Jun 30

About a month ago, without any warning, my desktop Windows 7 system suddenly bluescreened reporting an ‘uncorrectable hardware error’. Everything had been working fine up to that point, I was just surfing the net and not stressing the system in any way. There was absolutely no prior indication that things were about to go pear shaped. I tried rebooting but soon after boot up was complete and I was on the internet again I got the same stop error code 124. I didn’t do a screen capture of the error message but here’s a very similar shot I found:

124 stop error

I suspected a motherboard problem. Although I had installed a new hard drive with Windows 7 recently, the other hardware components in my PC were about 5 years old including the Soltek SL-75DRV4 Socket A motherboard.

Unfortunately, I’m not a repair tech so I took it to a good mate who is. He diagnosed a problem with the voltage controller on the motherboard but because of the age of the motherboard, I needed a motherboard/processor/RAM replacement. But when he replaced the motherboard and tried to boot the hard drive with Windows 7 installed he got a blue screen hardware error. He couldn’t do a Windows repair to set up the hard drive with the replacement motherboard. He phoned Microsoft but they said a Windows 7 repair couldn’t be done – you have to reinstall Windows 7. A Windows repair for a new motherboard used to be no problem with Windows XP.

I had the Windows 7 retail disk and the product key but I didn’t want to have to reinstall Windows 7 on the hard drive as I had just got it configured and running as I wanted it. That seemed like a real backward step.

Eventually he managed to sort this problem without a Windows 7 reinstall. He plugged my hard drive in as a slave in another PC, booted up and deleted the motherboard drivers on the slave drive. When the hard drive was plugged back into my PC with the new motherboard, it found and installed the drivers it needed. I just had to go through Windows activation using the automated phone system and everything went fine. One month on now and so far no problems.

Just though I’d post this as a salutary tale. You never know when disaster will strike and it can be completely without warning. Data backups are obviously  important but in this case I was down for a couple of weeks while the problem was diagnosed, parts ordered and installed and the machine set up again.

If you use your PC or laptop as a vital part of a small business and it’s the only machine you have, you’d be well advised to have a backup machine ready to take over in the event of a hardware failure like this.

Setting up a Windows 7 hard drive without a Windows reinstall after a hardware failure is a post from Tech and Life. If you’re reading it in full elsewhere, it’s been copied without consent. Please go to Tech and Life to read the original post and many others in the archive.

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