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How to reload Windows XP

January 1, 2005

in All Articles,Miscellaneous

Walt asks:

When I try to boot normally or to safe mode, I get a blue screen that tells me that I have a registry problem. My ultimate goal is to reinstall Windows XP SP1 to my Dell dimension 2400. Since I can’t boot to safe mode I can’t reinstall Windows. How can I get around this problem?

If you can’t access Windows at all, and would like to restore or reload Windows XP, there are a few options left:

1) Your PC may have shipped with “system recovery CDs“. If you have these, you can restore your system back to the day you purchased it (all existing files or personal information will be lost).

2) Your computer may have a “system partition” or “recovery partition“. This is essentially the same content of the system recovery CDs, only it’s stored on your PC hard drive in a hidden location. Check your PC support documentation for instructions, or if you’re able to call your PC’s tech support, they may be able to tell you if the system partition is available, and how to access it. (It’s usually something like pressing a certain key during the PC’s boot process. Sometimes you’ll see instructions for doing this during the “Press to enter BIOS” or “Press to enter system settings” immediately after turning the computer on. Once you know how to access the recovery partition, the rest of the process is farily easy – the PC will restore itself back to the day you purchased it. (Some system partition restoration tools allow you to restore Windows will keeping your personal files intact.)

3) If you have the Windows XP installation CD (it’s more rare, but some PCs ship with this), you can boot to the CD and begin the system reinstall process. Though you can sometimes choose to keep your personal files, and only restore critical Windows system files, this process is an advanced technique.

4) The exact bluescreen error message may help. Search to see what that error message is referencing. If this just started happening, and doesn’t seem to be caused by something you did (a recent system change, hardware change, or program install), you may have hardware gone bad. In that case, replacement of the bad hardware may fix the problem, and a system reload would not. Sometimes the first couple lines of the bluescreen error message can tell you what caused the problem, or if it was hardware or software related.

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