Dell MB died, want to replace Motherboard not OS RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm working on fixing a PC for someone. Their Dell MB died and I was going to replace it with another brand. I know that Windows will want to be reactivated.

    I read in


    If the replacement motherboard you select is not compatible with the OEM media, then in order to continue to install and use your OEM license on that new motherboard, you will have to acquire generic media to install Windows, but you will still be able to use the Product Key that came with your OEM license to activate the license, except you will have to use the telephonic activation process rather than the automated online process.

    But in a post in this section another MS member said:

     A Dell OEM Windows XP CD and Product Key are only valid when installed on a Dell PC having a Dell motherboard. Since you stated you changed the motherboard to a non-Dell motherboard, the original Dell license is no longer valid.  You'll need to go out and purchase a conventional, genuine, "Full Version" of Windows XP in order to install and activate it on your PC.


    I want to replace the Motherboard  and leave everything else intact. OS, hardware, everything. 1st which answer given was right? I am not upgrading for performance, he just wants his PC to work, which is fine with the 1st answer but not the second. Can I just install everything and use the phone activation method? I tried calling the number to make sure before I do anything but all I got was the machine. I don't want to reinstall windows at all, just reactivate it.
    Tuesday, December 22, 2009 11:27 PM


  • Hello skrilla316,

    For many reasons, your first choice in a set of circumstances such as you describe should be to acquire the manufacturer's exact replacement motherboard.  For one thing, you can be assured that there will be no need to do a repair reinstallation.  For another, since the replacement will have the manufacturer's special BIOS data embedded in the BIOS, you can assure the customer that their manufacturer supplied recovery/reinstallation/restore discs will continue to work flawlessly.

    When replacing a defective motherboard with a more-or-less equivalent motherboard but not the manufacturer's exact approved replacement, it is my experience that a telephonic activation is almost always successful on the first try.

    But your question revolves around the technical aspects of motherboard replacement rather than the nuances of which method maintains compliance with the EULA.  So, in order to minimize the impact of a motherboard change, you should select a replacement that is as close as possible to the original motherboard, specifically one that has onboard video of the same brand and model as the original had it; one that has onboard sound of the same brand and model as the original had it; one that has an onboard network chipset of the same brand and model as the original had it; and most importantly, the same brand and model of mass storage controller as the original motherboard.
    For great advice on all topics XP, visit http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp
    • Proposed as answer by Darin Smith MS Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:40 PM
    • Marked as answer by Darin Smith MS Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:41 PM
    Wednesday, December 23, 2009 5:04 AM