Change out MB without reinstalling Windows

Hello everyone,

I recently won a raffle at work for some old workstation computers and got myself a beautful(ly ugly) HP XW4600t workstation computer. My plan was to get something with a microATX board to make an HTPC from, but alas I ended up with a full ATX board. Its free, so I'm not complaining.

In order to do what I want, I need to retain a copy of windows on this machine. The hard drive has a copy of windows Vista Business on it, and as crappy as an OS as it is, I only need it as a back end to run PlayLater with XBMC.

I also need to scale down the size of the motherboard to get a case that will fit in my TV stand. Hence the post. Is there a way I can change out the motherboard and reuse my existing windows install? I've seen a bunch for Windows 7 and 8, but I worry about Vista, as it always seemed to cause me problems.



As long as you can get the boot going right, with a fitting SATA interface controller driver and mode, it should be possible. Expect to have to go through a couple of reboots to get everything detected, and download the other motherboard drivers in advance too like especially for the network interface.

You might also have to go through an automated phone service and punch a lot of numbers to get Windows activated again, as a motherboard change tends to trigger the OEM license safeguard.