Computers need upgrades, and upgrades involve motherboards, and motherboards have chipsets, and chipsets require drivers, which drivers are chipset dependent. And computers also fail, requiring replacing parts. Upgrading or replacing a motherboard with different chipset in Windows Xp used to be both complicated and simple at the same time, requiring the well known repair install. But then Vista and later 7 were released and the repair install was no more.
Fortunately, there is still a way to keep your Windows 7 (and probably Vista, 8, 8.1 and perhaps even the upcoming 10) after switching to a motherboard with different chipset (and driver).
- Windows installation media – preferably USB stick for the speed, but the classical DVD will work as well
- Drivers for the new chipset
- The need to know your way around a command prompt
Locate the driver package; if it’s an all-in-one package, like Intel, and you don’t know which exact INF file is responsible for your chipset/storage controller, you can use everything in the package.
Extract/process the drivers and obtain the .inf(s) and extra files; place them on an USB stick (preferably the same one you’re using for the installation media, just use a separate folder).
Boot from your installation/recovery media (either USB or DVD). Select Repair from the boot menu, cancel any check/scan (if possible) to get to the System Recovery Options menu and open a command prompt.
Locate the drive letter on which your driver folder is located (let’s assume E:) and run:
dism /image:C:\ /add-driver /Driver:E:\driver-folder\ /recurse
where C: is the letter of partition holding your Windows installation (double-check it).
Depending on the number of driver files, this may take more or less.
Reboot once it’s done and enjoy your now bootable Windows 7 installation (and continue with installing other drivers for the new motherboard).