how do you reinstall xp in a dell system with no cd`

It says to see the user manual to do a restore because Dell has some way of doing it with out the cd.  Ho0wever I haver read every page of the manual and there is no reference ()that I could see on how to do this)... need some help quick

believe it is a dell deminsion 3000
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Yes, you can on certain machines only. Dell call it a PC Restore. However, you must make sure your user data is backed up because this will wipe your boot drive:

Perform a PC Restore of the operating system.
To perform a restore of the operating using PC Restore, perform the following steps:
NOTE: Dell PC Restore by Symantec is available on Dimension and Inspiron systems that shipped on or after 7/16/2004 in the Americas and 8/30/2004 in Europe.

Power the computer on.
When the Dell screen appears press and hold the <Ctrl> key on the keyboard, press the <F11> key, then release them both at the same time.
The Dell PC Restore by Symantec window appears.
 NOTE: Press the keys one time only. If you press them more than once, a keyboard error occurs and the process has to be initiated again.

Click the Restore button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Restore and press the <Enter> key.
A caution message appears advising that all data will be lost.
Click the Confirm button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Confirm and press the <Enter> key.
The Progress window appears. Once the process is begun, Dell PC Restore usually takes only 8 to 10 minutes to complete.
When the restore is complete, the message The system recovery process was successful appears.
Click the Finish button or press the <Tab> key to highlight Finish and press the <Enter> key.
The computer will restart.
Your software is now as it was when you first received your computer.
This is a great guide for reinstalling on a Dell:
Complete Official Guide from Dell to restore your Machine :-

The restore function uses a special section on your harddrive called a "partition".  This partition will be much less suseptible to viruses, etc., and should be read-only.

When you restore your harddrive using the restore utility, you are simply wiping the main partition and using the image from the restore partition to rewrite the data to the original factory settings.  This should, by no means, stress your hardware.

Keep in mind that when you do this you will lose all antivirus definitions, security updates (including service packs), and any data (such as emails, pictures, etc) that you have not backed up to CD, external harddrive, etc..  You'll want to update your antivirus and go to as soon as possible to retrieve all security updates (you'll need to go to the update site and then restart your computer.  This will take about 3-4 cycles to get all of the updates)

Other useful Links :-

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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
bob733Author Commented:
What about the windows xp repair.... where you first say install, and then when it finds an existing copy of the op system there, it asks you if you really want to install (a new copy) orjust R (repair the existing copy).  So far, everything points to the CTRL F11 restores the system to factory condition.  Whereas  with the cd method, the repair just reloads the op system and leaves the data alone.
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Repair installation will fix any bad system files on your windows directory, will replace them with new ones.

You can create an installation disc from the provided link by my last post, first link..
read it..
These days Companies provides OEM Licenses for their branded machines. In this copy they don't provide Individual copy of Installed OS but they provide the recovery disk which include Bundled OS with another programs installed. Their CD conatains the basic image of the OS with some update file.

So while using most of the recovery CD your HDD will be reset to Factory Settings and you will loose all your data.

Caution:-  Before proceeding for restore you are suggested to take backup of all your data from HDD and then perform the  reload operation.

If you install OS using different Microsoft Windows CD which you didn't purchase... your OS won't be legal and licensed.
bob733Author Commented:
But here is the question I dont understand:

If you have the physical CD, you can start a New install but when it detects an existing OS, it will ask you if you just want to repair (R) the existing OS, or still go ahead with a fresh install.  Doing the Repair (R), saves any data and restores only the OS files.  Doing the fresh install does a complete disk wipeout and puts the OS back in.  OK, that is fine and I can understand how that works.

BUT I dont understand how it works when the OS is in Dells Hidden directory.  When the OS is shipped on the HD (with the new Dells), and you access the OS reinstall patition by depressing CTRL and tapping F11 at the Dell splash screen (which I have been told is the way to get the Hiddon partition to start the Install, do you still have the same option to repair (R) when the install detects an existing copy of the OS?  Or, does this do a complete New Install wiping out everything?

