I needed to add some storage space to my server so I swapped motherboards. Worked flawlessly without requiring a reinstall. Had to reactivate, but that's no biggy. I must have tried 7 or 8 motherboard swaps in Vista and it NEVER worked. I always had to wipe and reinstall.
Yet another thing to love about Win7
I never had the misfortune to try and install Vista but my Win 7 install was the smoothest OS install I ever experienced this side of OS X. I'm surprised you had an issue with Vista when doing a motherboard swap as I have always been able to do it in Win XP and 2K with no problems. The OS would just keep finding new hardware and prompt me for drivers. OTOH, I generally prefer to perform a fresh install with a new mobo just to start off with a clean slate. In fact, I like to do a complete reinstall every couple of years just to clear out all the crap I've accumulated, which can be quite considerable.
What motherboard chipset? It was always the driver for storage that caused the major problems. When going from an Nvidia board to a similar Nvidia board, it always worked for me under Windows XP.
I created a library named recorded TV on all my pcs and then pointed them to a homegroup share with read\write rights on the HTPC\Server's recorded TV folder.
The only issue I have is on my ION system. Occasionally the latest recordings don't refresh and then the WAF drops as she panics thinking the Biggest Loser didn't get recorded.