[SOLVED] Reinstalling Windows 7 after motherboard failure - if there is a straightforward answer, I can't find it... :-(

May 13, 2021
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Scenario:

Around 2015 (?) I bought a refurbished Dell Latitude E5430 laptop with Windows 7 preinstalled.

It's worked great, and I'd like to keep using it for some particular projects for another few months before "retiring" it for good.

Since Win7 went EOS, I've detached it from the internet and turned off the wireless, just so you know.

Recently, the motherboard failed. Of course I couldn't boot when this happened. I couldn't really do much of anything.

I was able to confirm that my HDD is readable and intact.

I successfully replaced the motherboard, but I still cannot successfully boot into Windows. The error now is different, of course.

Some investigation has convinced me that I need to reinstall Windows because the Windows on the HDD is "tied" to the old (broken) motherboard and not to the new one now installed.

After a lot of researching, the solution seems to be to reinstall Windows 7.

Since there is nothing actually "wrong" with my Windows 7 or my data, I hope to do this without any impact to my personal data.

If I had to save anything first, I'm not sure how I even could since I cannot boot. (I know I could remove the drive, put it into an enclosure, and manually save the files using a different computer, but I'd rather not do that except as a last resort.)

I seem to have some limitations, mostly self-imposed I guess.

1. I don't have any install disk.

2. I never ran any system backups. (Most of what I needed to save (personal data), I saved manually onto separate media.)

3. I am not aware of any "partitions" on my HDD where any recovery info or backups or emergency-anything exists.

4. I don't have a valid Windows Product key. Actually, I should rephrase: I have a valid key I'm sure, but since the machine is a refurb, I do not know what it is and I can't remember a time when it mattered.

How can I fix this situation without impact to my existing data?

Most of the solutions that seem to fit anywhere close to my situation seem to require either a somewhat normally-functioning laptop already, a prior set of actions which I did not take and cannot do so now, or a heck of a lot of PC savvy and expertise which I lack.

What I need is some way of telling the Old Win7 and the new motherboard, "it's okay, go ahead and talk to each other. Pretend nothing happened. You guys are old friends, go ahead and play....."

Any suggestions? Much appreciate anyone's help with this.... thanks!
 
e) A blue error screen flashes for about a tenth of a second. To see it I have to take a video with my smartphone and then play it back in slow motion and then freeze it.
A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.
*** STOP: 0x0000007B (0xFFFFF880009A97E8, 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000)
This error is because of
SATA controller mode in BIOS incompatible with windows settings.

Possible sata controllers settings - AHCI, IDE, RAID. You have to restore this setting to values were before motherboard change.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
1. I don't have any install disk.
this is a problem as the only way to recreate the win 7 installer requires number 4.
4. I don't have a valid Windows Product key. Actually, I should rephrase: I have a valid key I'm sure, but since the machine is a refurb, I do not know what it is and I can't remember a time when it mattered.
to not have that answer.

What I need is some way of telling the Old Win7 and the new motherboard, "it's okay, go ahead and talk to each other. Pretend nothing happened. You guys are old friends, go ahead and play....."
is new motherboard exactly the same as the old one? if not, then its going to have problems.

if you have another PC, you could make a Ubuntu live USB which you can boot off, and use it to help rescue files off the hdd - https://itsfoss.com/create-live-usb-of-ubuntu-in-windows/

you might need to upgrade to win 10 as then it won't really matter if you have a key or not, you can run it without a licence. You likely need to clean install anyway.
 
I successfully replaced the motherboard, but I still cannot successfully boot into Windows. The error now is different, of course.
Laptops usually do not accept any different model motherboards. Replacement should be identical to old motherboard.
So only difference between old and new could be BIOS settings, BIOS version and board identification.

Please post photo of error, you're getting. Most likely just some BIOS settings need to be corrected for it to work again.
(upload to imgur.com and post link)

  1. I don't have any install disk.
  2. I never ran any system backups. (Most of what I needed to save (personal data), I saved manually onto separate media.)
  3. I am not aware of any "partitions" on my HDD where any recovery info or backups or emergency-anything exists.
  4. I don't have a valid Windows Product key. Actually, I should rephrase: I have a valid key I'm sure, but since the machine is a refurb, I do not know what it is and I can't remember a time when it mattered.
If you don't have install disk, then get one.
If you can't get windows 7 install disk, then get windows 10 install disk.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
Old windows license key is tied to old motherboard. So you probably can't use it on new motherboard.
 
May 13, 2021
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Thank you for the replies so far.

