Repair Windows XP without formatting

xp-repair1Sometimes you have to repair the Windows XP installation because system files required to run the operating system have been either deleted or corrupted, or a virus has contaminated your hard drive. Another reason why you might have to do this is when you replace a component in your PC, such as the motherboard. When you install a new motherboard with a different chipset, Windows XP detects that there is a new hardware component for which it doesn’t have the correct drivers. Because the motherboard is a critical component, on which other parts in the PC depend, a simple driver installation won’t work. In fact, Windows XP won’t even start. The only solution is to repair the operating system.

If you don’t want to lose any of the files and settings on your computer, you can reinstall Windows XP without formatting the hard drive. This is called repair-installation. Windows XP installation CD is the only tool you need.

To repair Windows XP, please follow the following steps:

  • Back up all you important files before you begin. You never know what could go wrong with Windows installations (transfer your files to removable disks, such as USB drives or DVDs).
  • Make sure that the CD/DVD drive is the first boot device in BIOS. If you’re not sure how to do this, read this post.
  • Insert the XP CD into the CD/DVD drive and restart the PC.
  • You’ll be asked to press a key to boot from the CD. Just press any key on the keyboard.
  • Wait until the CD loads all files required for installation.
  • When you see the first menu, you’ll be asked whether you want to set up Windows XP or repair Windows XP using Recovery Console. Choose the first option: Set up Windows XP, because even though you want to repair Windows, you don’t need the Recovery Console. Just press Enter.
  • Press F8 to confirm.
  • The CD should find and display your Windows XP installation and give you options to either install a fresh copy or repair the existing installation. You have to press R to repair the selected Windows XP installation.
  • You don’t have to do much in the next few steps. Windows will start copying files from the CD and replace old system files on your hard drive. Your documents, media files and settings should be safe. You may be prompted to choose some settings, nothing complicated.
  • When the installation completes, take out the CD and restart the PC.

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