1. Introduction

A companion web page to this one (http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/helpcentre/troubleshooting/winxp/ gives advice on procedures for fixing start-up problems with Windows XP systems. If none of the remedies suggested there is successful and you need completely to erase and reinstall your Windows system, then this document describes a procedure for taking back-up copies of your own files from the non-working system. Once the Windows system has been reinstalled, the backed-up files can be restored back onto the machine. Note that the machine's hardware must be functioning normally to use this procedure.

Note that if the problem Windows system is still useable, you could skip to the section What to Back Up and perform the backup from within Windows. Alternatively, you could use a standard Windows XP utility called the [Files and Settings Transfer Wizard] accessible from the [Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools] which can much simplify the task and of backing up your files and settings to an external medium and then restoring them to a fresh system.

The pre-requisites you need to have in order to use this guide are as follows:

  • A CD-reading drive on the non-booting PC
  • A suitable backup storage device, either internally fitted in the machine, or externally connected via USB etc.), e.g.
    • CD writing drive
    • DVD writing drive
    • USB flash pen drive
    • Additional hard disk drive
    • Zip disk drive
    • floppy disk drive (if only VERY small amounts of data are involved)
  • A (Knoppix CD - see below. (Note that an Ubuntu "Live" CD can also be used if Knoppix is not available - the section below for notes relating to the use of Knoppix).

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