Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

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Re-install Windows 8.1?

Poll ended at Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:38 pm

Yes, re-install Windows
4
18%
No, go ahead and transplant Windows and hope for the best.
13
59%
Cheese
5
23%
 
Total votes : 22

Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:38 pm

I've been building my own computers for just about 20 years now. I was, and still am to a large degree, the kind of guy who obsessed over nearly every detail about how my hardware and software were working. I would re-install Windows with little hesitation, or even just for fun on a Friday night. It just wasn't a big deal and I liked doing it.

I get the feeling I might be the only person I know that considers BIOS updates, patches, and Windows updates like little presents. LOL

Now that I've gotten older, have a career and a family, free time has grown short. I'm sure this is a story many of you know personally. I no longer relish the idea of re-installing Windows and all my applications.

But I just bought a new motherboard and CPU. I'm going from an Asus Z77 chipset board and a i5-3570 to an Asus Z97 board and a i7-4790. Everything else stays the same. I'm thinking about just transplanting my Windows installation on to this new hardware, updating the necessary drivers, and hoping this technique is good enough.
Windows has come a long ways in handling such "transplants" with grace. I would have never considered doing such a thing. I'd always re-install Windows with a hardware change such as this.

Anyway, on to the question:

What do you guys think, should I re-install Windows or just let Windows 8.1 try and "figure it out" and hope for the best?
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:45 pm

Uninstall your AV and then use Sysprep

Windows Vista and newer are designed to migrate between hardware to meet the needs of Enterprise customers. You don't need to do a fresh install.

Uninstall AV
sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown
Put in new hardware
Boot box
Install drivers, re-install AV, profit
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:47 pm

If you want to keep up with your geek cred, you can take this opportunity to do/learn full backup, sysprep, and transplant. ;) These may all end up requiring more time from you, but there is no "hoping for it to work" uncertainty there. Sysprepping Windows 7 is already very good. 8/8.1 should only be even better.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:00 pm

I haven't used it yet myself, but apparently the above-mentioned Sysprep has worked well for many. If it were my main rig, I would still reinstall until I become more familiar with the utility, but that's just a personal choice.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:28 pm

The Egg wrote:I haven't used it yet myself, but apparently the above-mentioned Sysprep has worked well for many. If it were my main rig, I would still reinstall until I become more familiar with the utility, but that's just a personal choice.

You will have to do it eventually to retain your geek creds. So there is no time like the present. ;) You can always reinstall if you want anyway.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:56 pm

I've done it before without running sysprep first. My recommendation is to uninstall the video drivers, update the chipset and SATA drivers to the latest version and do a disk image backup before moving to the new hardware. Afterwards, install the video drivers for the new CPU and you should be up and running. Make sure the SATA mode on the new motherboard matches the old board and it should boot fine.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:42 pm

Ryu -
The only AV I use is MSSE. Do I really need to uninstall it? I've also never heard of OOBE, so I googled it. Sounds like OOBE basically lets you cutomize the Windows setup experience after you've run sysprep. Is OOBE part of sysprep or a seperate utility you need to run?


Thanks for the advice on sysprep, I hadn't thought of using that. I've used sysprep in the past with Windows XP on corporate workstations, but not on anything newer than that. I'm sure sysprep has only gotten better.

As I recall, upon first boot after sysprep, Windows configures the machine as if it was a new install, letting you rename it, etc. Will sysprep keep all my user settings intact?

Oh, and I do have full backups already courtesy of my Windows Home Server 2011.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:03 pm

The chipsets on the boards in question are similar enough that you should be fine without a reinstall. (Unless you're currently utilizing Secure Boot - guessing that won't work properly moving from one mobo to another.)

As far as sysprep, it's certainly an option, though I suspect you'll be fine without it. A couple of key points: IIRC, you'll need to use the "Generalize" option in sysprep if you're attempting to have it flush your current drivers.

The key point that someone has already mentioned is that you'll want to make sure your new board has the same SATA settings in the BIOS. On an Intel-based Asus board it would be one of the following: RAID, AHCI, or IDE. Make sure this setting on the new board matches the value set on the old board, and I'd wager you'll be fine, even without sysprep.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:47 pm

Wow, this is timely. I find myself upgrading from a Z77 Asus board with an i7-3770k to an Asus Z97 board with a i7-4970 like the OP. I initially tried simply putting my SSD into the new build and seeing what happened. It would boot to Windows, but as soon as it hit the Login screen, my USB keyboard and mouse would drop out and I couldn't login. I didn't even go so far as to try a PS2 keyboard to see if I can get in so I won't say I tried very hard and my W7 install is probably close to 4 years aged at this point.

