Repair old Win XP install with NEW OS disk? (New OS disk could be WinXP or Win7)

Windows XP SP3 computer crashed. Could have been viral, although AVG was loaded, up to date, and doing daily scans.

Instead of starting from scratch, reformatting and installing all the programs on that hard drive, I'd like to "repair" the installation, but I cannot find the original installation CD.

Can I buy a NEW copy of Windows XP, SP3, and use that new disk to do a repair?


Can I buy Windows 7, and use that to upgrade to Windows 7, keeping the installed applications working without reformatting?


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Gary CaseConnect With a Mentor RetiredCommented:
Actually, the CD needs to be the same version as the OS it's repairing.

You can, however, make a CD from the MSDN media;  then make another CD with SP3 slipstreamed into that version -- which will give you an SP3 installation CD.

A variety of sites have instructions on how to slipstream the service pack.  Here are a couple of examples:

=> (using nLite):

=> (directly slipstreaming from the service pack):
You can buy a new copy of XP-SP3 and attempt the repair successfully.

I don't believe you can use Win 7 to attempt the repair.
If you install windows 7 it would be a clean install ...only old files and folders can be accessed.

In XP tap F8 key on boot and try booting in safe mode , networking, command prompt etc.

If able to boot then run system restore..

Do you get any error while trying to boot in xp.

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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
There are huge issues around licensing with the repair in XP you really need a copy of the disk that matches your current system (and it should be possible to get one). Please read this thoroughly so you know what needs to be done and the risks you run by using the wrong CD.
dtleahy--Note that it is sometimes possible to use an installation disk borrowed from someone else.  The disk would have to be of the same OS version and type as the existing installation.  You would use your original Product Key.  And you should read the link provided by MASQUERAID.
dtleahyAuthor Commented:
IMIronMan, ded9, and MASQUERAID, thanks for the quick replies.

MASQUERAID, even though I have issues with Billy Gates and Microsoft's greed -driven empire, I have never installed a stolen or bootlegged copy of Windows OS. (So far, that is. I would entertain the notion for this computer, because I have hit a wall with Microsoft.)

(from the article you linked)
XP installation CDs can come from a variety of sources.

- Retail versions - bought in store or online
- OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) versions - supplied by your PC builder
- Upgrade disks - from a qualifying licensed version of Windows
- Volume Licensed Media (VLK) - for corporate installs
- Microsoft subscriptions - MAPS, Technet, MSDN etc.

This computer was probably set up using a copy of Win XP from my MSDN Universal subscription. I still have the MSDN OS DVD. There is a slim chance it was a retail copy, and if so, that install disk and keycode is lost. I'm usually better about this, but oh well, here I am with this one.

I have tried making an installation CD from the MSDN DVD, and have ("had" might be correct now) a single key code written down. It did not work. It gets stuck in the repair when asked to supply the code, saying the code is not valid. (I no longer have a valid/current MSDN Universal subscription, and Microsoft said that since it has expired they will not give me any other keycode - like they would have done when it was a current subscription.)

I don't want to bother to buy a new copy of Win XP if it will not work for a repair. If it cannot be repaired, then I would buy Win 7 for this computer.

☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
If you can access the XP system still (or if you want to spend some time hunting through its registry hive offline) you can use the Lavasoft link in that article to identify what the original installation disk used was.  If you still had an MSDN subscription you could repair using that without modifying the licensing. The fundamental point of my article is whichever disk you use to repair with will change the installation to match it.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
If I understand your last post correctly, you DO have an installation CD (created from your MSDN media) ... you simply don't have a new key you can use.

Assuming that's the case;  and assuming the OS has simply crashed and the hard disk itself is okay;  all you need to do is attach the disk to another system and use the Magical Jelly Bean keyfinder utility to get your current XP key => then you can do the repair with your installation CD.    The free version is all you need:

Alternatively, you can simply boot to the Ultimate Boot CD.   MOST versions of this include the Magical Jelley Bean finder ... so you wouldn't have to bother moving the disk.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
But remember that Microsoft subscription licenses are only valid for the period of the subscription, so if you cancel a MAPS, MSDN or TechNet sub you can no longer use the software provided under that scheme.
MASQUERAID--Are you sure about the statement in http:#a37705403 ?  And when you say "use" do you mean new installation or using an existing installation from MSDN disks?

