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  1. #1
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    Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    I'm tired of the slowness of XP. Have defragged, virus scanned, spyware scanned, etc. Not ready for registry cleaning, as there seems to be much discussion about how effective that can be.

    I'm ready to (but nervous about) starting from scratch - reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling XP, after backing up, of course.
    What are the steps? (In the old days you could type at a DOS prompt format c:/sys , but I would be surprised if that worked anymore.)

    Step 1. Backup to external harddrive, using BOTH backup software (Retrospect) and straight file copy of both documents and setup files for the smaller software programs and utilities I use. I have the CD's for the large programs.
    Step 2 ????
    Step 3 ????

  2. #2
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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Hi,
    I'm not sure I'll be around to answer any replies, but just some question to get things started.

    Installing (or reinstalling) Windows XP is simple and straightforward if you have the CD media and a PC that can boot from the CD drive. Sometimes you have to change the boot order (the sequence the PC search for bootable data) in the BIOS, but if a problem we can come back to that later, it's simple.

    Your first step seems good; backing up files, and a combination of backup software and saving individual important files is good. Also as you mentioned, one would like to have all programs on CD or other media.

    It seems from your question that you have not installed XP before, did it come preinstalled on the PC? If so, what kind of Windows XP CD do you have? Some OEM's do some modifications to the install CD to work with their hardware. Sometimes the result is that such a CD doesn't work exactly as a standard retail (or standard OEM) CD. They are often called restore CD.

    So, depending on your answer, the suggestions may be a little different. But, as mentioned initially, it's mostly very simple; boot from the CD, you can (in normal cases) do most of the wanted partitions from inside the XP install program, and you are ready to go ...(to MS and get the updates after SP2, that is <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>).

    Some old-timers prepare their hard drive in different ways, I see no direct need for it; if you would like the OS and everything on one partition , then do nothing during install and it will be so. If you like separate partitions, you can set them up during install.

    For some reading if you like, look at the Elder:
    Clean Install Procedure with Illustrative Screen Captures

    And of course, some may suggest to try to solve your problem without a reinstall.

    Oh, and yes, I took the clean install view; on the other hand, a reinstall that only reinstalls the OS, and do not touch user data or programs (most of the time <img src=/S/crossfingers.gif border=0 alt=crossfingers width=17 height=16>), is often referred to as an "in-place upgrade", and is done either with the OS running or as with a clean install; booting from the CD, though the steps are a little different at one important stage. For info. see at MS: How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP In both cases you will need to install all OS updates after your service pack level.

  3. #3
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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    There are lots of approaches to this, but if you're going for a clean reinstall, some of the info in this article: Reinstall Windows and outfit your system with all freeware programs might prove useful. Although he concentrates on freeware after reinstall, much of his pre-install and during install info is very useful IMO. I think the most important thing is to have backups of everything you might want to reinstate... often a hard call, but worth doing with care and a bit of "before the event" reading/ research.

    I'd also add something like Belarc Advisor - Free Personal PC Audit to the pre-install checklist.

    Alan

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Wow!!! Thanks Alan and Argus. You gave me a lot of help and a lot to review. I didn't realize there was a program to save all of my Product Keys, let alone that it was a *free* program.

    I'm going to have a busy time!!

    One question - does the "in-place upgrade" re-create the registry or leave it in place? I think one of the issues may be a well-used registry that needs recreation from scratch. That's why I was leaning toward reformatting the hard drive.
    Thanks again.

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Argus would be the man to answer this one, but the registry issue generally is one of my "pet" topics. I always believe it's worth keeping a copy of the old registry because, despite all valiant efforts to back up product keys, serial numbers etc. something always seems to end up missing. Even this is no guarantee, but at least it might help.

    For creating registry backups, I use ERUNT - it always gets good user reviews. The big problem though, is how to read the backup. The native REGEDIT in XP will only open the working registry. It's a nightmare to try to view registry hives as plain text. But the answer I found is a little gem called MiTeC Windows Registry File Viewer. It allows you to open the registry backups you make in the normal 2-pane treeview, emulating REGEDIT.

    And since you seem interested in the reinstall issue generally, you may want to venture into UBCD for Windows. It's a great project in its own right (should get a Nobel Prize if there were an appropriate category!) but also offers a LOT of potential when preparing for/ doing a reinstall.

    All of the above is good <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> stuff!
    Alan

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Be aware that Belarc does not save all of your product keys. It will display/save keys for quite a few Microsoft products. However, I know of several it does not save. I can not find a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> program that will do that.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    This is why I suggest keeping a copy of the old registry. Reinstating old software keys might be the best bet if actual product keys etc. can't be found. Some even seem to become encrypted or converted to binary in the registry, so I doubt that any 3rd party utility could extract them all in a usable form, to re-enter directly into the new reinstalled version of the program.

    Alan

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    The only problem with an old version of the registry is that it is extremely difficult for the average user to get to any hive, find the correct key(s), and import them into the new registry. "Importing" the old hive will just merge it and may end up causing as many problems as it fixes. I've only been able to find programs such as Product Key Finder software and those listed at Backup Product Keys - Product-Keys, Install-Keys, Systemmanagement Keep a backup of your software product keys.. None of which are free and all have limits on the products they recognize.

    Joe
    Joe

  9. #9
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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    I know it's not a total solution, but it can produce the required result and safely (IMO). Consider a reinstall of product XYZ on a fresh XP. If you use an install monitoring program, you'll know exactly what new registry entries were made e.g. HKCUSoftwareABC CompanyXYZ ... into the working registry. It's then possible to navigate the old registry to this corresponding entry and export just that branch. You can then merge it into your new registry, having backed up first with ERUNT or similar of course.

    Sure, you need to be careful, as with every other operation involving the registry. That said, I've never had a problem with it, or reversing it if it didn't work.

    Alan

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Yes, if one is careful the registry need not be intimidating. I've never had a problem either with registry editing. For most users it would just be easier if they would be disciplined enough to save the cd cases or whatever with the product keys. Wouldn't that be something new and unusual <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>?

    Joe
    Joe

  11. #11
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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    > it would just be easier if they would be disciplined enough to save the cd cases or whatever with the product keys

    A bit radical... don't you think? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Alan

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    Re: Reinstall XP - steps? (XP SP 2)

    Extremely!!! But one of these years maybe Santa will grant me that wish. <img src=/S/angel.gif border=0 alt=angel width=15 height=21>

    Joe
    Joe

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