My motherboard went down and I am in the process of installing a new one.
I read somewhere that I may need to reformat my hard drive and install a fresh Win XP. Is that true? Or can I add the new Motherboard and processor and just re-resister the new hardware?
The harddrive has nothing to due with your mobo and cpu except for the drivers. Just install the drivers after everything set up and install the ones for the mobo/cpu.
That's right. Because the hardware ID changes when you install the a motherboard, you necessarily have to reinstall (or at least reactivate) Windows XP.
I upgraded my mobo+cpu from a Pentium III / Intel i810 to an Athlon 64 3000+ / MSI RS480M2. Had to reinstall because Windows wouldn't boot.
I dont know about your system, but when I upgraded my ram I did my motherboard at the same time and was able to just plug them in and run them. It ran all sluggish and I didnt like it so I went ahead and reformatted anyways, but it worked nontheless.
Yes you do have to install a fresh copy of Windows XP. Windows uses a way of checking to see if this version of the operating system is legal on that computer. For example:
On the Dell OEM Cd for Windows XP there are a couple of Dell OEM Files. Those files check to see if its a Dell motherboard. If it is, it activates Windows, if its not it install on trail mode.
Not all computers all like this though.
Upgrading RAM will not affect the system. However if you changed your motherboard, then in most cases you'll need to reinstall for an XP system. I've tried preinstalling XP on a new HDD and transferring it to another system but it will not run. No problem with Win98 though.
It's always better to reinstall even if the system does run since the drivers in the HDD won't match the new motherboard and things are going to act weird. Your old motherboard may be on a VIA chipset but your new one runs on INTEL.... you'll be facing quite a bit of problem. You still have VGA drivers, Audio drivers, Network drivers etc.... reinstall is the best option for a sound system.