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How to Reinstall Windows XP

There are several circumstances in which you might need to reinstall Windows XP:

  • You can't start Windows XP in Safe Mode.
  • A problem was caused by the installation of a Windows Update, and you can't uninstall the update.
  • There is a problem caused by the registry and you can't fix it by any other method.
  • Your systems permissions are so screwed up that you want to go back to default permissions.
  • You upgraded a system component that might require a different hardware abstraction layer (HAL), like the motherboard.

This article shows you how to perform a reinstallation (also called a repair installation) of Windows XP.

Before you perform a Windows XP reinstallation:

  • You should disconnect from the Internet because your system may be vulnerable during the reinstallation.
  • Reinstalling Windows XP may cause your system to lose data and program settings, especially if your computer came with Windows XP preinstalled.
  • If you reinstall Windows XP, you won't be able to use System Restore to restore your computer to a previous state. All existing restore points are removed by the reinstallation.
  • If your computer requires a third-party storage device driver or HAL, make sure that you have a copy of the files on a floppy disk before you perform a reinstallation.
  • Copy the registry backups (in the %systemroot%\Repair folder) to another location before you perform a reinstall, just incase you have to use them after the reinstallation.

To reinstall Windows XP by booting the computer from the Windows XP CD:

Note: Your computer's BIOS must be set to boot from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. If your computer is not set to boot from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, restart your computer and press whichever key (usually DEL or F2) the startup screen says you need to enter BIOS Setup. In BIOS Setup find the section labeled "Boot Order" and set the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive as the first boot device. If your BIOS does not let you set the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive as the first boot device, you'll need to reinstall Windows XP by using Windows XP as described in the next section.

  1. Turn on the computer and insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.
  2. Restart the computer, and when the "Press any key to boot from CD" message appears on the screen, press a key.
  3. On the "Welcome to Windows Setup" screen, press [Enter] to set up Windows XP.
  4. On the "License Agreement" screen, press [F8].
  5. On the next screen, make sure your current installation of Windows XP is selected, then press [R] to repair Windows XP.
  6. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to reinstall Windows XP.

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