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mdy's avatar

Is it possible to reinstall Windows XP without losing my data and disk partitions?

Asked by mdy (1152points) July 7th, 2007

I use Windows XP with Service Pack 2 on my home PC. Due to a recent power outage, the PC got turned off without going through a normal shutdown.

When I rebooted after the power came back, I got a "Windows has recovered from a serious error" message after going through *very* long bootup performing chkdsk and repairing files.

Since then, performance has been absymal and I suspect that some of the OS files had been corrupted by the abnormal shutdown.

I'm hoping that by reinstalling Windows XP, I can solve the problem. However, I don't want to lose my personal data or my hard disk partitions. Any suggestions or links to resources will be really helpful. Thanks!

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8 Answers

Lot9's avatar

Try this link. I think it may have the answer you are looking for.

Click Here

mdy's avatar

Thanks very much, Lot9! Will read it carefully and give it a try.

mdy's avatar

Just an update: I tried using the System Restore feature. Unfortunately, my PC doesn't have a restore point that's old enough for me to restore from, so unfortunately, it won't work for me.

However, Lot9's link to the Microsoft site gave me an idea, so I did a search there and found this: How to perform an in-place upgrade (reinstallation) of Windows XP as well as How to Integrate Windows Service Pack 2 Files into Windows XP Installation Folder.

I'm in the process of downloading the files for Service Pack 2 (266 MB) so I can integrate the SP2 files with the Windows XP installation files from my original WinXP CD.

Will give that a whirl when I've successfully prepared the installation files. Thanks again.

Perchik's avatar

Sounds good, let us know what you end up doing that works.

Lot9's avatar

I'm sorry to hear you didn't have a restore point old enough to work. It's a good possibility what you have there may work. Good luck with that.

mdy's avatar

Another update: I followed the instructions in the two links above and the WinXP in-place upgrade (reinstallation) worked as documented. I didn't lose my data and my hard disk partitions are still intact. *Hurray!*

The process took a lot longer than expected though, since I had to go through several pre-installation steps (which are all documented in detail in the links above):
1. Download the WinXP SP2
2. Copy the i386 folder of my orig WinXP CD to my hard disk
3. Integrate SP2 updates to the WinXP i386 folder
4. Make sure I didn't have "Undo_guimode.txt" in my Windows\System32 folder

The actual installation process itself was estimated to take 2.5 hrs, but in my case it was closer to 4 hours. I started the install at around 11pm and it was around 4am by the time everything was done. I kept falling asleep and waking every half hour or so to check on the progress. Twice, I awoke to find the installation process waiting for me to respond to a prompt.

I think my re-install also took a long time because I had quite a lot of devices (treo, ipod, usb hub, wireless network card, camera cradle, and so on) plugged into the machine, and the drivers for all those devices had to be reinstalled.

Learning from Lot9's advice about System Restore, I've now also saved a Restore Point just in case another problem occurs and I need to roll back to this point in time.

The bootup and shutdown processes are now markedly faster as a result of the inplace reinstall, but unfortunately, the overall performance of the PC is still unsatisfactory.

Anyway, I noticed this morning that the OS was hitting the hard disk far more frequently that I remember, so I finally checked my hardware configuration and just noticed now that my RAM has gone down to 256MB! I have 512MB as far as I know. So now it looks like one of my RAM chips has died and my performance problem is actually caused by faulty hardware. I guess I'll need to get that replaced.

Thanks again for your help, Lot9. 8-)

Lot9's avatar

No problem, glad to help. But about your RAM stick, before running out and buying a new one, you might want to either take it to a reputable computer shop and just check and see if the stick may have unseated or if you are experienced make sure you are grounded, discharge and static electricity from your body, and just open the case and make sure they are seated correctly. **REMINDER** Opening your case will void any warranties that you may have.

mdy's avatar

@Lot9 -- Yes, I'm a lot more adventurous with software than I am with hardware, so I don't plan to tinker with the unit at all. Plus I have no idea what kind of memory to get anyway, so I'd rather rely on someone knowledgeable to take a look at it. Will bring it into the shop when I get a chance. Thanks again!

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