I would like to install the motherboard and be able to use my existing HDD setup without doing a clean install.
Is there anything I should do in prepartion to make this work properly?
If you do find a way, make sure you patent it because you will have struck the secret formula!
When I worked as a computer technician years ago we'd always have different drive images one for each different PC/assembly 'type' and a different chipset motherboard would definitely mean we'd make a new image to do it 'properly'. Although using the original installation may work after Plug and Play had done it's thing with the new hardware to juggle things around, there was no guarantee and then if you do get problems down the track, it makes it harder to get to the bottom of things. If you really wanted to try it, I'd remove all peripherals and cards from the original machine before booting that (so the hard drive has a 'minimal' configuration to start with) and I'd also make sure any valuable data was backed up to external media before starting.
Good luck - you may need it!
Don't forget, years ago you'd be talking about Win9x or XP. Win7 does a great job with this in the modern era. I even recently saw it work with someone moving from a well-worn AMD system to a Sandy Bridge one. Not everyone can afford to spend many, many hours/days redoing everything from scratch, or they may want to time doing that with a new release of Windows, which would be this fall.
The disk controller driver is one thing I'd look at in advance, particularly if it's going to transition from one brand to another, which it wouldn't be in his case. In the AMD case above, for example, he had an AMD driver. If Win7 didn't convert that properly, it could have been a Stop 7b situation, but he switched the driver over to the standard Microsoft one beforehand. The same thing goes for video if you're switching cards, which he isn't: uninstall the old vendor's driver first.
Don't forget, years ago you'd be talking about Win9x or XP. Win7 does a great job with this in the modern era.
You're right about my time as a tech being with those OSs and although I've performed many recent OS installations, I've not tried doing a motherboard change with Win 7 so your input is usefull! I think it depends on a number of factors such as, how much there is to install and configure, whether all the installation media is still to hand and how similar the old and new boards were as to whether a 'from scratch' install is going to be worth it.
Its worth a try at least.
Yes you've little to loose by trying (apart from the possible frustration/complications associated with unreliable operation down the line if it does boot). For the best chance of it 'working properly' (what you asked for), unless you're replacing motherboards with like for like, you should always perform a fresh installation and start from scratch.