I will work on getting those error messages posted. If it could be solved by tweaking some BIOS settings, that would be fantastic. (I'm not that optimistic at the moment, but I'm open to being wrong!)

Also, as far as the motherboards being identical, I guess it depends on what you mean. I ordered a motherboard online that is for the make and model of laptop I have. When it arrived, it had the exact form factor of the old one. I carefully took the old one out and put the new one in, following the instructions in the operating manual for the laptop. So I'm pretty sure they are identical. But there appears to be some sort of exclusive logical connection between the motherboard and the instance of Win7 running on it, which I knew nothing about until after I did all this and then researched why it still wouldn't boot. So in regards to this aspect, the new motherboard is apparently not truly "identical."

Let me also clarify a few points.

- My HDD is intact and readable. If my only goal was to retrieve and save off individual files or folders from it, I can already do that. In fact, I already did. I removed the HDD from the laptop, inserted it into a USB enclosure, and connected it to another computer as an external drive. I found my individual files as best I could, and copied them to the working computer or a separate USB memory stick. And that's good, but that's not what I really want.

- What I really would like to accomplish is to get my Win7 environment back up just as it was before. I know now that the only faulty component was the motherboard, so I've replaced it. I want to turn on my laptop and have it working just as it did before the motherboard failed. It's really as simple as that, as far as my objective.

To me, this is like a catastrophic engine failure on a car. If that happens, and you replace the engine with an identical, working engine, you expect the car to work again as before. You DON'T expect the car not to run and then find out that the transmission, which has nothing wrong with it, does not "recognize" the new engine and therefore won't operate.

Maybe this is a naive analogy, but I would hope that if this IS the case there should be a fairly simple fix, which does NOT require you to permanently lose everything you had in the glove box, the center console, and the trunk, at the time of the engine failure.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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a fairly simple fix, which does NOT require you to permanently lose everything you had in the glove box, the center console, and the trunk, at the time of the engine failure.
That's called having a backup of any personal data you do not wish to lose.

Docs, username/passwords, install files of things you've bought or installed, etc, etc.

Things happen. This is little different than the actual hard drive dying, or you get spanked by a nasty virus or malware.

A second, or third, copy of your data elsewhere is protection against this.

A backup for your data is somewhat akin to car insurance. Just one of those things that needs to be done and worked into the budget.
 
May 13, 2021
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USAFRet, thanks, I understand the importance (and value) of backing up one's data. And you are right, this is a somewhat different situation. Maybe my real question is different than I think it is. (Or maybe it's a sub-question.) I will ask it now.

I have never once in my life installed Windows onto anything, ever. I have never suffered a catastrophe which required a Windows re-install, I have never bought a machine that didn't already have it pre-installed, and I have never upgraded from one Windows version to another on any particular machine. With that in mind, here is a new question: Anytime you have programs, apps, data, files, or anything else on a computer on which you install or reinstall Windows, does the install necessarily wipe it all, or can Windows be installed while preserving that personal data? I realize this point is central to my entire issue, and I honestly do not know the answer to this question.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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USAFRet, thanks, I understand the importance (and value) of backing up one's data. And you are right, this is a somewhat different situation. Maybe my real question is different than I think it is. (Or maybe it's a sub-question.) I will ask it now.

I have never once in my life installed Windows onto anything, ever. I have never suffered a catastrophe which required a Windows re-install, I have never bought a machine that didn't already have it pre-installed, and I have never upgraded from one Windows version to another on any particular machine. With that in mind, here is a new question: Anytime you have programs, apps, data, files, or anything else on a computer on which you install or reinstall Windows, does the install necessarily wipe it all, or can Windows be installed while preserving that personal data? I realize this point is central to my entire issue, and I honestly do not know the answer to this question.
Programs and apps WILL need to be reinstalled after a new OS install.

When an application is installed, it makes dozens, sometimes thousands of entries in the Registry and elsewhere. The NEW OS knows nothing about these.
And no, you can't apply the old registry into a new OS install. It WILL break.

Your personal files?
What would you do right now if that physical drive died?
Just because it has never happened to you, yet..it will.

A couple of years ago, one of my solid state drive died. Absolutely suddenly.
960GB Sandisk. 605GB data on it, a lot irreplaceable family photos.
I had powered the system off, came back 10 minutes later, power up....'hey, where's the G drive?'
Gone gone gone. No idea why.

Slot in a new drive, click click...wait an hour...all 605GB data on it recovered, exactly as it was at 4AM that morning when it ran the nightly backup.

Drives die. Eventually, all of them.