I'm about half way through a clean W7 install on a spare SSD with the plan being to image over to my 840 pro when I'm satisfied with the new install. I might have to give sysprep a try on the other install if for no other reason than to say I have done it. I might get the old install running on the new hardware just to image it and keep in case I run into something later that I forgot to move over. Or maybe I'll convert it to a virtual machine. Have fun and good luck!
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:53 pm

I recently mentioned this in another, similar thread: About two weeks ago I decomissioned an HTPC machine that started life as a Win7 Home (64-bit) install on an AMD/nForce/ATi setup and was then upgraded in-place to Windows 8 Pro, and moved it to an Intel box, because I couldn't upgrade the AMD system to Win8.1 due to the absence of cmpexch16b support in the Opteron 180. After making a backup image of the drive, I simply chucked it into a Dell Optiplex 780 (Intel Q9400) without the graphics card, using the onboard video instead.

The machine reconfigured itself within about five minutes and then made me do the activation runaround. After that, it was fine, although I did have to uninstall Catalyst Control Center and ended up re-installing the Xonar DG soundcard drivers because the control panel applet wasn't coming up correctly. I then upgraded it to Windows 8.1 with no hiccups.

Moral: Windows Vista and up are remarkably robust about hardware migration.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:02 pm

adampk17 wrote:Ryu -
The only AV I use is MSSE. Do I really need to uninstall it?


If you mean the AV built into Windows 8/8.1 (Windows Defender) then you can leave it be (you can't uninstall it regardless). If you mean Microsoft Security Essentials that you've installed into Windows 7, then yes you should uninstall it. MSE/MSSE generally behaves okay with Sysprep, but I just wouldn't risk it.

I've also never heard of OOBE, so I googled it. Sounds like OOBE basically lets you cutomize the Windows setup experience after you've run sysprep. Is OOBE part of sysprep or a seperate utility you need to run?


OoBE is the Out of Box Experience. It has to be run in this context. In a corporate environment you would include an answer file to prevent the end users from seeing the OoBE. For this situation there's little point to that kind of work.

As I recall, upon first boot after sysprep, Windows configures the machine as if it was a new install, letting you rename it, etc. Will sysprep keep all my user settings intact?


You've just described OoBE. :)

Your user profiles and application will be left unharmed, but there will be a few system settings that have to be redone. It's a painless process.

All sysprep is going to do is eject all the hardware specific information from the system. This returns the OS to a clean slate giving you a fresh install on the new hardware.

Oh, and I do have full backups already courtesy of my Windows Home Server 2011.


Excellent. Contingencies are a must.

Thanks for the advice on sysprep, I hadn't thought of using that. I've used sysprep in the past with Windows XP on corporate workstations, but not on anything newer than that. I'm sure sysprep has only gotten better.


Combined with Vista and newer it's pretty amazing. IT asked for better imaging capabilities and Microsoft modified the guts of the OS to deliver.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:31 pm

Doesn't running sysprep wipe out your computer's identity though? If I remember correctly Isn't it literally a different PC after you complete the mini-setup on the other side of the hardware swap? Would this mean that other computers wouldn't recognize it as the same computer, like WHS 2011, even if you gave it the same name?

I do like the idea of sysprep resetting the hardware but these other questions have me hesitant.

Thanks in advance, sysprep gurus.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:45 pm

Yes, it resets the computer SID.

Presuming WHS runs a domain then you'd need to reset the computer account and then re-attach the client to fix the issue.

This explains:
http://web-foro.com/wl/CompanionContent ... _03_05.htm

Workgroups don't care about this change, this is domain specific.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:19 am

If you can't be bothered to learn how to sysprep, just go with it. New ICHX southbridges seem to be pretty compatible with the old driver. Your biggest issue might be getting USB devices working but mashing the keyboard during safe-mode boot is usually enough to get you going.

Making sure your new board is set to the same IDE/RAID/AHCI disk setting is the other most obvious cause of bluescreens after a transplant.

