informa
/
Commentary

Langa Letter: XP's No-Reformat, Nondestructive Total-Rebuild Option

Fred Langa shows you how to completely rebuild, repair, or refresh an existing XP installation without losing data, and without having to reinstall user software, reformat, or otherwise destructively alter the setup.
You'll be asked if you want to register and--depending on how badly hosed the previous installation was -- you may or may not be asked to reactivate the copy of Windows. Next, the setup software handles the final networking details and then offers a "thank you" screen.


Screen Eighteen
The final steps in the Repair process pass very quickly, and you'll soon reach the last screen in the Repair operation, a "thank you."

(click image for larger view)

The final steps in the Repair process pass very quickly, and you'll soon reach the last screen in the Repair operation, a ''thank you.''

In most cases, the system will now reboot for a final time. The Repair is done. It's a normal boot, bringing you to the normal choices for login.


With a final, fully normal reboot, you're done. Your copy of XP should be as good as new, but with all your previously installed hardware, software, and user configuration data undamaged!
Screen Nineteen
With a final, fully normal reboot, you're done. Your copy of XP should be as good as new, but with all your previously installed hardware, software, and user configuration data undamaged!

(click image for larger view)

If all has gone as planned, you'll find all the user accounts and passwords intact, all the hardware devices set up as before, and all the previously installed software still installed and configured. In fact, if all has gone as planned, the only significant change will be that whatever problem your copy of XP was previously experiencing will now be gone!

You now have a range of repair tools at your disposal, ranging from simple on-the-fly fixes such as Registry cleaning and safe Mode fixes to Recovery Console fixes (see links in the beginning of this article) and, now, a nondestructive, no-reformat repair/rebuild option.

With this information, you should almost never have to face a dreaded start-over-from-scratch reformat/reinstall of XP!