How to replace motherboard without reinstalling Windows
This guide is intended for users who would like to replace the motherboard on their computers without reinstalling the system. In particular, the article may be useful for you if:
- you are going to upgrade the motherboard but want to keep the current Windows installation along with settings and programs without reinstalling them from the start;
- you want to switch SATA controller mode from IDE to AHCI or RAID (or Vice versa) to achieve the best performance of the disk subsystem.
If one of the above scenarios apply to you, then you should know that regardless of your purposes is to replace the motherboard or switch the SATA controller in another mode, the result is the same: the «blue screen of death» (BSOD) with error STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE with the operating system.
The cause of this unfortunate incident is the inability of Windows to locate the proper drivers for your SATA controller. Fortunately, the problem can be worked around, thus avoiding reinstalling Windows. For this you just need to tell the operating system to use standard SATA controller driver during startup, and to help us with this it can registry editor.
To make the appropriate changes in the Windows registry, just follow the instructions below.
Before we begin, please read the information in the following two paragraphs, since one of them depends on your plan of action:
1. Motherboard replacement is not yet produced, so Windows boots normally. In this case, you need to make changes to the registry during normal working Windows environment and then proceed with upgrading the motherboard.
2. The operating system does not boot because you have installed a different motherboard, or because changed the SATA mode in the BIOS. In this case you will have to use an offline registry editor.
Modifying the registry before you upgrade the motherboard (Windows boots normally)
These instructions are only for those who have Windows start in normal mode because the motherboard have not yet been replaced. If you already face another charge and Windows does not boot, then follow the instructions in the next section.
So, turn on the computer normally, and then open the Windows registry editor. To do this, press + R, type regedit, press Enter.
Inside the registry, proceed (in the left pane of the window) this way:
In the right pane, double-click on the option Start and change its value to 0 (zero). Then click OK.
Now do the same in the following registry branch:
If you use RAID (otherwise skip this step), you will need to perform the same modification in this topic:
That’s all. Now your machine is ready to upgrade. Turn the computer off, install the new motherboard and attach all the necessary components. Then start the system, enter the BIOS and set the ATA mode (IDE-ATA, AHCI, or RAID), or leave the default value. Starting Windows will have to go without any problems. When the operating system has finished installing the controller driver, you can continue installing the drivers for the other devices a new motherboard.
You cannot start Windows: change the registry using the offline editor
You can use these instructions if the operating system is not loaded because you have already replaced the motherboard or changed the SATA controller mode in the BIOS.
In this case, you need to use the offline registry editor. To solve this problem, I prefer to use the recovery environment, which is accessible, e.g. using the disc to install the operating system.
To open the registry editor using an installation DVD or USB drive, follow these steps:
Boot the computer using installation disk. You might need to choose DVD/CD or USB as the first boot device in the BIOS settings. To do this:
- turn on the computer and press DEL or F1 or F2 or F10 to enter BIOS (key to enter the BIOS depends on the manufacturer of the computer);
- inside BIOS menu find Boot Order setting (this setting is usually found within the Advanced BIOS Features menu);
- in the Boot Order, select CD/DVDRW or USB (depending on what type of media contains the setup files for Windows) as the first boot device. Save the changes and restart the computer by pressing F10.
Rebooting, the computer will begin booting from the installation disk.
After loading, on the very first screen press «Next» and then select «system Restore».
If you have Windows 7, in Windows recovery options, click Next and on the next screen, start a command prompt.
If you are using Windows 8.x or Windows 10, then you need to select «Diagnostics» — > «advanced settings» — > «Command prompt».
In the command prompt, type regedit and press Enter.
In the registry editor, select the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, and in the menu «File», click «Load hive».
Open the drive where operating system is installed.
Change the directory to Windowssystem32config, select file system and click Open.
Enter the name of the section (e.g. Offline) and click OK.
Open the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE branch, you will see the created partition (in our example it is called Offline).
Expand the new section and navigate to the following subkey:
Open the parameter Start, change its value to 0 (zero), click OK.
Perform the same operation subsection:
If you use RAID (otherwise skip this step), do the same here:
Then, select the category that you created (in our example it is called Offline) and in the menu «File», click «Unload hive».
Close the registry editor, command prompt and restart the computer. Remove the installation disk to the operating system to boot in the normal mode. Now Windows should without any problems to start and then install the required drivers for the hard disk controller.