That is what I want to do (try the Repair first).
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
It depends on the copy of the setup which is located on this hidden partition.. Have you check the link i posted to you, on how to create a windows CD out of the recovery CD?
The Dell Recovery will wipe the drive clean, that's the point. It resets the whole drive back to the way it was when you first acquired the PC. Any existing data on the root drive will be deleted.

If you want to do a restore, then you will need an XP disk as has been suggested, either a new one or preferbaly a Dell OEM install disk. You will also need the driver disk (maybe) but you can also download the drivers from the Dell Website for your PC and model.

Greetings,  Bob733

I would like to correct you first :-

"Doing the fresh install does a complete disk wipeout and puts the OS back in.  OK, that is fine and I can understand how that works."
Actually doing a fresh Install does not wipeout disk. During Install it asks for the patition on which you want to install and then asks you as  follows :-
  1.      Format the partition by using the NTFS file system (Quick)
  2.       Format the partition by using the FAT file system (Quick)
  3.       Format the partition by using the NTFS file system
  4.       Format the partition by using the FAT file system
  5.      Leave the current file system intact (no changes)

If you choose option from 1 to 4 all data on choosen partition will be wiped and a fresh copy of Windows will be installed.

If you choose 5th option then no "USER CREATED" data will be erased. Note here all OS files will be overwritten and you will loose your Installed Programs, Registry etc because "C:\Program Files" already exists and the new setup also installs at this location.
Setup will not Erase any folder created by user on that patition Ex. C:\bob733
The above folder will remain the same after the said Fresh Installation.

Answer to second question :-
"do you still have the same option to repair (R) when the install detects an existing copy of the OS?  Or, does this do a complete New Install wiping out everything?"

It depends the copy of setup resides on the Hidden HPFS patition you your machine. Sometimes they program it in a different way than microsoft and don't give that option. Sometimes they give.

Means, When they Restores a Binary Image of already Installed OS using a tool like ghost, All data will be erased.
and When they Install OS using Microsoft Windows Traditional Setup method it will give you the choice for Installation Type.

If they give Repair option then go for it, or if they don't give you a choice you can proceed for Fresh Install with
" 5.      Leave the current file system intact (no changes)"

To save your data back.

Another good option to rescue your data first from the dead system is :-

Knoppix is the best solution for you. It is Live Linux from it's bootable CD.

1. runs from a Bootable CD and u need not to install it to HDD at all.
2. will be entirely loaded on RAM from it's CD.
3. booting takes only 3 minutes.
4. gives gives full GUI mode.
5. dynamically detects & installs all Drivers at runtime automatically. (Graphics, Sound, IDE, SATA etc.).
6. gives Read-Write access to HDD without installing on it.
7. supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT 32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3 etc. File Systems.
8. gives your previous system untouched back after shutdown.(Does not write anything to HDD).
9. resets all configuration on each boot. (Does not get corrupted.)
10 can be freely downloaded from  :-

Simply configure your Network Card in Knoppix and Get Internet connection for a OS running from LIVE CD and connect to another computer and save your system's data to another system.

Cheers !!!
bob733Author Commented:
But can a Knoppix cd (Linux) work on an XP machine
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantCommented:
Nope, knoppix doesn't support Xp..

You will need to get KNOPPIX installer for Windows XP file System.
Download one from the following question including with the explination on how to do so..

Good Luck.
            Of Course Yes, When you boot from Knoppix CD it uses you RAM only and automatically mounts your Hard Disks NTFS Partitions for Read Write Access.  

Knoppix does not require to be install on HDD.

It totally runs on RAM and gives you full Graphical Environment Like Windows Does.

So Go Ahed. Get It :-

In my openion, Knoppix is the best solutions to rescue data in critical situations.

It supports most of File Systems like :- FAT, FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3 etc.

One can install (though it's not needed) Knoppix in HDD using following Instructions :-

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