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Reinstallation of broken Windows XP from the Windows Installation disk


See also

Recommended Books Recommended Links Recovery Norton Ghost Alternatives to Norton Ghost

Windows XP Slow Startup and Shutdown

A very useful Microsoft article about reinstallation is How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP.

The most typical situation that requires reinstallation is when Safe Mode with Command Prompt does not help (for example the computer is infected with malware).   If it helps use recommendations from  Dell - Support

There two ways to repair Windows XP.

  1. Repair existing installation. This is the most common mode, but sometimes, if case the computer infected by malware Windows it may not succeed.  Windows installer is a very powerful anti-malware program and such cases are pretty rare, so you can try this first.
  2. Try to install second instance of Windows XP on the same partition as first (C:).  In this case there is no chance that files from previous installation will interfere with the current.
  3. Use the second partition (if you have one; and believe me this was a very wise decision :-) and install the second version of Windows on the second partition having a dial boot configuration.  If  you use large C drive (let's 160G or more) which is almost empty,  your NTFS partition does not contain errors and is not fragmented you can create a second partition using linux installation disk, for example Suse installation disk.

How to repair existing installation

Windows installer is a pretty flexible program and it looks like Microsoft put a lot of effort to cover typical reinstallation problems. General procedure for reinstalling Windows XP is as follows

  1. Insert the Operating System CD into the CD or DVD drive.
  2. Turn off the computer, and then turn the computer on again. Get to boot menu. for example on Dell computer press F12 a couple of times.
  3. When boot menu  appears,  select cd/dvd drive and quickly press space key (or any other key)


    • Some Dell computers allow you to boot to the CD by pressing  <Ctrl><Alt><F8> while the computer is booting.
    • If your computer does not have a key to invoke boot menu, enter system setup and make sure that the boot sequence is set to boot first from the CD device. Restart your computer.
  4. When the Windows XP Setup screen with three options appears, press <Enter> to select To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER" device when the Boot Device Options menu appears.
  5. In the License Agreement window press <F8> on your keyboard to agree with the license information.

  6. If your computer already has Windows XP installed and you want to recover your current Windows XP data, type R to select the repair option
  7. When the Welcome to Microsoft screen appears, click the green arrow icon at the bottom of the screen to continue. Follow the on-screen directions to finish.
  8. Reinstall the appropriate drivers using for example Dell ResourceCD.

If your reinstallation disk in not XP SP3 you need to obtain Windows XP Service Pack 3. See

How to obtain Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)

If you have problems obtaining the service pack from Windows Update, you can download the stand-alone update package from the Download Center. This page will say that this installation package is intended for IT professionals and developers. However, you can safely download this file. The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
Collapse this imageExpand this image 


Download the Windows XP Service Pack 3 package now


Important These service packs apply only to 32-bit versions of Windows XP.



Old News

[Oct 18, 2009] Dell - Support

Method 2 Unable to Access the Desktop.

1 Turn off the computer.

2 Turn on the computer and press the F8 key every other second until the Windows Advanced Options window appears.

3 Press the <Down Arrow> key on the keyboard and select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

4 Press the <Enter> key on the keyboard.

5 Log in as the administrator or as a user with administrator rights.

6 At the command prompt (blinking cursor), type:
and then press the <Enter> key.

If Windows XP has been reinstalled to a different location on this computer, change C:\Windows to the new path.

Windows xp service pack 4 - Microsoft Answers

There will NOT be a WinXP SP4.

Hopefully, "fresh install" does not mean a Repair install.

HOW TO get a computer running WinXP Gold (no Service Packs) fully patched (after a clean install)

HOW TO get a computer running WinXP SP1(a) or SP2 fully patched (after a clean install)

NB: WinXP SP3 (only) entered Extended Support Lifecycle in April 2009. Computers running WinXP SP2 will NOT be offered any further critical security updates, Automatic Updates will cease to function, and Windows Update website will not be available after 12 April 2010 until SP3 is installed.

~Robear Dyer (PA Bear) ~ MS MVP (IE, Mail, Security, Windows & Update Services) since 2002 ~ Disclaimer: MS MVPs neither represent nor work for Microsoft

Recommended Links

***** How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XPA very useful Microsoft article about reinstallation is

Dell Installation Guide

How to repair Windows XP-2000 if you are unable to boot into Windows - TechSpot OpenBoards contains nice screenshots

Dell - Support



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