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NGXfanatic

System upgrade and the dreaded OS/FSX reinstall

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Hi, I am thinking about upgrading my current I7 930 build to the latest I7 hardware, either SB or IB.  I tend to upgrade every 2 years, but the system I have now is about 3 and a half years old.   It performs without any major issues, and FPS are pretty good.   But I have been thinking that it may be a good idea to sell the parts on ebay while they still hold some value, and use the proceeds to help pay for all the new components a change in CPU will require, like a new Motherboard, RAM, CPU cooler, and possibly, a new GPU.   And of course, I want to replace them before they age even further, fail and become worthless :O  

 

Anyhow, I have a fear that has held me back from upgrading on my normal schedule.  I have spent a lot time and excruciating effort setting up the OS and FSX just right, and I fear that a hardware change will mean I have to start from scratch with the OS and FSX.  Until last November, I had the same OS and FSX install as I did when I first built this system in April 2010!   But I was infected with a nasty virus, and spent 3 weeks in December wiping the hard drives and installing my OS/FSX from scratch.   I did learn a lesson, and adopted a backup strategy using hard drive backups via Acronis True Image to help protect my investment in case of future calamities.   But I hate, HATE, reinstalls as I have so many addons.  Even if I could get double the framerates from a hardware change, that fear of reinstalling has always been a subconscious phobia for me.   And also, with the release of the PMDG 777 and PFPX, I'd much rather be flying than rebuilding.

 

Is it possible that by just swapping out some hardware, but keeping the hard drive contents intact, I can seamlessly transfer my existing software setup to the new build without having to reinstall the OS and FSX?   I understand that at a minimum, I will be required to install new drivers for the new MB and CPU.  And of course, reactivate the OS.   But can I really just "plug and play" if I'm only swapping out parts, or is an OS reinstall absolutely required with a major change in hardware?  

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Hi, I am thinking about upgrading my current I7 930 build to the latest I7 hardware, either SB or IB. I tend to upgrade every 2 years, but the system I have now is about 3 and a half years old. It performs without any major issues, and FPS are pretty good. But I have been thinking that it may be a good idea to sell the parts on ebay while they still hold some value, and use the proceeds to help pay for all the new components a change in CPU will require, like a new Motherboard, RAM, CPU cooler, and possibly, a new GPU. And of course, I want to replace them before they age even further, fail and become worthless :O

 

Anyhow, I have a fear that has held me back from upgrading on my normal schedule. I have spent a lot time and excruciating effort setting up the OS and FSX just right, and I fear that a hardware change will mean I have to start from scratch with the OS and FSX. Until last November, I had the same OS and FSX install as I did when I first built this system in April 2010! But I was infected with a nasty virus, and spent 3 weeks in December wiping the hard drives and installing my OS/FSX from scratch. I did learn a lesson, and adopted a backup strategy using hard drive backups via Acronis True Image to help protect my investment in case of future calamities. But I hate, HATE, reinstalls as I have so many addons. Even if I could get double the framerates from a hardware change, that fear of reinstalling has always been a subconscious phobia for me. And also, with the release of the PMDG 777 and PFPX, I'd much rather be flying than rebuilding.

 

Is it possible that by just swapping out some hardware, but keeping the hard drive contents intact, I can seamlessly transfer my existing software setup to the new build without having to reinstall the OS and FSX? I understand that at a minimum, I will be required to install new drivers for the new MB and CPU. And of course, reactivate the OS. But can I really just "plug and play" if I'm only swapping out parts, or is an OS reinstall absolutely required with a major change in hardware?

It is (or can be) possible to to move a full install to a new MOBO/CPU but you have to do your homework. As you said you will have to reactivate Windows, but you also have to read up on a few things, for example AHCI drivers. The OS will have to be set to load drivers at boot that are needed to boot with your new hardware. If you make an image backup before you start configuring things you can always put back the old mobo if things don't work out with the upgrade. It won't hurt to try, and I've done it successfully

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It's a good idea to make sure you download and save important drivers for your new system on the desktop before you migrate. Also, a wired keyboard/mouse will come in handy as you'll have to install USB drivers for your new chipset before you can use USB if I don't remember incorrectly.

