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Tip #4 - Avoid Operating System Incompatibilities

By Robert B.

This is one thing I didn't know about before building my first computer, but I wish I had!

Here's the scenario: You have an older computer that you've been using for a while and one day you decide that it's time for some upgrades. Maybe you've received your tax return check, a bonus at work, etc.

You realize that if you want a powerful PC you'll need to replace that old Pentium II processor with something more modern and with room to grow. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to purchase a motherboard & processor bundle because this ascertains that your processor is compatible with your motherboard.

Finally, what seems like a month of waiting (but was really only 3 days) you receive your parts in the mail. As you rip open the package, you feel like a child on Christmas! Later that weekend you swap out your motherboard and processor with your new ones!

Everything seems to be installed correctly, so you power-up your machine and the Windows operating system starts to load. But then something unexpected happens. The screen doesn't change at all. It looks like it's frozen, but the status bar is still moving or maybe you receive the "blue screen" of death.

This is the EXACT problem I ran into when I built my first computer. After researching this topic I discovered that the hardware changes of adding a new motherboard and processor are so overwhelming that the old operating system may not work with the new hardware. The old operating system was "trained" to work under a different hardware environment, so it doesn't know what you do when you've changed the "brain" of your computer.

This issue does not occur every time you make a major hardware change to your computer, but it is a possibility. The solution to this problem is to start fresh with a new hard drive. You can then eventually add your old hard drive as a secondary hard drive and recover your data.

There are ways to update the Window software once you've installed a new motherboard. This is done through your installation CD and is a pain! I HIGHLY recommend that you start fresh when building a new computer, including a new hard drive.

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