How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install
It is extremely important that you backup important data that is not available from other media sources. This backup should be located on a separate hard drive, CD, DVD, network storage, etc. that will not be affected by the repair install.
Please check out the warning links before attempting the Repair Install. It is to your advantage you follow the suggestions to prevent data loss and especially if you also have the capability to boot into XP, perform the steps listed in the Warning #1 , before proceeding with the repair install.After completing [if Windows is still accessible] the steps listed to prevent data loss in warning #1 and you did not remedy the no boot situation, you can use an OEM XP Pro or Home, "retail" XP Home or Pro full or upgrade version CD of the same version Home or Pro to perform a Repair Install. OEM Restore disks or hidden restore folders on the hard drive will not work for the Repair Install.
A Repair Install will replace the system files with the files on the XP CD used for the Repair Install. It will leave your applications and settings intact, but Windows updates will need to be reapplied.
A Repair Install will replace files altered by adware and malware, but will not fix an adware, malware problem.
You can use the In place upgrade option to change a Product Key in the event you entered a key that was already activated. The In Place Upgrade also produces the same result as the Repair Install.
Alternate options to Change XP Product Key #18 on the FAQ list.
Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.
If you get a "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD." message, if you continue, you will need to apply the SP 2 updates after the repair install completes, plus you will need to take the following steps to keep your system from being immediately infected with a virus.
1. If you connect directly to the internet without a router or hardware firewall, disconnect from the internet by physically removing the connections cable, removing a wireless card, or any other means of internet connection.
2. After the Repair install is completed, enable the XP firewall or install third party firewall software or router before connecting to the internet.
If you get the "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.". You should create a slipstreamed copy of your XP CD by using the software and step by steps supplied in the links below.
If you cannot download Automatic updates after the Repair install , follow the steps in the link below submitted by MS-MVP's Richard Harper and Ron Martell.
Please read carefully and make sure you followed the warning links before initiating the Repair Install. You can print a text version for reference. repair.txt
Should you do a repair install and is it the best choice?A Repair Install is not foolproof and should not be considered the cure-all fix for non-boot situations.
Manually delete the Undo_guimode.txt file from the Windows\System32 folder
before you perform any of the actions that are listed in the "Symptoms"
section of this article. To do this in Windows XP, type the following command
at a command prompt:
KB Q312369Check the link below for an option for recovering from a non-boot event.
Also as a precaution the windows\system32\WPA.DBL and WPA.BAK should be copied to a floppy before doing a repair install. For more information see Alex Nichol's article on XP activation.
More articles to help prevent data loss.
You should complete the basic requirements of backing up all files and folders that cannot be restored from other media. This includes passwords, applications purchased and downloaded from the internet without CD support, financial records and folders, digital images that cannot be replaced...............
Backup copies of your registry files (in the %systemroot%\Repair folder) are also replaced after the in-place upgrade is complete. Copy these registry backups to another location before you perform an in-place upgrade/Repair Install. You may need to use them after the in-place upgrade is complete.
It would also be a good idea to run the Files And Settings Transfer wizard F.A.S.T located on the XP CD.
If you made unorthodox registry changes with third party software, there is the potential of data loss from a Repair Install. Another consideration of concern would be a power failure during the repair install could render your system un bootable and result in loss of data.
The likelihood of you losing the files and folders is probably of minimal risk, but you have to expect the worst and make sure you are prepared for recovery.
If you are sure you have explored all other troubleshooting avenues, then proceed with the repair install.
If you get a warning message: "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD."
You get this message when you use a pre-SP 1, SP2 XP CD on an XP installation that has been updated to SP1, SP2.
You have the options listed below.
AutoStreamer mirror link for AutoStreamer
If the Repair Option is not Available
What should I do? Most important do not ignore the information below!
If the option to Repair Install is NOT available and you continue with the install; you will delete your Windows folder and the Documents and Settings folders. All applications installed that place keys in the registry will need to be re-installed and will require the original install media.
You should exit setup if the repair option is not available and consider other options. I have found if the Repair option is not available, you have a few paths I have listed below to try before XP requires a Clean install.
Another option to consider (since the cost of 100 + gig hard drives has dropped to well under $75) would be to disconnect the current hard drive and install a clean XP from retail disks or restore media to a new hard drive. You can then connect the original hard drive after configuring the jumpers to a slave drive. You can retrieve important files. One thing to remember, if a hard drive has not been formatted or written over by reinstalling, the data is accessible. The less you access a hard drive after a non-boot episode; the better your chances of retrieving your data.
If you still have the ability to access the Windows XP installation, backup all important files not restorable from other sources before attempting any recovery console or other trouble shooting attempts.
Possible Fix by reconfiguring boot.ini using Recovery Console.
1.Boot with XP CD or 6 floppy boot disk set.
2. Press R to load the Recovery Console.
3. Type bootcfg.
4. This should fix any boot.ini errors causing setup not to see
the XP OS
5. Try the repair install.
One more suggestion from MVP Alex Nichol
"Reboot, this time taking the immediate R option and if the CD letter
is say K: give these commands
1. Type: attrib -h -r -s C:\boot.ini del C:\boot.ini
2. Type: BootCfg /Rebuild
Try the link below if the repair option is not available.
Here's Help. A salvage mission into the depths of Windows XP, explained by a non-geek
Feedback on success or failure of the above fixes would be greatly appreciated.
Please submit your solution to fix the repair install option as not available. New fixes submitted and verified will be posted with credit below.
Charlie Russel submitted this valuable information that if you have Symantec GO Back installed, you will not get an option to repair install until you disable it.(you will get a warning that you will lose your restore points.) You will then get the option to repair install.
Please submit your fixes. email@example.com
Updates must be applied before connecting to the internet after a repair install.
Reapply updates or service packs applied since initial Windows XP installation. Please note that a Repair Install using an Original pre service pack 1 or 2 XP CD used as the install media will remove SP1/SP2 respectively and service packs plus updates issued after the service packs will need to be reapplied.
An option I highly recommend; is creating a Slipstreamed XP CD with SP1, SP2, etc. .
Dell Restore link
This article will answer your questions about the Dell restore partitions and what if any options you have if they are corrupted, formatted or overwritten.
Related Microsoft KB Articles
You May Lose Data or Program Settings After Reinstalling, Repairing or Upgrading Windows XP (Q312369)
System Restore "Restore Points" Are Missing or Deleted (Q301224)
How to Perform an In-Place Upgrade (Reinstallation) of Windows XP (Q315341)