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New motherboard without losing windows

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so my motherboard went out and i am going to install a new one. Well its not a manufacturer motherboard its an whole different brand because my hp is about 4 years old. Well is it possible to put this new motherboard without getting the blue screen or having to install windows. Data is not the issue i have everything fully backed up i just don't have a genuine xp disk just the recovery disks and from what i hear you cant use those on a new motherboard any procedures or ideas anyone has please
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    Portlock - Oahu

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Considering you probably already knew the answer to your own question, I won't beat around the bush. You can't legally use the recovery CD on a different make motherboard. Your HP is an OEM, which ties the OS to your computer. Uhhh, well, this isn't entirely true... when MS issued the OEM license, they actually issued it to the specifics of the model(s) that were included for that license. Meaning that if you were able to find the exact same motherboard, or a manufacture's replacement board covered by the OEM license, you could swap the boards out without legal issues.

Things to consider when looking at the entire picture though... Even if you were lucky enough to find the same or manufacture's replacement board, it'll cost you a pretty penny. Also considering your system's age, the only place to find something like that is probably ebay or at a very expensive sunset parts house. And then, also considering the system age, the motherboard or some other system component may or may not last that long and you'll be singing the same tune all over again.

On the other hand, if you were to purchase a new different branded motherboard, it'll have to be one that could work with your current system hardware. This new motherboard needs to be able to support the same RAM modules/type, HD type (IDE or SATA), Video card type, etc, and perhaps power supply. Many HP's, Dells, Compaqs, are built with very cheap power supplies, ones that barely meet the requirements of the system. Beyond hardware, you would also need to purchase a new OS. Add up the cost and you're probably looking at a few hundred minimum with no guarantee that any of your hardware will last much longer due to age.

Just in case you're wondering, swapping a motherboard, especially if they are different brands, will cause the OS not to boot. When Windows was initially installed on your HP, a "system signature" was recorded. If windows doesn't recognize this signature (due to the different motherboard brand), it won't boot... leaving you with the only alternative... reinstall the OS. Actually, though, there is a work around for installing a new/different motherboard without having to reinstall Windows, but it's a humbug process and not really worth the instability that may arise, and of course the legality issues.

Personally, I think you're faced with the same problems many people see in aged computers... things dying. I've worked on enough OEM systems to tell you your computer will not last very much longer. The next probable failure will be the power supply. The best "ideas" I have is to forgo the repair and start shopping for a newer model computer, or if you feel brave, build your own system, and make sure to purchase a "retail" version of the OS so you can use it with any upgrade to your system... to include using it again on your next system when it comes time to trash the current one.

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