Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Upgrading a Motherboard without Reinstalling Windows

Introduction

Installation of a new motherboard can be a real pain in the butt. If your new motherboard uses any other chipset then the old one, chances are you may experience the BSOD (blue screen of death) in Windows 2000/XP. Back when we were all running Windows 95/98, we could reset the hardware configuration. In my opinion if Microsoft decided to add this very useful feature to Windows 2000/XP, it could solve a lot of issues and save us all lot's of trouble.

This article will show you how to avoid the blue screen of death after you install a new motherboard with a different chipset. I found out about it few years ago when I worked as a Network administrator. Windows 2000 installation takes a long time and we couldn't use Norton Ghost due the motherboard chipset differences between the huge amounts of computers in the building.

How does it work? It's actually not really difficult. Windows 2000/XP supports ACPI and the old legacy way of allocating resources. Back in the day we had to configure devices manually and then with the release of Windows 95, PnP (Plug and Play) was introduced to do this job for us. Windows 2000/XP supports both and it uses different hardware table records. All you have to do is to Switch from ACPI to the old legacy way and it will rest the hardware table record and detect your new motherboard without any blue screens. Don't worry your system won't stay the old legacy way.

Before I start please be advised it may not work perfectly on some systems and I'm not responsible for any damage or data lose. USE THIS GUIDE AT OWN RISK!!

What you need?

* Administrator account with Administrator password
* The new Motherboard with Non-ACPI Operation System support (most of the motherboards support this)
* A printed copy of this guide

Stage I - Backup

The best way to start is to do a complete backup of your current Hard-Disk/Partition just in case you encounter any difficulties. I would typically use Symantecs Ghost for this task. Those who choose to skip this part; remember not to blame me for any lost data. I warned you!

Stage II - Driver cleanup

Remove and uninstall all your currently installed drivers. Video Cards, Sound Cards, Chipset, IDE. Make sure to remove them all through Control Panel > Add and Remove. After you are sure you have removed all of your drivers its time to reboot.

Stage III - Disabling ACPI

Enter The Device Manager by clicking on Start Menu then Run, then type devmgmt.msc and press Enter. Expand the "Computer" value and double click the "ACPI Uniprocessor PC". Click on the driver tab and click "Update Driver..." A new window will pop up. Choose to "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)" and click on "Don't Search. I will choose the driver to install". Uncheck the box "Show compatible hardware". Select "Standard PC" and click next, then click OK. A restart prompt will show up and click "No". DO NOT RESTART!!!Just shut down your system and do not turn it on until you replace your motherboard in the next stage.

 Stage IV - Replacing the motherboard

After you shut down the system you have to replace the old motherboard with the new one. So do it now. After you are done, turn the system on and continue to load windows normally. Windows will load up and redetect the entire hardware configuration. Let windows install the new drivers and reboot as many time as it necessary but wait…It's not over yet!

Stage VI - Cleaning up the old drivers

Click on Start menu and then on Run and type "cmd.exe" and press enter. A windows command prompt will show up. Type: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press enter. Now type devmgmt.msc and click enter. Device Manager will open. Inside Device Manager click on the "View" tab and then click on "Show hidden devices". Device Manager will now show the old devices/drivers. Old device will have transparent icon like in the following screenshot. Remove all of these Old devices but Do Not touch the Old devices inside the "Non-Plug and Play Drivers" and in the "Sound, video and game controllers" tabs.
 It should look like the screenshot above

Stage VII - Reinstalling ACPI

Return to Device Manager by clicking on Start Menu then Run, then typing devmgmt.msc and press Enter. Expand the "Computer" value, You will notice there are two Standard PCs. double click the First Standard PC (from the top). Click on the driver tab and click "Update Driver..." A new window will pop up. Choose to "Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)" and click on "Don't Search. I will choose the driver to install". Uncheck the box "Show compatible hardware". Select "Advanced 
 Configuration and Power
 Interface (ACPI) PC" and click next, then click OK and Restart.














 Windows will now detect the devices again. When its done restart the system again.
Now after the system has been restarted return to Device Manager by clicking on Start Menu then Run, then type devmgmt.msc and press Enter. Expand the "Computer" value and right click "Standard PC" and choose "Uninstall" and reboot.

Stage VIII - The End

Cleanup the old devices again (follow Stage VI again). Install all your drivers again. Congratulations you are done!

In closing, let me stress that with the coming of AHCI based SATA devices, this procedure will become far more system-specific. The reason is that XP doesn't have generic AHCI drivers, though such drivers are possible. For such systems, we recommend you use the Microsoft method. Though this method will still leave you with all the ghosted items in Device Manager, can still be interrupted by drivers which need to be uninstalled, and will remove all your service packs and hotfixes beyond what is on the OS media, it is quite a bit more reliable, and will tolerate more esoteric system setups.

I personally would do a backup and then do a fresh install, thats quite a change, and it'll certainly be less stressful for you to format the hard disk and start again with a fresh copy.

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