Perform A Windows XP Repair Install

We here at PCTechbytes have been asked numerous times how one could fix an Operating System issue without a reformat and loss of data and programs. Sometimes a program is not reinstallable because the product key is long since gone or the install disc has been lost in the shuffle. Whatever your reasons may be, you need to reinstall the Operating System without loosing all of the precious info. That is where a Windows Repair comes in handy. It’s a great idea to make a backup of all your data in the event that a dieing hard drive is the root cause of the issue or something happens in the repair process. Then you are guaranteed not to loose anything should something go awry.

Reinstalling Windows Avoiding Confusion

When most people give information over the internet to others in need, they are not the most thorough in doing so. Big case in point is with the Windows Repair. If all someone said was, “insert the OS disc and hit “R” for it to begin the Repair” you would not be getting very far. Follow these steps and you will have your PC’s Operating System back up in no time.

The first step, outside of grabbing your installation CD, is heading into the BIOS and changing the Boot Order unless the POST gives a Quick Boot option, usually a F10/F11/F12/ESC. Once that small step is done, load the OS CD and boot from it. You should see a screen as follows:

Just tap a key on the keyboard. Windows does this because it senses that there is another installation on the disk and wants to be sure you are meaning to boot off of the disk. Next it will bring you to the Starting Install screen and will present you with a couple choices of which one is to “To repair a Windows XP installation using the Recovery Console, press R“. We do not want to click on this first Repair as the one we need will be two screens later. Hit “Enter” and then “F8” to agree to the Terms ULA.

Now, if you have the right CD for the version of XP that is installed on the internal HDD, you should see the “Hit ‘R’ for Repair” on this screen. Hit it to begin the Windows Repair!

You will be prompted several times throughout the Reinstall process for odds and ends questions such as the Regional Language, whether you want to be part of a Workgroup or a Domain, Microsoft Registration, and a new User Name, all similar to doing a fresh install. Just continue through those as you normally would. If you have never installed XP from scratch before, these are all very simple straightforward questions and should be answered accordingly. You can skip the Microsoft Registration if you would like to. And you are back in action!


After going through the above processes successfully, you should be back at your familiar Windows XP desktop. You may have to re-activate your copy of Windows but should be able to do it over the network and avoid the lengthy call to MS. It is as simple as that to be back up and running after removal of a bad virus, corrupt registry, busted program, or from numerous other ailments. Since this way saves all of your data and programs, it is a far superior method to backing up, installing, and reapplying data although it is not a one stop fixit for all situations.

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