XP repair install on H110 or H170


Firstly many thanks for the information provided in this forum, it is a very valuable resource.

I hope I’ve placed this in the correct place, but I have been trying for a couple of weeks to upgrade the motherboard in a reasonably aged piece of electronic test equipment. Despite the age (about ten or twelve years), these units typically still fetch ~$3k+ on eBay, so they still have value despite being elderly in terms of motherboard hardware. The best the current board can manage is a 1GHz Pentium 3 with 512MB RAM. It’s also a PATA only micro ATX board. I have already upgraded the PATA HDD to an SSD, giving some improvement, but it’s still slow as you can imagine.

The prescribed route to fixing these units is to buy a replacement motherboard of the same type, so naturally that’s not a favoured route, I’m looking to improve performance.

The board selections I have that will fit the case (there’s no I/O shield, just cut outs in the aluminium chassis) are H110 and H170. I can perform new installs of XP by slipstreaming in the drivers here. However, there are drivers on the original build that I don’t have the source media for, so I’m looking to do an XP repair install. When I do the repair install on the new board, with the same media that I used to do a successful fresh install, the drivers don’t take.

I have been successful with an X99 repair install using the same method, but the board will take too much power from the unit’s power supply.

If I attempt to introduce the drivers with Acronis Universal Restore instead of a slipstreamed install, the drivers, although made available with matching vendor and dev IDs, are showing up as not matching (this is all 32 bit).

So, is there a different approach I should be taking with a repair install? Or am I out of luck?

Many thanks for reading.

@nezbrun :
Welcome at Win-RAID Forum!

The drivers should match the HardwareIDs of the related devices, but should support the desired OS as well.
It may take a long time, but the best way to get an old OS like XP installed onto a modern computer is to do a clean install of the untouched Windows XP (provided, that the system drive is connected to any SATA port running in IDE mode) and to install the missing drivers after having completed the OS installation.

Dieter (alias Fernando)

Thanks for your reply. Yes, a fresh install works as far as getting the OS going, the problem is that many of the .inf files for the hardware drivers (three custom PCI [not PCIe] cards) are missing: I could find .pnf files for the .sys files on the working system, but not all the .infs. add to that that there is some software protection going on too, so a clean install is almost certainly off the cards.

Of course, as soon as I asked for pointers online after two weeks of little progress, somehow I managed to get your AHCI drivers installed using Acronis Universal Restore against an existing working OS. I have no clue why it wouldn’t work before, although it’s probably operator error.

I also managed to find recover all the proprietary .infs inside a vendor supplied Ghost image on the recovery partition, I don’t know why they are missing in the OS partition, or change to install-incompatible .pnfs.

I tried a few processors, a Celeron G3900 (2.8GHz 2C2T), Pentium G4500T (3GHz 2C2T) and an i3-6320 (3.9GHz 2C4T). The difference in startup time is startling compared to the old Pentium 3 @ 1GHz, down from a couple of minutes to 20s. I believe this could be improved further if I can get it to run in Windows 7, and get all the motherboard drivers properly working, but it’ll almost certainly need to be a couple of in-place upgrades (W7 via Vista) as I’ve had no luck getting the app working with clean installs. The unit is pretty much designed to run one single-threaded application, so any benefit of multiple cores and hyperthreading is somewhat lost.

Anyway, thanks again for your help, I definitely wouldn’t have got this far without this forum.