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How to reinstall windows xp without losing program files

Posted on 2009-05-08
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Last Modified: 2013-11-13
I often have to reinstall windows due to corrupt registry or can't connect to the internet.
In doing so I have make a clean install and lose a lot of important data and program files.
windows repair is always an option that is available.
Is there a method to reinstall o.s. without losing program files?
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Question by:Rcorn8559
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by:swam1231
ID: 24341619
Hey. Re-Installing Windows involves re-installing its applications too, some of which will go and fall under Program Files folder. If it was backing up of your Documents and Setting data, it is a different issue and can be achieved. But, retaining Program Files and its contents is a problem as far as I know. You can very well back up your Program Files folder in your hard-drive but it won't do much good as the locations of your applications in registry wouldn't match the ones you've actually backed up.
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by:rettif9
ID: 24341644
If you are able to repair a windows installation using the windows installation CD the installed applications normally work after the repair. If a fresh install is required the applications will have to be re-installed. The first question you should ask is why you are forced to "often" re-install the operating system. Unless you are exposing your computer to some unusual event this shouldn't happen. Power fluctuations can cause corruption of system files. Is your computer on a UPS? Or your power supply may be failing. You can use Norton Ghost to make an image of the drive and restore from the image if you make the image before the OS becomes corrupt.
If data files need to be recovered before doing a clean re-install you may be able to recover them by using  a bootable CD operating system like UBCD4Win http://ubcd4win.com/ or by re-installing without formatting the partition where the data is stored.
A better solution would be to backup data files to storage.
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Wayne Barron earned 500 total points
ID: 24341655
Unfortunately "No"

OK.
You state that you have to reinstall the system a lot.
Due to Registry corruption and so forth.
What is going on with the registry?
What are you doing to the system to cause all these issues?

--
Do you have the Restore Disk?
(or)
Actual Windows XP CD? (OEM or Retail)

--
This is the best way to do this, and one of the biggest reasons why
I always tell people to create multiple partitions on their drives, if they do not already have them done.

Install with the Actual XP CD.
When asked where you want to install.
(List Drive(s))
Delete the C:\ drive.
(If you have 1 massive drive, then)
Create different partitions.
20-50GB for the C:\ is enough space. (20000 - 50000)
Then create other partitions.

OK.
This is the cool part about doing your system this way.
Lets say the following exist?
You have
C:\ (Windows Drive Space)
D:\ (Downloadable program files categorized in their own folders and so forth, not to be used to install to)
E:\ (Used to install programs to, instead of installing into C:\ drive all the time)

Benefits of this type of setup.
If Windows becomes corrupted, then all the programs that are not installed in C:\ drive will be
Saved in the other drive(s) that they are installed in.
ALSO (This is the great part)
When you have to reinstall the system, and you get to the option
Where do you want to install Windows to?
You choose: Existing C:\ drive. [Delete] and [Create] it again.
And NEVER TOUCH the other drive space.)

Most people are against this way of doing the system, and those people are the ones that end up losing more data than they should on a reinstall, even after they keep backups on external media.
They spend hours backing-up data that should already be backed up and it is a mess.
Creating multiple partitions on your drive. Allows you the freedom to do whatever you desire.
Like myself.
C, D, E, F, G, H, I , J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S
These are my drives; they are always on 5 different hard drives.
And all drives server their own purpose. Most drives can be taken from my laptop
And connected to another computer and the programs will run from within the drive itself.
Saving all data to itself, NOT on the other system.

Backing up data.
In one of your Partitions, you can create a Folder call it:
Backup\
Within the Backup Folder, you do something like this.
(Replace <Username> with logged in Username)
Backup\<Username>\05-08-2009\
Within that folder, you store all the data that you want to keep from
C:\Documents and Settings\<Username>
Like:
Desktop
My Documents
Favorites
Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{LONG NUMBER}\Microsoft\Outlook Express
Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book
Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Storing everything within' it actual folders, so you would create that long folder name
And then restore it back once the system is reinstalled.

This will make it a lot easier for you to overcome the loss of Data.
Do normal backups to the Backup\<Username>\05-08-2009\
For that date, and when you reinstall, then you create another folder with another date on it.
Backup\<Username>\10-08-2009\

Anyway;
Sorry for the long breathed information, but this is what I do, and I loss data ONLY when a hard drive crashes, and I keep solid backups continuously.

Good Luck
Carrzkiss
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Expert Comment

by:Wayne Barron
ID: 24341967
Glad that my information was helpful.
I taught this information to a friend of mine that used it in his class room at the local collage.
So, this information has proven to be handy in many ways.

Good Learning tools. Knowledge is awesome.

Carrzkiss
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