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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    XP Home needs repair - No disk (Dell)

    I know this is an old topic and I should know this, but I'm unclear on a small point.

    A family member has brought his 4 year old Dell E521 to me that won't boot XP Home but settles down to a black screen with blinking cursor in upper left corner. I've done all I can with the Recovery Console and have pulled the drive and slaved it to my wife's 64-bit Win 7 machine. It comes up, no problem, so recovering his data won't be a problem.

    I was afraid of hardware problems, but burned a copy (live disk) of ubuntu's latest desktop OS (11.04 I think) and it seemed to boot ok and respond to mouse, keyboard and Internet requests just fine. So, for the moment, I'm cautiously optimistic that the mobo is ok. I did notice the event log said there was a keyboard issue originally, but when my wife picked up the computer (on a grandbaby visit) I had her just bring the box 'cause God knows I have enough of everything else here. Am using the USB keyboard from another family member's new(ish) HP quad-core Pavilion, so I don't think the keyboard is the issue, unless the decoder on the mobo is intermittently bad. Nah.

    As a Windows Secrets subscriber, I'm familiar with Fred Langa's XP Non-Destructive etc. XP reinstall. What I DON'T remember is, since the Dell didn't come with an XP disk, can't I use an original non-OEM XP Home disk and enter the original Product Key from the Dell?

    I have a retail verson of XP home from 'way back when' and even have slipstreamed a copy with SP1 and 2, but we have killer broadband so am not concerned about setup/update times.

    Can someone refresh my memory on this disk issue and I promise I won't ask again!
    Many thanks!
    Last edited by ddunk1946; 2011-07-14 at 11:29.

  2. #2
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    I think you need an OEM disk.

    Joe

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Um, I HAVE an OEM disk; that was my point. Can I use that for the files, but enter the product code from the Dell, as surely THAT original product key is still on the Dell as long as I don't try a clean install. My OEM disk would only be for the files and repair process as it was registered and activated long ago on another computer and would be rejected by MS if I tried to use it on the Dell for a fresh install. I'm really asking about product keys...

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Oops, wait a minute. Now *I*'m the one not reading the posts. I have a retail version of XP, not OEM. Sorry. If I had the OEM disk I wouldn't be posting here. :-)

  5. #5
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    A non-destructive re-install gives you a completely fresh machine so I'd expect that you'd need a product key and your OEM product key is not supposed to work with retail install media.

    Joe

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Ok, thanks. I was under the impression that the non-destructive procedure outlined by Fred Langa only replaced the corrupted files, etc. and not the 'wipe' that a clean install would represent. I'll read the procedure again; I'm probably not reading for detail (it's one of those days!). Thanks!

  7. #7
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    It is not a complete wipe in that your installed application programs and your data are still intact. The OS is completely new though.

    Joe

  8. #8
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    ddunk,

    Most Dell's have a recovery partition that can be invoked by pressing Ctrl+F11 at boot time. This will restore the machine to the condition it was shipped from the factory. Make sure you backup the data first!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Yup, I know. Can't access it, tho'. Data is safe; slaved the drive to another machine and backed it up to the home server. Thanks! I don't think there's anything for it but a new start. Before I buy an XP disk from Dell or whomever, I'll get him into Win 7. Might as well get a new drive, too. This one is 4+ years old. Will putz with it tomorrow; Anniversary tonight! (and they said it wouldn't last!) haha

  10. #10
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    So if the "repair" is a clean OS install, how do the already installed programs remain working? Doesn't a clean OS mean that registry entries have been scrubbed, so that those entries created by program installs no longer exist?

    I too am faced with trying a repair vs. a complete recovery which would require re-installing all of my programs. I'm not concerned about restoring the data because I do have good backups.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    MJ2,

    You are correct your programs are toast, with the exception of those that came pre-installed when you bought your machine.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJ2 View Post
    So if the "repair" is a clean OS install, how do the already installed programs remain working? Doesn't a clean OS mean that registry entries have been scrubbed, so that those entries created by program installs no longer exist?

    I too am faced with trying a repair vs. a complete recovery which would require re-installing all of my programs. I'm not concerned about restoring the data because I do have good backups.
    A repair will replace only the OS files, but will use the installed programs as they are (no changes there).

    I see no reason for you not to try a repair and see if solves your problems. If it does, fine. If not, the clean reinstall option is always available.

  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I agree, you have nothing to loose by trying the repair install before doing a complete reinstall. A Google Search reveals much info on XP Repair Install.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  14. #14
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    Dell is pretty good about providing disks. I have gotten the whole pile just by providing the magic number.

    Bob A.

  15. #15
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    ddunk1946,

    I've done all I can with the Recovery Console and have pulled the drive and slaved it to my wife's 64-bit Win 7 machine. It comes up, no problem, so recovering his data won't be a problem.
    Did you just stop there? That's just step #1. Step #2 after slaving that drive to your PC is to run Chkdsk /r /f on the drive to repair it.

    When I get a drive that won't boot its own system, I do the slave thing and then run Chkdsk /r /f on it and 99% of the time that fixes it.

    It costs nothing to try it and who knows, it just might fix it.
    Just for max safety, I'd copy all the data off of that drive to your own drive, first.

    Just in case that drive gets messed up beyond Chkdsk's ability to fix it, in the future, I'd make a full C: drive backup using a Backup program, like Ghost, Acronis True Image or Macrium Reflect.
    (I use Ghost and have since 1997)

    Just a thought from an old Tech.

    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2011-09-04 at 09:33.
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