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Just upgraded; what to do about Windows?

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January 25, 2008 3:20:01 AM

I just upgraded my homebuilt with a new mobo and CPU among other things. I repurposed the hard drive with my orignal Windows XP load. I have a legal OEM copy of Windows XP Pro SP2, the CD is in the drive, and the machine boots fine from the CD as I told it to do, but I'm not exactly sure what to do from there. Windows Setup does a lot of checking and loading when I boot from the CD, and then offers me three choices: to set up Windows XP (a fresh install?) to let me run the recovery console (which just leads to a command prompt), or to quit.

Can anyone clarify what my next step is? Do I just say to set up Windows, or is there something I should do in the recovery console? My main concern is that I don't want it formatting my hard drive if I do the wrong thing; it's the only one I have. :p  Many thanks for any help.

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January 25, 2008 4:27:17 AM

If you cant boot into windows from the hard drive, then the only option you have is a fresh install which will reformat your hard drive. If you can still boot into windows from the hard drive you should maybe backup your data to some DVD's or buy a cheap external hard drive. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE A SPARE HARD DRIVE.

I hope you can still backup your data, otherwise you will need another hardrive to install to so you dont lose anything.

January 25, 2008 4:54:25 AM

Sorry Beurling, that's not quite right. He can do a new install of windows without formatting the HDD. Only he'll want to backup his data ASAP and then format and load clean.

Red_Onion, your OEM copy may not work on the new motherboard. Especially if it came pre-installed from Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, Acer, etc. Those versions of OEM OS's are typically tied directly to the BIOS information on the manufacturer's motherboard. If you have a "generic" over the counter OEM copy, then you'll be fine.

Might I suggest you spend about $50 and buy a cheap new hard drive to cleanly install windows on? Then, once you get your system up and running with ONLY that drive installed/connected, power down and attach your old drive so you can get to the data on it. You could even just copy that data over to the new drive, verify you have everything you need, then wipe the old drive and use it for other data or as just a game drive.

I typically run 2 or 3 drives in my PCs. The first is the OS drive (now dual booting XP Pro and Vista Business) while the second is my games and junk. If I need to reinstall the OS, I don't have to worry about losing my data (game saves) and stuff.
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January 25, 2008 5:01:51 AM

Pretty everything I would have suggested has been said.
January 25, 2008 9:42:15 AM

Thanks folks. FYI, my OEM copy of Windows is over-the-counter; I bought it when I built the original machine. Others have told me that I'll have to re-activate over the phone with Microsoft, but that it should work; I'm crossing my fingers. Thanks again for the replies.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2008 10:42:36 AM

HOLD ON...HOLD ON. When Windows asks you what you want to do, select "New install" then it will search your drives and find your old XP installation, it will then ask you if you want to do a new installation, OR repair your current one. You can do a REPAIR at this point. It will reinstall, (acting just like a new installation) refreshing all drivers for your new hardware, and leave all your programs and files intact.

That recovery thing at the start-up is useless. Just do the New-install, then when it asks again, do a repair install.
January 25, 2008 1:19:45 PM

jitpublisher said:
HOLD ON...HOLD ON. When Windows asks you what you want to do, select "New install" then it will search your drives and find your old XP installation, it will then ask you if you want to do a new installation, OR repair your current one. You can do a REPAIR at this point. It will reinstall, (acting just like a new installation) refreshing all drivers for your new hardware, and leave all your programs and files intact.

That recovery thing at the start-up is useless. Just do the New-install, then when it asks again, do a repair install.


PERFECT. You're exactly right, and when I did as you suggested, all my original settings were kept for all my users (even things like desktop settings). Some of my programs may need to be reinstalled--haven't tested everything yet--but it's like I'm looking at the old machine but with dandy new speed. :) 

FYI, when you do this after swapping all the things I swapped (including mobo and processor), you have to re-activate Windows within 3 days. I didn't have network connectivity yet, but Microsoft provides a toll-free phone number in the US for Windows XP activation, and the entire thing was completed in less than 10 minutes using their automated voice system. I didn't have to sit on hold and the whole process was dead simple.

Thanks again for all the help!
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