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  1. #1
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    XP Pro repair gone awry

    My system starting giving error messages at bootup that I needed to run REPAIR from the installation disc. I have done this tons of times on other systems before so plunged ahead, grabbed an original MS XP Pro CD and started the process. It recognized the damaged install and chugged away for a while. After a while it wanted to reboot which is normal. I then continued the repair process from the semi-installed repair job and all was well up until the Enter Product Key step. I pulled out the original retail version of XP Pro that I had purchased and entered the key. "Invalid" was the reply. I retried several times, made sure I had the correct key but nothing worked.

    I even went so far as to pull the boot drive (C from the computer, attach it by a USB adapter and connected it to a Win 7 Pro computer that I have. It showed up fine as the M: drive. I used KeyFinder, told it where to load the hive, and it confirmed that the original install key was the one I have been trying. One more try and still "Invalid". THEN I noticed that the banner said XP Pro Upgrade. My original disc was not an upgrade, it is a full retail version, complete with fancy folding case and all. Then I looked at the disc that I had started the repair process with. In a fit of brain deadness I had not noticed that it actually said "Upgrade" on it. I had grabbed the wrong disc and it overwrote the original install as an upgrade and that is why the key was failing.

    No problem, I thought, let's just start this again with the correct disc. This time, it did not boot from the disc, it passed off the install to the incorrect semi-installed Upgrade version that had been put on the hard drive. I cannot get my computer to start from the CD to the stage before the wrong part of the version I started insists on continuing. It is a logical method of letting the CD stay in the drive but not starting from step one again. So, here is my problem: I need to get my PC to actually boot from the CD and not handover control to the partial incorrect version that has been "repaired" on the hard drive. How can I make XP run from the CD without just passing off to the hard drive? Or can I patch the semi-copy that is on the hard drive to make it believe that it is a full version and will accept the correct key?

    Thanks for any help anybody can offer. XP is not dead! It lives on in our hearts. It is just fine for what I use it for on that computer.

    Loaner

  2. #2
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    If you choose the clean install option, it will reformat the hard drive and start the installation from scratch.
    Alternatively, you could boot with a Linux disk and delete the temporary files left by the Windows installer.
    I assume that you checked the drive for bad sectors etc. before trying to repair the OS?

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    I did click on the Reply button but my message does not appear here so I am guessing it went to you directly rather than here. To repeat, in reverse order of your questions:

    - Yes, the first thing I did was check the drive, both with BART PE's ChkDsk and with SpinRite 6.0. Both returned "clean" messages.

    - I do not get the option to do anything when restarting, it just continues to the point where it goes to the hard drive to continue the repair process.

    - I would rather not do a clean install. I would rather repair my existing install so that so many of my heritage programs do not have to be reinstalled. I can back up the data files, etc, but configuration files from a decade or more of use?

    - On a whim, I booted from BART PE and renamed win.ini to win.nin on the C: drive. restarted and just got a message that win.ini was invalid and it kept going to the C: drive to continue the install.

    - Looked at the original CD and it has an AutoRun.inf file (of course) which basically causes Setup.EXE to run. Setup.exe is obviously looking at the hard drive to detect a repair in progress but at 1.2 MB I am not about to try to disassemble it to find out what it is doing.

    - What files do I need to adjust or delete on my C: drive to get this CD to believe it needs to do a complete repair, rather than continue the path it has been set on?

    Many thanks to all who can help. I have been a contributor in the past but that goes back to when Fred had his LangaList. I will endevour to help our more in the future.

    Loaner

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    Use the main link for How to Create a bootable CD to access the Recovery Console and see if it will boot from that to see if you can start the correct repair install. http://www.webtree.ca/windowsxp/repair_xp.htm

    If you don't have a suitable burner, then use ImgBurn to create the bootable disk. http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn

  5. #5
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    OT

    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    <snip>
    If you don't have a suitable burner, then use ImgBurn to create the bootable disk. http://filehippo.com/download_imgburn
    Be careful when installing ImgBurn; it comes with OpenCandy these days.

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    I think the download from FileHippo is clean as I noticed once when I went to the ImgBurn site, it wanted to install crap with it so looked for a FileHippo download as they are usually clean.

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    Good advice, this is certainly a tool that I will keep in my kit. It worked exactly like you said it would. I was able to burn the ISO image without any problems with software that came with my BD burner. Now I am going to have to do something that I have studiously avoided in the past: Learning what Recovery Console can do and how to use it. Do you have any advice as to what command(s) I can use to get the whole reinstall/repair going again?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loaner View Post
    <snip>
    Do you have any advice as to what command(s) I can use to get the whole reinstall/repair going again?
    There's a list here.

    You could use Copy to er...copy any data to another drive, and Format to wipe the system disk.

    Some of the commands work slightly differently than from a Command Prompt, e.g., CD\ won't take you to the root of a drive; you have to type the path - CD C:.

