Reinstalling windows xp new motherboard
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Very good how-to that covers most conceivable cases, including missing boot.ini or ntldr.

Read it here.

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1. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see the options below
2. This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft
Windows XP to run on your computer:

To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

This is the option you want to enable to proceed to the Repair Install.
3. To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
To setup Windows XP now and Repair Install , press ENTER.For the Repair Install do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R", (you Do Not want to load Recovery Console). I repeat, do not choose "To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R".
To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.
4. Press Enter to start the Windows Setup.
5. Accept the License Agreement and Windows will search for existing Windows installations.
6. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list and press R to start the repair. If Repair is not one of the options, read this Warning!!
7. Setup will copy the necessary files to the hard drive and reboot. Do not press any key to boot from CD when the message appears. Setup will continue as if it were doing a clean install, but your applications and settings will remain intact.

Critical: if you follow this advice, and do NOT see the option to reinstall after you hit F8, accept EULA, read this missing boot information on the same site.

In my case, I had changed the boot long ago to use another boot loader, and had forgotten, but had renamed boot.ini to boot-bu.ini, which made windows think that there was no windows to restore.

Booted up a livecd, linux, mounted the ntfs windows partition, copied over the boot-bu.ini to boot.ini, then reran the windows install cd and it then correctly offered the option to restore a windows.

Or, if you have the luxury of prepping windows before you replace the hardware, you can always use this method

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To begin with, we need to move the system to a more generic set of platform drivers. The first place to start is in the XP control panel Add and Remove Programs, or on Vista, Programs and Features, where we'll remove the relevant motherboard drivers. For example, those on nForce-based boards will be removing "NVIDIA Drivers", those on ATI, can use ATI's handy "ATI Software Uninstaller" (which will also try to get rid of anything else with a name starting with 'ATI', including third party utilities), while Intel and VIA users get their own platform software entries, assuming the vendor software is installed of course.

Once that reboot is out of the way (oh, you'll be doing a fair amount of rebooting) launch Device Manager (devmgmt.msc), and replace your onboard storage controller with "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller," or similar, as shown in Figure 1 below. If it is not listed with the Show compatible hardware checkbox filled, your system may not survive this process unless the new motherboard is from the same chipset vendor.

and so on, you get the idea. Not a bad thing to try out one of these days.
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