before the crash. I have built a new machine, but it has a different motherboard than the old one. (New machine is an ASUS P8-Z77 MB with a Core i5/socket 1155 processor. The old one was a GigaBYTE motherboard from about 4 years ago, with a Core i7/socket 1366 processor.)

I would like to be able to use the Ghost backup as a starting point for this machine so that I don't have to re-install/re-configure all my apps. However, it's seeming to be a case of you can't get there from here.

When I restore the drive, and do the startup repair from Windows install disk to regenerate the boottrack and Boot Manager, the machine will begin to start up, and gets about 2 seconds into the splash screen (where the colored dots are beginning to come together into the logo), then reboots. I've tried it in safe mode, and it goes through about a screen full of DLL's that it's loading, then just stops and reboots. I've got the driver installation disk that came with the new motherboard, but I can't figure out a way to use it to install the drivers on the system disk if I can't at least get safe mode up.

Any suggestions, or am I just going to have to start from a clean install and re-pave the whole machine. (I know that since everything is backed up on the Norton image, I'll be able to recover all my data, it's just a matter of convenience.)

  • The problem you ran into is that windows has stored which hardware it had and thus which drivers it needs. If you can tell it not to load any drivers, or to forget about them and re-probe then you usually can boot. (Disclaimer: Usually. If the old computer used IDE and the newer computer used AHCI its gets interesting). The normal way to make a computer forget and reprobe is to run sysprep generalise on the old computer. Obviously this does not work if the old computer already died. You can try to boot in safe mode and to run sysprep. I never tried it that way, but there is a chance....
    – Hennes
    Jan 21, 2013 at 15:31
  • he won't reach the safe mode. ;-)
    – Offler
    Jan 21, 2013 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Personally, I would not try to restore using the Ghost image. You'll be introducing foreign drivers and device settings which will probably make your task much more difficult. Instead, I would do a clean install of the OS, install Ghost, and then MOUNT the previous Ghost image to extract anything useful or to jog your memory of what you had installed.

On a side note, you may want to look at using WinInstall (free) and package your installs while you are going through this process. WinInstall lets you take a "snapshot" of the machine before you install an app and then, again, after you install / register / tweak each application. It then creates an MSI package with all of the app's install files, any tweaks you may have made to the app, and any registration information. If you ever run into this scenario again, or even need to MOVE your app to another machine, you can just execute the MSI file to get the app onto the machine with almost no effort. If you do this for each of the apps during your upcoming process you will never have to worry whether or not your have the exact hardware during a recovery... just install the OS, execute a series of quiet MSIs, and then bring in your data.

I hope this helps.

  • Thanks for your response, Fred. That's pretty much what I was thinking. And thanks for the ti[ on Wininstall. I'll check it out.
    – daveh551
    Jan 22, 2013 at 0:36

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