Re MSDN see  (current page)

And Re: Technet see
I was under the impression that any licenses acquired during the MSDN subscription period were good in perpetuity...  but anything released after the subscription expires is not included.

I agree with using JellyBean KeyFinder to extract the current key, loading the hive from another session (e.g. connect the hard drive to a USB adapter), if needed.
Stephen McTigueAssistant Director of Information TechnologyCommented:
Does the system boot in safe mode? If so, I would recommend trying a System Restore to see if you can get the computer working properly again. This way you don't have to worry about trying to find the installation CD.

As an aside, can you locate the manufacturer CDs that came with the computer (ie. Dell, HP, IBM disks)? Often these systems come with CDs labeled with their logo but they are actually Windows reinstall/recover CDs.

dtleahyAuthor Commented:
I just increased the points to 500. I know none of you are giving me your time unselfishly because of points, but as a gesture of thanks, it is now 500.

Late this evening, I'll try hooking up that computer again (another box with inferior hardware is occupying that space right now), and will try with the Ultimate Boot CD with Magical J
Jelly Bean keyfinder utility to get the keycode.

The MSDN DVD that I have is WinXP sp1a. So, I hope that a CD made from that DVD can repair an installation with SP3 OS. (Of course, that computer had been upgraded to SP3, using the online "Windows Update.")

If indeed it would prove to be true that the keycode had expired and I was not allowed to run that computer with that OS, then at least it would be repaired and I could put Win7 update on it sometime soon.

The computer will not boot in safe mode. Actually, after hooking up the other (inferior) computer, I set the dead box aside, and it has been at least a month - and I don't recall the exact error message, but was probably "Disk Boot Failure."

There is no "OEM" OS disk - this machine and all the previous ones I've owned since the 8088 chip were all assembled by me. :~) This machine may have been originally installed with a retail copy of Win XP Pro, or else the burned CD made from the MSDN CD - I cannot remember which.

hahahahaha well, this browser session I'm on just crashed. My new record is having 158 tabs open simultaneously. But I digress...

Will try the jellybean late tonight.

Thanks much to all of you for the suggestions!

nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if you have XP SP3 installed somewhere, you can make the install CD from it, and use that for repairing the PC (i made the CD myself, and it works fine)
☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Sorry to have "disappeared" for a bit, you can blame time zone mainly :)
Looking at it this morning my comment about subscriptions comes across completely wrong, what I meant was you can't download images from an expired sub, it seemed in your original question that you had lost the installation CD and that it was from an old MSDN account.

Looks like you're on course though, if it is an MSDN install grab the key as described slipstream the installation CD you make from the DVD with the SP3 download and then repair reinstall with that and the extracted key (remember to add any SATA controller drivers if needed).  The pedant in me wants to also get the original installation's productID to be certain what the original source CD was but this is academic if the key and CD work on the repair.
dtleahyAuthor Commented:
I'm not dead yet. Just had several other issues more pressing. Will jump back on this ASAP.


I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 168 points for garycase's comment #37706188
Assisted answer: 166 points for MASQUERAID's comment #37706401
Assisted answer: 166 points for nobus's comment #37706321

for the following reason:

This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
dtleahyAuthor Commented:
I apologize for being tardy. An emergency programming job came up and swallowed all of my time. I am nearly finished with it, and intend to come back to this question.

Thank you for your patience.


Implementing CS recommendation, per CS and lacking author input, question is force closed.

Community Support Moderator
I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

Accepted answer: 0 points for garycase's comment #37706188
Assisted answer: 0 points for nobus's comment #37706321
Assisted answer: 0 points for MASQUERAID's comment #37706401

for the following reason:

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