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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    I have 3 boxes in desparate need of windows os reinstallation, all due to viruses and/or cruft that builds up on an OS over years of use.

    One of them, fortunately, was a Dell with both a Utility partition and an OS partition. Reinstalling a brand-spanking-new OS was as easy as Ctrl-F11 on reboot, and wading through the very clean and simple reinstall process. Couldn't be happier.

    Two of them, though, do not have, and never did have, reinstallation media. They are in the original boxes, and none of the hardware has changed, but the OSs are so bogged down and slow that it's worth blowing it all away and starting afresh. The problem is how to do it? Without proper reinstall media, starting this kind of refresh would be operating system suicide.

    Any help would be graciously received.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like the two computers your wanting to reinstall are old.
    Are they still supported by the manufacturer? Can you replace the disk through them?
    Do they have a separate hidden partition with a restore image on them?
    If not, your looking at purchasing new XP disks.
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  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Well, without an installation disk, installation really isn't possible. And you can't simply copy an OS from one machine to another. The bottom line is you have one working computer, with two others that would work if you had an OS to install. Of course, you can try Ubuntu, but it isn't the most user friendly. However, it is open source, meaning it's free and you can install it on as many copies as you want.

    However, I think in your situation, you might try some heavy duty maintenance on your other two machines. By that I mean using a program like Revo Uninstaller to delete all programs except for those that are installed along with Windows. Also uninstall all peripherals, such as printers, scanners, external hard disks, etc. In other words, get the Computer in stand alone factory condition.

    I would then recommend you use something like Ccleaner to clean up your registry and junk files, and Advanced Systems Care (look for free versions of each progam) to further optimize and spruce up your system. After that, find yourself a good, free defrag program, such as Auslogics, and defrag your disk. Then see how it's running. Subsequently, do a thorough virus and spyware check with Avast antivirus, and Adaware (all free). And, again, see how the machines are running. You should notice a huge improvement.

    After that you can start installing your hardware and check how the machines run after each installation. If any addition results in a noticeable slowdown, I'd eliminate it unless it was absolutely necessary.

    Incidentally, I should also mention that you really ought to check how much RAM you have in your machine as compared to how much the machine can take. There's no sense in doing all this work until the hardware configuration is the best you can get. You can do a RAM scan on Crucial.com, with recommendations as to what memory to buy from them to bring you machine up to maximum RAM.

    And, finally, if you find that all this is just too much work, then you might just want to spring for one of the new computers in the $400 range. There's good stuff out there now that will satisfy the needs of most people I know that is about as inexpensive as it's ever been.

    So...good luck...and happy decision making...

    Bertie

  4. #4
    Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    It sounds to me like the two computers your wanting to reinstall are old.
    Are they still supported by the manufacturer? Can you replace the disk through them?
    Do they have a separate hidden partition with a restore image on them?
    If not, your looking at purchasing new XP disks.
    One of them is old enough that repeated e-mails to the manufacturer "Wintergreen Systems" have not been returned, and I'm beginning to suspect that although they have a web-site, that they may be out of business (the website hasn't been updated in quite some time).

    The other is newer, but the Certificate doesn't clearly outline who the Mfg is, so I don't know who to contact (it just says "Windows XP Home Edition OEM Product")

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If you plan on keeping your computers and are definitely set on having XP on them I'd start scouring the
    internet for deals on an XP home or pro addition.
    Newegg has this right now.
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  6. #6
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    You don't need new CD's - or even 1 per machine - to reinstall.

    As long as you have the Product Key for each machine (or at least 3 keys), you can borrow any XP cd from a friend or computer shop, pop in your Product Key when asked, and off you go.

    It's the Key that is "Private", the CD's are just carrier media.

    No doubt I'll get flamed for flouting some tiny MS EULA widget, but hey, if their operating systems didn't require reinstalling every year, we wouldn't have to waste days jumping through these hoops - although I'd much rather jump through a hoop than reinstall a PC, much quicker and easier!
    So I'll ignore their EULA, and they can ignore wasting days of my time on a regular basis.
    Besides, I have perfectly legal Product Keys.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'd say it's worth a try
    DRIVE IMAGING
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  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Hitchings View Post
    You don't need new CD's - or even 1 per machine - to reinstall.

