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Windows 7: Looking for volunteers to test motherboard swap theory

1 Day Ago   #1

Win7 pro x64
Looking for volunteers to test motherboard swap theory

Its been demonstrated that swapping the motherboard of a windows7 non-raid sata boot drive is a piece of cake if you follow a few easy steps, regardless of whether the two motherboards are similar. And that swapping without doing these steps is a crap shoot that may or may not work. The steps are:

1) make sure the bios of the old motherboard and the new motherboard are set to AHCI in their bios' SATA setting. Most all motherboards in recent years use this as the default setting. This tells bios to turn AHCI on.

2) Use regedit to make sure the registry of the boot drive says "0" under the START setting for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci. This tells windows to turn AHCI on.

3) In device manager, change the device driver of your boot drive's IDE ATA/ATAPI controller to "Standard AHCI 1.0 driver". This makes your sata boot drive look generic to windows when it boots up with the new motherboard so it will avoid the dreaded blue screen we all remember when trying to swap motherboards of windows XP boot drives. Unlike win7, WinXP was pretty intolerant of motherboard swaps.

If you follow these steps a motherboard swap will successfully boot to the desktop every time. At that point its just a matter of installing your new motherboard's drivers and if you desire, cleaning up the no-longer-needed old drivers using Device Cleanup Tool.

I've done hundreds of win7 motherboard swaps over the years as a hardware troubleshooter and by following steps 1-3 it always works. But now I'm wondering if step 3 is even necessary. The rationale for step 3 is to assure that windows has a predefined hard disk driver that is compatible with the new motherboard. BUT, since AHCI itself provides SATA hot-pluggability, I'm now wondering if windows will hot-plug-load a compatible SATA disk controller driver at the boot up of the new machine EVEN IF step 3 is avoided and the user KEEPS the old motherboard-specific controller driver installed.

So if anyone is wanting to help me tinker with this theory, all you need to do is to swap motherboards doing steps 1 and 2 ONLY, and see if your boot drive will boot to the desktop of a different motherboard that has a different chipset. Btw, its a known fact that if the new motherboard's chipset is the same as the old board, or even if its simply similar, then you will boot up successfully regardless. So its preferable if you do this with dissimilar chipset motherboards. Thanks in advance if anyone wants to give this a try.
I realize there is a decent chance no one will be interested in doing this but figured I'd ask anyway. I've tried it already of course and it always worked, but its hard to draw conclusions from a small sample set of success.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
1 Day Ago   #2

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone

Hello johnhoh

I'll stand in and be your Volunteer #1!

This swap works perfectly well on Vista by using motherboards with dissimilar chipsets. At the time it was well publicised on the web that you can perform this tip on Vista. The problem that occurs with Windows 7 is that the licencing agreement is different. I think on Windows 7 Licencing Agreement stateds that you cannot upgrade the CPU or motherboard chipsets. Which means that the swap can only be legitimately performed to motherboards of the same chipset.

You can do step three first. Which is the way I went. Step three can be performed on its own and without re-booting, then perform the motherboard swap. Once your powered up, you can then delete the old obsolete motherboard device drivers from the device store.

Of course, the motherboards I was using were specced out with legacy BIOS. Todays motherboards are UEFI. And more information is stored in the UEFI firmware. I suspect that means that this tip may not work on UEFI motherboards & OS licence.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Hours Ago   #3

Windows 7 HP 64

Every time you boot windows looks to see if the Lan MAC address is the same as when you did the activation.
If you change MB, Lan MAC address will be different and win will ask to activate.

If you disable Lan on BIOS, as soon as you boot, win will ask to activate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Looking for volunteers to test motherboard swap theory

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