How to reinstall Windows, but keep the old partition

Hi guys,
Ok here is the thing, my friend's laptop got fudged.

Win XP is not booting up, so I know that i have to reinstall it, but he wants his data backuped before this.

So the only way is for me to reinstall Windows over the existing partition in hope that it will be stable enough for him to backup his data. Then normal - format - FRESH WinXP install.

But the thing is, I can't reinstall Win XP, sometimes it says: c partition 'format unknown', so there is no option to keep the existing partition but only to format (which I can't because of the data on the hdd). Other times when it reckognises the partition format, it says that it can't create folder 'windows' (during Windows installation)
Sometimes it isn't the 'windows' folder but some sub folder that can't be created. I do not know why is that happening, except maybe hdd has 'boot virus' maybe? And the process of checking the HDD during windows install is so very slow, so is the 'thing' where it checks for previous windows copies on the hdd.

Any thoughts?

Any way to backup the data?
Sorry for the mini-book I wrote.

*Edit* it is WinXP pro */Edit*
8 answers Last reply
More about reinstall windows partition
  1. You can buy an adapter to be able to hook the notebook HD up to a desktop's IDE controller. You can go this way to see if another computer can acess the drive. I'd be willing to bet you'll have problems though. It sounds like the drive may be dieing or the file system is corrupt (possible bad sectors on the drive.) It's worth a shot though and is fairly cheap.
  2. Thanks man, I'll suggest your idea to my friend. The more and more I spend time on this hdd it is becoming more and more unstable. So you are most likely correct - it is dying slowly - and painfully.

  3. Get SpinRite 6.0, and run it on this drive at Level 4.

    You can download and prep it on another comp.

    This utility will restore data to good sections, and mark off the bad as unusable. It should get you to a point of Data retrieval at least.

    Good investment! Run it on all your hd's every 6 months.
  4. Thanks man i will definatelly check it out.

    Since yesterday, i was able to go into the 'repair console' and do a 'fixboot' which fixed the corrupted boot sector, but every time comp is restarted after that it corrupts again.

    Thanks once again, I'll try out that program.
  5. Quote:
    Get SpinRite 6.0, and run it on this drive at Level 4.

    Nice tip, I'll check out this program. :wink:
  6. It is a good program, except my HDD is so F%&$# up that it will take 6 days to scan (if i am lucky),

    but my question is: can I leave a laptop running for that long (4-6 days)?

    And which level should I chose for fixing the bad sectors, or at least removing them from active partition so i can reinstall windows?
    Or are the sectors fixed as they are checked?

  7. No problem if it's plugged into the wall, and the room is cool, and the little fan in there is working.

    You have to run Level 4 to restore data.

    If it's 40-60g, should be 2-3 days if you're badly corrupt.

    Don't worry about what happens to the sectors. They stay fixed in place, but become marked as bad, not to be used.
  8. Thanks man, still going strong, 22% after 2 days, that means that the HDD is really really corrupt.
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