    As long as you have the Product Key for each machine (or at least 3 keys), you can borrow any XP cd from a friend or computer shop, pop in your Product Key when asked, and off you go.

    It's the Key that is "Private", the CD's are just carrier media.

    No doubt I'll get flamed for flouting some tiny MS EULA widget, but hey, if their operating systems didn't require reinstalling every year, we wouldn't have to waste days jumping through these hoops - although I'd much rather jump through a hoop than reinstall a PC, much quicker and easier!
    So I'll ignore their EULA, and they can ignore wasting days of my time on a regular basis.
    Besides, I have perfectly legal Product Keys.
    I don't think there is even anything in the EULA to prevent this (I haven't read it through for a few days though ) The "right to use" is carried in that little sticker called the COA (certificate of authenticity) and media is only a carrier. This may be getting a little more on the edge but I would burn myself a copy of that disk while I had it......If the media were an issue how could slipstreamed installs be a recommended practice?

    If you would ever be so lucky as to get audited, they will compare the installed systems to the license certificates. I would very much doubt that media would be an issue if the licenses are in order.

  9. #9
    Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Hitchings View Post
    You don't need new CD's - or even 1 per machine - to reinstall.

    As long as you have the Product Key for each machine (or at least 3 keys), you can borrow any XP cd from a friend or computer shop, pop in your Product Key when asked, and off you go.
    Thanks -- I'll try to locate a tried-and-true disc (I believe I have one still from my home comp) and give ths a shot, and report back with my findings.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    The only problem that you're likely to meet when using an arbitrary Windows Install CD is getting the drivers which are specific to the hardware in the PC. So after the installation 'check out' Device Management and look for the dreaded yellow exclamation marks, and try and get the latest driver for each device...

    On the other hand it may all work like a dream! ...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Your CD for the Dell machine will work on your other machines. All you need is the product keys, which presumably will be on a label somewhere on the machine.
    I know the Dell disc will work as I have done the same thing myself in the past.
    Ian

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Turnbull View Post
    Your CD for the Dell machine will work on your other machines.
    This is most likely true only if the other machines are Dells also. I once tried refreshing a non-Dell machine with the Dell XP installation media and the media complained about it being a non-Dell machine. But using any retail media should work, though you might have to initially use the CD owner's key to get the install to go through and then change the key after installation but before running activation - the keys printed on store-bought machines are usually tied to OEM versions of the operating system CDs and will not work with retail versions.

  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Johnson2191 View Post
    This is most likely true only if the other machines are Dells also. I once tried refreshing a non-Dell machine with the Dell XP installation media and the media complained about it being a non-Dell machine. But using any retail media should work, though you might have to initially use the CD owner's key to get the install to go through and then change the key after installation but before running activation - the keys printed on store-bought machines are usually tied to OEM versions of the operating system CDs and will not work with retail versions.
    On my Sony laptops, the Sony disc reconizes if you attempt to install to a non-Sony PC and will not work. Yes, Peter is correct in that the OEM keys printed on a label on the various PCs are only workable on that particular PC. That is the limitation with OEM product keys, they must follow the particular PC. If a PC is substantially altered, new HD for example, I believe a call to MS would be neccesary to reactivate the OS even with a re-install on the same PC.
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  14. #14
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If the disk your using is an OEM factory image of XP, there's a good chance you will not succeed.
    Use a friends Genuine XP os disk and then punch your own product key in.
    I'm doubtful, but it's certainly worth a try.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  15. #15
    5 Star Lounger
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    As I noted in another post, when my daughter accidentally wiped out the disk on her HP laptop, including the recovery partition, she borrowed one of my Vista Home Premium CDs, installed Vista but did not enter the product key (I don't think this option is possible in XP, you have to enter a key in which case the key that came with the CD is the best bet because the OEM key probably will not work) nor went through activation. After installation, she changed the product key to the one stamped on the bottom of her laptop. Then she activated without any problems.

    The main point is that the product key that comes with a store-bought PC gives you the right to run that particular version of the OS on that particular PC. If you run into problems and have to reinstall the OS, how you do that does not matter as long as when you activate you have entered the original product key.

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