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New OS With New Motherboard?

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I'd say you got most of it exactly right. And yes, the bios upgrade (2002 box, original bios did not support hyperthread, etc.) is a huge improvement for me over what HP provided (last updated before I bought the PC from HP).

And as wierd as it sounds, XP does not seem to remember that I had the new bios temporarily.

Is there any way I could talk to MS before going for the bios upgrade again to prearrange the re-activation?