7. Windows XP Repair Installation

If your system came with a Microsoft Windows XP installation CD, you can use this to perform a Windows Repair Installation. This tries to repair Windows by replacing the Windows system files on your hard disk with fresh copies from the CD. A Repair Installation will leave your own documents intact and, in most cases, your installed applications should also still work. If your machine came pre-installed with Windows XP and has not had XP Service Packs 1 or 2 applied, you may find that some applications need reinstalling after doing a Repair Install. If you are able to install the latest XP service pack prior to doing a Repair Install, you may may prevent this problem. Any Windows updates will need to be reapplied after running a Repair Installation.

Do not confuse a Microsoft Windows XP installation CD with the computer manufacturer's own System Restore CD(s) often supplied with laptop machines. The latter will fix your system by restoring it to exactly how it was when it left the factory - all your own files and any new software that you installed will be destroyed. If you do use the manufacturer's own System Restore CDs, they normally give you a clear screen message that that is what will happen.

If your machine did not come with a Microsoft Windows XP Installation CD, try contacting the supplier or manufacturer for one. Ultimately, you might need to buy a new Windows XP installation CD if you want to do a Repair Installation. Please note that OUCS is unable to supply Windows XP Installation CDs to individuals.

To perform a Repair Installation:

  1. If at all possible, first make a backup copy of your own files if you don't already have one. Although a Repair Install should not affect your own files, it's better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Disconnect your computer from the network.
  3. Boot (i.e. start up) the computer with the Windows XP CD in the CD drive. You may need to change the 'boot order' via the system BIOS so the CD boots before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for how to access the BIOS and change the boot order. If the system is set to boot from CDs, you may see a startup message saying Press any key to boot from CD....
  4. When you see the Windows XP Welcome To Setup screen, you will see the options below:
    This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft
       Windows XP to run on your computer:
       To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.
       To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R.
       To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.
  5. Press <Enter> to start the Windows Setup.
    Note - DO NOT press <R> to choose the option To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R
  6. Accept the License Agreement. Windows will then search for existing Windows installations.
  7. Select the XP installation you want to repair from the list (there may only be one) and press <R> to start the repair.
    If Repair is not one of the options, you should press <F3> to Quit. This usually means that the version of Windows on the CD does not match the one already installed. If you do proceed to install a fresh copy of Windows rather than repairing an existing one, you will lose access to all the applications you previously had installed (although your own files should be preserved). You will also need to supply the correct Windows licence key for the CD.
  8. Setup will copy all the necessary files to the hard drive and then reboot the system. Do NOT press a key to boot from CD when that message appears.
  9. Reapply all the Windows updates or service packs applied since the initial Windows XP installation. A Repair Installation will remove any service packs later than the ones included in the installation CD. If you are installing Windows XP Service Pack 2, you should do this from a CD rather than by online download (your local IT staff should have a CD for this). Connecting to the network (even for a few seconds) without having reinstalled Windows service packs will immediately expose you to attack. You should also install up-to-date antivirus software before connecting to the network.

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