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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.
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
- 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.
In the License Agreement window press <F8> on your keyboard to agree with the license information.
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 imageDownload the Windows XP Service Pack 3 package now
(http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5B33B5A8-5E76-401F-BE08-1E1555D4F3D4)Important These service packs apply only to 32-bit versions of Windows XP.
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.
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
***** 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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