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Seven weeks ago, my motherboard died.

It took about a month before the replacement motherboard arrived. At that point, I discovered that I needed more parts (to strip the old thermal gunk from the processor, and to replace it when I reassembled the system), which took another two weeks to arrive. There was another week of procrastination, but today I finally had the system reassembled and booted it for the first time in quite a while.

My biggest worry since then has been my data: the sole partition on that machine was a virtual drive composed of a RAID 0, implemented in the motherboard. This constrained my options when I was looking for a new motherboard, because if the new MB couldn’t see the RAID, then I would be screwed.

To my vast relief, on boot, the RAID validates just fine and Windows starts to boot. Of course, Windows doesn’t actually _finish_ booting; that’d be too convenient. It gets partway, then reboots; safe mode doesn’t fix that problem. It looks like the next step will be to reinstall Windows so it can get used to the new hardware, making sure not to format the drive.

I’ve had the experience of installing a new Windows over an old without a format before, and discovered that it’s not an entirely sanitary process. I end up with a lot of old _WINDOWS directories and so forth that I’m not allowed to delete. I’d really like to just keep my own data, deleting everything that Windows will install, so that I can reinstall to a fairly clean state.

Ideas how to do that?

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