  9. #9
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    If you aren't using the original XP CD then you can get the key fail problem as Cornfield has found out - penultimate post of last page in http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...bar-on-desktop so it looks like you'll have to do a clean install as well ?
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-02-25 at 09:41.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    If you aren't using the original XP CD then you can get the key fail problem as Cornfield has found out - penultimate post of last page in http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...bar-on-desktop so it looks like you'll have to do a clean install as well ?
    Thanks to all who have tried to help so far. I don't think that anybody has yet understood my problem. I do have the original XP CD but I did not use it (by accident) on the first repair attempt. I accidentally used an Upgrade CD, it detected the failed install and I was given the Recovery screen and all went well. It repaired the base files, restarted and got to the point where it wanted the key. Because it was an Upgrade CD, it fails to accept my full retail version key. I had to abort the repair and am now in a cycle where I boot from the correct CD which instantly turns control over to the HD to continue the "repair". This is not what I want. I do not want to do a clean install, I want to do a repair install, keeping my applications, etc, in place. My question comes down to one: How do I get the XP CD to start from the beginning and not assume that it should just continue the update it started before? There must be files(s) that the CD's SETUP.EXE is looking for on the HD to see if there is a repair in progress or if it should just start from step 1.

    I am sure if I can just get the install CD to start from step 1 and not try to continue the install, my problem will be solved.

    Loaner

  11. #11
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    If you can create a Repair disk using the link in my Post #4 you may be able to get into the Recovery Console to see if anything in this article will help, although I don't know if the sys c: command will work as you are using XP. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/827324

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    If you can create a Repair disk using the link in my Post #4 you may be able to get into the Recovery Console to see if anything in this article will help, although I don't know if the sys c: command will work as you are using XP. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/827324
    Obviously whatever the problem is, it lies on the HD. I think boot.ini is a good candidate - he should be able to edit it from the Recovery Console.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loaner View Post
    My system starting giving error messages at bootup that I needed to run REPAIR from the installation disc. I have done this tons of times on other systems before so plunged ahead, grabbed an original MS XP Pro CD and started the process. It recognized the damaged install and chugged away for a while. After a while it wanted to reboot which is normal. I then continued the repair process from the semi-installed repair job and all was well up until the Enter Product Key step. I pulled out the original retail version of XP Pro that I had purchased and entered the key. "Invalid" was the reply. I retried several times, made sure I had the correct key but nothing worked.

    I even went so far as to pull the boot drive (C from the computer, attach it by a USB adapter and connected it to a Win 7 Pro computer that I have. It showed up fine as the M: drive. I used KeyFinder, told it where to load the hive, and it confirmed that the original install key was the one I have been trying. One more try and still "Invalid". THEN I noticed that the banner said XP Pro Upgrade. My original disc was not an upgrade, it is a full retail version, complete with fancy folding case and all. Then I looked at the disc that I had started the repair process with. In a fit of brain deadness I had not noticed that it actually said "Upgrade" on it. I had grabbed the wrong disc and it overwrote the original install as an upgrade and that is why the key was failing.

    No problem, I thought, let's just start this again with the correct disc. This time, it did not boot from the disc, it passed off the install to the incorrect semi-installed Upgrade version that had been put on the hard drive. I cannot get my computer to start from the CD to the stage before the wrong part of the version I started insists on continuing. It is a logical method of letting the CD stay in the drive but not starting from step one again. So, here is my problem: I need to get my PC to actually boot from the CD and not handover control to the partial incorrect version that has been "repaired" on the hard drive. How can I make XP run from the CD without just passing off to the hard drive? Or can I patch the semi-copy that is on the hard drive to make it believe that it is a full version and will accept the correct key?

    Thanks for any help anybody can offer. XP is not dead! It lives on in our hearts. It is just fine for what I use it for on that computer.

    Loaner
    I'm not sure I get what's happening with your PC, but using Fred's no format re-install has always worked for me. It's here: http://www.informationweek.com/softw.../d-id/1044226?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgerick View Post
    I'm not sure I get what's happening with your PC, but using Fred's no format re-install has always worked for me. It's here: http://www.informationweek.com/softw.../d-id/1044226?
    The repair install went okay - the problem is that the wrong disk was inadvertently used so the product key is rejected and Loaner is unable to progress onto a new repair install with the correct disk.

  15. #15
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    You are correct. I assume this is a repair install. Once you stopped it the installation program left files of its work behind and it is detect that and picking up where it left off.

    Presumably you care about what is on there and want to NOT do a clean install. If you have it backed up and don't care then boot up an app like Parted Magic and delete the partition, and start over.

    Don't despair. Put your drive as a secondary on another PC. Is windows.old in the root directory? Copy it. It should contain your files. If you have a large drive you can copy a sector by sector image of the drive in case anything goes wrong preserving even deleted files that have yet to be overwritten). Secondly if XP clean installs you should be able to recover everything except where the installation files have over written the sectors. I guess I would be hunting on Google for XP repair installation problems to see if there was a solution (like deleting specific files created). One would be to force it through without the product key (30 day evaluation period?). Then either revert it back using the windows.old file or try the key once in Windows (don't think that would work but fast, easy and would be great if it did), or try a repair install again using the correct disk.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-03-01 at 15:38.

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