How do I reinstall XP over existing copy without format/fdisk?

gmark used Ask the Experts™
I have a PC (not my own) that has some corrupt sections that I believe are in the OS.  
For example, when in Windows Explorer, I don'e see all drives.
When clicking on My Computer, the window opens, but without content.  I only get the "searching flashilight" and no results.  

Windows will not allow me to do a system restore, either.  

I'd like to reinstall windows over the existing copy, just to get up and running in a hurry.

Eventually, I'll format the drive and start fresh.  But for now I need to know if I can reload XP over the existing install and still have my programs and data  (all located on C:).

Any feedback/guidelines?  



Dell Dimension 8400
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Put the XP CD and See if the recover module will work.
Sounds like what you're wanting is an xp repiar install.

Perform a XP repair installation is what you need:  
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Sorry Jamie.
you can try start > run > type cmd press enter > chkdsk c: /f after that is done run the following command sfc /scannow.



"Recovery Console SP2 revision"
Recovery Console commands
What is Recovery Console  and what does it do?
XP Recovery console is designed to help you recover when your computer does not start properly or does not start at all. Recovery Console should be used by the relatively advanced user who can use basic commands to identify and locate problem drivers and files. You must also have administrator rights to use the Recovery Console.
One exampleYour Windows-Based computer will not boot into Windows XP and invoking Safe Mode does not fix the problem. Recovery Console can be accessed from booting from the XP CD and selecting the repair option on the first setup screen. It will say press R to access the Recovery Console or ENTER to continue setup. To load the Recovery Console Press R.;en-us;Q310994&ID=kb;en-us;Q310994 
Recovery Console can be installed and have it as an option on a boot menu when you start your computer.
To install the Recovery Console

To install the Recovery Console, perform the following steps:
Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive.
Click Start and then click Run.
In the Open box, type:<CD drive letter>:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons
A Windows Setup Dialog Box appears, which describes the Recovery Console option.
Restart the computer. You will see a "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" entry on the boot menu. If Recovery Console does not accept a correct password click this Bug fix
The system prompts you to confirm installation. Click Yes to start the installation procedure.
If you have applied Service Pack 2

A message indicating the "version of Windows on the system is newer than the version being installed" will happen if you applied Service Pack 2 and the CD media you are using to install is pre-SP2.
You will need to do one of the following.
If SP2 was applied as an update and the option to save the uninstall files was enabled, Uninstall SP2 from Add/Remove.

If Windows XP SP2 was preinstalled or installed from XP media with SP2 included, uninstall will not be an option. You will need to clean install with an older XP version or use one of the options in 3 and 4 or 5.

Use a slipstreamed XP CD with SP2.

Use a retail/OEM XP SP2 CD when available.
SP2 work around fix

Work around compliments of "Jon" from the msnews newsgroups.
You can install Recovery Console, AFTER SP2 installation, via the following

For this you need the full network version of SP2.
Downloadable from here.
Open a command prompt in the folder containing the SP2 installer
and type
WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe -x
Choose a folder to extract the files to e.g. file:///c:/SP2files

Make a backup of the file winnt32.exe in c:\windows\i386

Replace the winnt32.exe file in c:\windows\i386 with the identically
named file in C:\sp2files\i386 (or in the i386 folder in the folder where
you extracted the files)

Open a command prompt at c:\windows\i386
Type winnt32.exe /cmdcons
Recovery Console should install
(Ignore the first error message, if any)

Replace the winnt32.exe in c:\windows\i386 with its original version
(created in step 2)

Hope this works for you

Np PUNKY it's usually me that does it.

you can try and run System file check it could be enough to get you up and running
put the installation CD goto staret\run and type - sfc /scannow
Top Expert 2013

it can be a repair helps you out, but note that your problem may come from hardware problems, or malware too.
If malware is suspected, i suggest running these :
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This PC has become quite unstable.  
While chsdsk /f has successfully run (after many tries), the scannow function just hangs.  In fact, almost every program hangs at some point.  Thankfully, I'm able to use Chrome to post this.  I can't even get IE to start (as is the case with most other apps.  

***  The goal is now to move data files (primarily My Documents for both users).  ***
Then, I will complete a fresh install.  But I really need to recover data first.

I'd simply move the data to an external drive, but the PC is not recognizing new devices on USB.  When attaching new USB devices,  it recognizes them (in device manager), however it does not show those drives in explorer.  They do not exist as a destination for copy/paste.  Even if the devices showed, I'm concerned that the process of moving files might not complete, as everything eventually 'hangs.'  

So, I suspect that the ability to reload XP Home, without stepping on data, is the goal.  Hope it's as simple as that.  

1)  If my assumptions are correct and I can install XP over existing version, will it preserve user accounts?

2)  WIll I still be able to access the My Documents folders for those users?

NOTE:  The XP  CD is SP2.  Currently installed is SP3.  I'm pretty sure that I can remove SP3, if necessary, to avoid the "newer version" message when I start up the XP install.  
{is that correct?}

I'm reminded of a process (years ago) when I upgraded a Windows version over an existing install.  When  all was done, I still had programs and data.  

Thanks in advance for your speedy reply...
A repair install will reinstall the operating system files and leave the programs and data intact.
Another possibly quicker option if you have the means, would be to remove the hard drive and connect it to another system as an external drive or as a slave drive and copy the data off.
Top Expert 2013

boot from a live knoppix cd, and copy your data to an usb drive :



As I'm unfamiliar with Linux, I'd just like to know:  

1)  Can I simply add an external drive (via USB) after booting from that drive.
2)  Will I see the same/familiar file structure, where I can obtain the data?  Is there anything significantly different?  
3)  Recommended app to burn the iso image with?  
4)  Will this disk boot from a startup?  

Since I'm ONLY after the data, this sounds like a very viable solution.  


One more comment....

Microsoft lists an option that they call "parallel installation", leaving all programs, OS and data on the drive, but installing to a different folder.  

Is this a workable solution.   It's a bit suspicious, as there are no recommendations to follow this path.


Top Expert 2013

1 - yes, i've done it myself
2- structure of what?  the disk?  yes of course, it does not change anything
3- use any image burning tool (i use nero->find it in the backup section)
4- yes, that is what it's meant for

and yes, it's an easy solution for copying data from any not booting PC
**another note : you can use the cd for testing the hardware also, since it uses different OS and drivers
Top Expert 2013

not sure why i was not rewarded with some points at least ???

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