Reinstalling Windows XP

There are many reasons to reinstall an operating system. Sometimes folks forget to update their virus definitions, get a virus, and find themselves without an operating system. By the way, an operating system is something like Windows XP. It is the software that runs on your computer. It allows you to run applications like Word. Also, try this post if you are getting an unmountable boot volume message.

Many folks don’t like the thought of reinstalling their operating system. It seems like a mysterious alchemy. Don’t be afraid. You will be surprised just how easy this can be. Let’s walk through the process. First, you will need your XP install CD. Now, with many major computer vendors, they like to supply CD’s that reinstall all the applications and the operating system. So, that CD may not look like the standard XP reinstall CD. That CD has holographic backgrounds and other anti piracy techniques.

Booting from the CD
Go ahead and insert the CD into drive. Now, if the computer is on, turn it off the “right” way. Don’t simply hit the power button. Use the start menu to select to turn it off. Now, after the computer restarts, you should see a quick option that says, “Push any key now to boot from CD…” You won’t have a long time to push a key, so be quick. If you don’t see this, then your BIOS isn’t set up to boot from the CD first. Now, the BIOS is simply a set of software that gets your computer going. It hands off boot instructions to the operating system when that time comes. This software is housed in a BIOS chip on the motherboard, so it’s independent of the hard drive. That is how it can still boot, even if your hard drive is toast. Now, if you don’t see the above message, restart the machine. Look for a message about entering the BIOS or “setup.” It usually is an F2 or F10 key. These are the function keys at the top of your keyboard. Once you’re in the BIOS, you want to look for “boot” or “startup” options in the menus. These menus are keyboard driven. You will want the CD to be first in the boot order. This will allow you to see the above message and start the reinstall process.

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Once you start the CD install program, you will be greeted by a nice blue screen. It will load a bunch of files and end up at the above picture. This is the welcome screen. You want to push “enter” to start installing XP.

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Now you will be greeted by a nice license agreement. Push F8 to agree to it.

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Now you come to a decision. You can either install a fresh copy of XP or you can try to repair your broken version. If XP died because of a virus, I would highly recommend that you just install a fresh copy. You don’t want remnants of a virus on your machine. Okay, we are assuming that you want to do a fresh copy. Go ahead and press “Esc” to start reinstalling a fresh copy of XP.

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Now we come to repartitioning the drive. If you don’t understand partitions, you can read my article about partitions. Let’s go ahead and setup XP on the same partition. Let’s press the “enter” key.

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Now, press “C” to continue installing on the current partition.

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And now you are going to format the partition. I would select “Quick Format NTFS.” This is the top selection.

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Now you will be greeted with a screen that is copying files. This is starting the whole install process.

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And after a while, your computer will restart and start the second phase of the XP install. This is the more graphical part. You will be asked to name your computer, add a user account, etc. I’m going to show that as it’s pretty self explanatory. The end result is you should be up and running with a nice, fresh copy of XP!