How to replace Motherboard without Reinstalling Windows

This article is for users that want to replace Motherboard on their computers without reinstalling the Windows Operating System and keep all programs, files & settings untouched.

Consider the following scenarios:

1. You want to upgrade your main computer parts (mainboard, CPU, RAM, etc.) but you want to keep your current Windows installation, in order to keep your program settings & files untouched and not reinstall them from the beginning. 

2. You want to to change the SATA hard disk controller mode from IDE  to AHCI or RAID (or vice versa) in BIOS in order to succeed better performance or compatibility.

If you come in one of the above scenarios, then you will may realize that Windows cannot boot and crash with a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) error "STOP 0x0000007B INACCESSABLE_BOOT_DEVICE". This is happen because Windows cannot find the correct drivers for the SATA hard disk controllers. To bypass this problem and to avoid to reinstall Windows, you must "tell" Windows using the Windows Registry, to use the Standard SATA Hard Disk Controller driver during startup. To accomplish this, just follow the steps below to make the appropriate modifications in Windows Registry and then Windows will boot up normally to Windows. After boot, they will install the necessary hard disk controller drivers according to BIOS hard disk SATA controller's mode settings  e.g. IDE Compatible mode (aka Legacy or ATA Compatible) or AHCI or RAID mode.


How to tell Windows to use the Standard SATA hard disk controller driver via Windows Registry.

Before continue please read and then follow the instructions mentioned in one of the following scenarios, according your situation:

Scenario 1: You haven't replace the motherboard yet (in order to upgrade your computer) and your computer starts (boot) normally to Windows. In this case you have to modify the registry from the current working Windows environment before proceeding to computer upgrade.

Scenario 2: Windows fails to boot because:

  1. You have already replace the motherboard, OR  because
  2. You have modify the SATA mode setting from BIOS.

In this case you have to use an Offline Registry Editor to modify registry settings.


Scenario 1: Modify Registry before you replace (upgrade) the mainboard on your computer (Windows starts normally).

– Use these instructions only if you haven't replace your motherboard yet and Windows starts normally . If you have already replace the motherboard and/or Windows cannot boot, then follow the instructions in Scenario 2. –


1. Boot Windows normally and then open Windows Registry Editor. To do that:

  1. Press “WindowsImage-201_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb1_t  + “R” keys to load the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” and press Enter.




IMPORTANT: Before you continue to modify the registry, first take a registry backup. To do that:

a. From main menu go to File & select Export.
b. Specify a destination location (e.g. your Desktop), give a filename (e.g. “RegistryBackup”) and press Save.


2. Inside Windows Registry, navigate (from the left pane) to this key:




3. At the right pane double click at 'Start' DWORD value and change its value data to 0 (zero). Click OK when finish.



4. Now perform the same modification to this key:





5. If you use RAID  (otherwise ignore this step) then you have to perform the same modification to this key:


6. Close Registry editor.

That's it! Now you 're ready to continue with your computer upgrade. When done, enter you BIOS settings and specify the SATA mode (IDE-ATA, AHCI or RAID) according your needs or leave the default setting. Exit BIOS settings and start Windows. Windows should start without problems. and install the required hard disk controller drivers. When Windows finishes the driver installation, continue to install the rest device drivers for your new motherboard..

Scenario 2: Windows fails to boot: Modify registry using an OFFLINE registry Editor.

— Use these instructions only if Windows fails to boot because you have already replace your motherboard or because you have changed the SATA controller mode in BIOS. —

In this scenario you have to use an offline Registry editor to modify the Windows Registry. For this task, I prefer to use the Windows Recovery Environment found on Windows 7 or Windows Vista installation DVD. To open Registry Editor from the Windows Installation DVD follow the process below:

1. Place the Windows Installation DVD on your CD/DVD drive and boot your computer from the Windows installation DVD.

Notice:  In order to boot from the DVD, you must set the CD/DVD device as the first boot device in BIOS settings. To do that:

  1. Power On your computer and press "DEL" or "F1" or "F2" or "F10" to enter BIOS (CMOS) setup utility.
    (The way to enter into BIOS Settings depends on the computer manufacturer).
  2. Inside BIOS menu, find the "Boot Order" setting.
    (This setting is commonly found inside "Advanced BIOS Features" menu).
  3. At “Boot Order” setting, set the CD/DVDRW device as the first boot device.
  4. Save and exit from BIOS settings.

2.  At the first screen press Next.



3. At the next screen, select "Repair your computer".



4. At System Recovery Options (1st screen) click Next.



5. At Choose a recovery tool screen, choose Command Prompt.



6. At command window type "regedit" (without quotes) & press Enter.




In Registry Editor:

7. Highlight the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.



8. From File menu select Load Hive (to load the offline registry).



9. Navigate to the disk where Windows installed on (e.g. "C:").

10. Open the system file found in "%Windir%\system32\config\" directory. (e.g. "C:\Windows\system32\config\system")



11. Type a Key Name for the offline registry (e.g. "Offline") and press OK.




12. Double-click to expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key and you should a new key under it, named with the name you typed before (e.g. 'Offline" in this example).



13. Expand this new key & navigate (from the left pane) to this subkey:





14. At the right pane double click at Start (DWORD) and change its value data to 0 (zero). Click OK when finish.


15. Perform the same modification to this subkey:





16. If you use RAID (otherwise ignore this step) you have to perform the same modification to this key:



17. When you finish with the modifications, highlight the key you created before (e.g. "Offline") and from the File menu choose Unload Hive to write back the changes you made to the offline Registry.


18. Close the Registry editor, the Command prompt window and Restart your computer.

19. Enter BIOS settings  and specify the SATA mode (IDE-ATA, AHCI or RAID) according your needs or leave the default settings.

20. Exit BIOS settings, remove the Windows Installation DVD from the CD/DVD drive and let Windows to start normally.

Windows should start without problems and then will install the required hard disk controller drivers.

That's it!

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