An OS reinstall and "keep personal data" ? Sure, that exists in Windows. And it works, mostly.
Would I trust that implicitly? Not a chance. Not just because Windows might screw up...but the human might screw up.
'oops, I clicked the wrong thing'.
'oops, the power went out partway through.'
'oops, I selected the wrong drive'
We see that here every single day.


Ransomware is another gotcha.
"My friend sent me this and now ALL my files are locked. They want $600 in bitcoin!"
Easy solution - Recover from the backup made previously, and laugh at their demand.


Operating a PC without a backup is like driving a car with no car insurance.
Free software, drive space is cheap...there is no reason not to.
 
May 13, 2021
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OK, once again, I am WELL AWARE of the importance of backing up data and I am WELL AWARE of the large variety of sudden and unfortunate circumstances which would render those backups necessary. The message is received loud and clear, thank you.

What is NOT clear are the answers to my questions, and now I have a tiny bit more information.

1. I have located the Product key for the machine, as it was originally sold (as a refurbished machine). So, if it helps me at all in this particular predicament, I HAVE my Windows Product Key.

2. In response to what error am I now getting, here is what happens when I try to start the computer.

a) Dell Logo

b) Choose an operating system to start (Windows 7 highlighted and is chosen automatically after several seconds)

c) Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
[two options at this point:
. Launch Startup Repair (recommended)
. Start Windows normally
--> If I choose Startup Repair, no problem is found or fixed, so this option isn't fruitful.]
(I choose Start Windows Normally.)

d) Starting Windows...

e) A blue error screen flashes for about a tenth of a second. To see it I have to take a video with my smartphone and then play it back in slow motion and then freeze it.
Highlights from that error screen:
A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.
...
Check for viruses on your computer...Check your hard drive to make sure it is properly configured and terminated...
...
Technical information:
*** STOP: 0x0000007B (0xFFFFF880009A97E8, 0x0000000000000000, 0
x0000000000000000)

f) DELL logo and cycle repeats indefinitely until I press and hold power button to shut system down.

UPDATED SUMMARY OF CURRENT SITUATION AND MY QUESTION:

I had a perfectly running Dell Latitude Pavilion E5430 laptop running Windows 7. The motherboard failed, and I replaced it. All other components are working normally, including the HDD. After replacing the motherboard, I cannot boot due the error described just above.

How can I get my system running like before, without impacting my personal data or installed apps? I have no install disk, but I do know my original Windows product key.

If this can be fixed with changes to the BIOS, what are those changes?

If this requires a reinstall of Win7, how do I do that while preserving my existing apps and data?

Thank you in advance for everyone's assistance.
 
e) A blue error screen flashes for about a tenth of a second. To see it I have to take a video with my smartphone and then play it back in slow motion and then freeze it.
A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.
*** STOP: 0x0000007B (0xFFFFF880009A97E8, 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000)
This error is because of
SATA controller mode in BIOS incompatible with windows settings.

Possible sata controllers settings - AHCI, IDE, RAID. You have to restore this setting to values were before motherboard change.
 
May 13, 2021
11
0
10
0
This error is because of
SATA controller mode in BIOS incompatible with windows settings.

Possible sata controllers settings - AHCI, IDE, RAID. You have to restore this setting to values were before motherboard change.
So for SATA controller settings I see four options:
Disabled
ATA (which I assume is equivalent to IDE)
AHCI
RAID

AHCI is checked. By your reasoning the setting must have been one of the other three before the old motherboard failed. So I first changed it to ATA, since I figured that was the most likely.

The same problem occurred (at least it looks like the same). It took me to Startup Repair, where it grinded away for awhile before saying it was done and to hit Finish to try again. I did, and it still failed yet again and now it's doing another Startup Repair cycle. If that doesn't work I'll try it again with Disabled, and then (if necessary), RAID.

I'll let you know how it works out. Thanks!
 
May 13, 2021
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Disabled setting means - sata controller is disabled and sata ports unusable.
This will disable all your sata devices.
Right you are! I just found that out.

But guess what? RAID.......w o r k e d !!!!!

F2 on startup to change settings.

SATA controller changed to RAID.

Apply changes, --> restart.

Windows boots!

It then does a bunch of driver installs automatically, then prompts another restart.

Now, at 4:06 AM, and after weeks and weeks of stewing over this.....

I'M BACK BABY!!

Thank you SkyNetRising, and everyone else who helped.

This is a great day, or night, or whatever it is.

Windows up, all data is there, like nothing ever happened. Just what I was hoping for........

Whoopeeeeeee!!!!! (Inappropriate shrieks of joy mixed with sleep deprivation.)

How will I sleep now?
 

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