Nonetheless, I can recommend learning to sysprep. It's a useful skill to have in your mental toolbox.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:22 am

Chrispy_ wrote:If you can't be bothered to learn how to sysprep, just go with it. .



Hey now, don't be grumpy. I've used Sysprep before and I never said I was unwilling to try it again. I'm just gathering opinions and info.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:16 pm

Do the sysprep. If that fails then you can reinstall. As Flying Fox suggested, do a backup. You can learn then learn from your first sysprep (I know I will!) and redo mistakes. Don't you wish you could do a backup and sysprep each time before you talk to your gf/wife
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:23 pm

ThatStupidCat wrote:Don't you wish you could do a backup and sysprep each time before you talk to your gf/wife



Indeed! :lol:
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:45 pm

ludi wrote:I recently mentioned this in another, similar thread: About two weeks ago I decomissioned an HTPC machine that started life as a Win7 Home (64-bit) install on an AMD/nForce/ATi setup and was then upgraded in-place to Windows 8 Pro, and moved it to an Intel box, because I couldn't upgrade the AMD system to Win8.1 due to the absence of cmpexch16b support in the Opteron 180. After making a backup image of the drive, I simply chucked it into a Dell Optiplex 780 (Intel Q9400) without the graphics card, using the onboard video instead.

The machine reconfigured itself within about five minutes and then made me do the activation runaround. After that, it was fine, although I did have to uninstall Catalyst Control Center and ended up re-installing the Xonar DG soundcard drivers because the control panel applet wasn't coming up correctly. I then upgraded it to Windows 8.1 with no hiccups.

Moral: Windows Vista and up are remarkably robust about hardware migration.

Yeah, that's I'll do too. But it looks like the reconfiguration works only on windows x64. I don't remember it works on windows 32 systems, though I has been 64bit only for quite a while. Another thing needs to take into consideration: SATA mode(IDE or ACHI) has to be same, otherwise the system will BSOD when booting windows.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:44 am

adampk17 wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:If you can't be bothered to learn how to sysprep, just go with it. .

Hey now, don't be grumpy. I've used Sysprep before and I never said I was unwilling to try it again. I'm just gathering opinions and info.


Not grumpy - Sometimes it genuinely isn't worth the bother. Only you will really know the answer to that ;)
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:54 pm

Here's a little sysprep nugget.

2014-07-24 19:50:39, Error [0x0f0036] SYSPRP spopk.dll:: Sysprep will not run on an upgraded OS. You can only run Sysprep on a custom (clean) install version of Windows.

I guess my options are a actual swap-and-pray transplant or a re-install.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:55 pm

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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:03 pm




Indeed. I haven't tried it yet, but this looks promising.

Sysprep Error with windows 8.1
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:44 am

Cheese :o

Back up first. But I would then transplant and hope for the best. Sounds like you know what you're doing, have the motherboard drivers on a usb drive before hand, do the hardware transplant, and then go to device manager (or if your NIC drivers come up go online) and get the rest of the drivers in.

If worst comes to worst, and things are flakey then you can always nuke and re-install. If things are great, you just saved yourself an afternoon or evening and do other things in life. And months/years down the line (or on a long and boring rainy day) you can always reinstall again if you want.

Newer versions of windows are better at this than 9x series or even XP.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:30 am

Well, poop.

Running sysprep on my machine is not going as well as it could. I worked around the initial problem mentioned above, but when sysprep ran again it eventually stopped again with another fatal error. It failed to generalize several applications, including any Metro app that had ever been updated, which is expected from what I read. But evidently there was some software it ran it to that it gave up on.

I restarted my computer and sysprep had reset about half of my software so it had no idea what my settings were or whether it was activated, etc. Nothing horrible really, but not quite what I had been hoping for either. :lol: Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

I'm going to restore from my WHS 2011 back up and transplant without sysprep this time. Even if that goes well I imagine I will re-install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 in the not so distant future.

I'll post back here and let you know how Win 8.1 handles the transplant.
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Re: Necessary to re-install Windows in this situation?

Postposted on Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:29 pm

Window 8.1 handled the transplant with little problem.

I just updated motherboard drivers for chipset, NIC, and USB. My Nvidia display driver crashed a couple times until I re-installed it.

Overall, pretty painless. I'll probably do a fresh install of Windows 8.1 in the coming month or so, just for good measure after the difficulties I had with sysprep.

Thanks to all who replied.
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