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Thanks for the advice.  It makes sense that the thing to look out for is to make sure I load the new drivers before first boot.

 

I know that it is best to start anew when ever you get new hardware, but my thought is the software is the same, just the hardware is new, and as long as the OS is compliant with the new hardware in theory "plug and play" ought to work in principle.   I'll read up on AHCI, and also the Acronis manual, as I'm sure image transfers are pretty much common at least in the corporate space when IT departments migrate user's data to new hardware (but not new Operating Systems).

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Be sure to install the new MOBO and chipset drivers from the original MOBO cd, then look for any updates to those drivers from the MOBO website.

 

Other than that it is certainly worth trying the OS "transplant", I intend to do the same this Fall when I upgrade.  Far far too much of a major PITA to reinstall everything.

 

It's a fact that it is more ideal to reinstall with such new hardware but us gamers/simmers have too much tweaked and modded, Granny Shickelgroover who just plays pogo is a better candidate for the complete reinstall.

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if you have a doubt over upgrading its best to ask yourself, what do you expect to gain from the upgraded hardware.

 

The 3 main things in my eye's are..

 

1, Faster loading time

2, better fps with complex aircraft and complex scenery addons

3, better eye candy settings with your gfx card and sim.

 

Number 2 is the one that catches most people out as they can spend a load of cash on a new pc with a decent overclock only to find out they get 1 or 2 more fps when they thought they was going to get 20+ more fps.

 

Its all a percentage game with fsx and upgrading hardware, remember if the lowest fps you get is 10 fps and new hardware with a decent overclock gives you 14 fps thats a 40% increase in performance

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I'm not looking for miracles in terms of fps.   I think I have my current system tuned pretty well and unlike past upgrades, I have no real need to get faster frames.  But, the parts are about 3 1/2 years old, and if I can help defray the costs of upgrading by selling the old parts on EBAY, why not do it now when they still hold some value.  I used to do major upgrades every 2 years, but I also had suffered lots of crashes and FSX reinstalls, and crappy performance, in the past.  Now, I finally have a well tuned machine, and I'll admit it, I'm too lazy to reinstall.   I had virus attack last November and it took me 3 weeks to get everything back to normal.  Before that virus, I had not done one reinstall of the OS or FSX in 3 years, a record for me.  With the "new Renaissance" happening now in FSX, I don't want to miss it while I'm sidelined setting up a new system. 

 

Hopefully, if I can just swap out the hard drives with contents intact into a new system without any pain, I would be more amenable to doing it sooner rather than later.  But until I do more research, I'm leaning more to waiting some more, maybe until the excitement over the PMDG 777 dies down a little.

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I was thinking about doing the same , I currently have a I7-920 built in Jan 2010.

 

Thinking of going to a 4770k, if hard disk transplant would work, that will be fantastic.

 

Anyone ever done this before, able to share step by step process ?

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Some software use Hardware IDs for anti-piracy so be prepared to reinstall a few of your addons.

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I'm going through the entire reinstall process right now - in fact I'm 99% done... just a couple of addon aircraft left to install and customize. I decided against trying any shortcuts because i wanted to completely document my installation.

 

One thing I did do that may be helpful to know about: I built a whole new machine for FSX, so I had the luxury of keeping my old install available for reference - except, I needed the SSD from my old system to go into the new one. So I put an additional HD into the old machine and did a plain old copy of everything on the SSD to the HD. I removed the SSD and relabeled the HD from F: to E: (which was my original SSD drive letter). FSX and all my addons ran perfectly on the transplanted drive. Knowing this, I'll now keep a simple copy of my FSX install on my C: drive in case I lose my SSD.

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