Best way to reinstall XP w/o formatting h/d?

I only have 1 40gb h/d and i seriously need to reinstall xp to solve a whole load of problems. However, I have 12gb of mp3s I don't wanna lose so a simple format is outta the question.

Any suggestions as to how I can reinstall xp w/o losing my mp3s? And please don't say burn all 12gb to CD! <cry>

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by arkus on 03/09/03 12:49 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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More about best reinstall formatting
  1. get a second hard drive? format and install xp on that, then make your old hard drive a slave to it and save all your mp3's to new hard drive,format old one,then keep all your mp3's,photos etc on the slave drive. unless you know someone who has a spare drive you can use
    regards waggers
  2. My best possible guess, is to grab a partition program like Partition Magic or from the Windows XP setup interface, OR even FDisk if not on NTFS. Then create a partition now on your current drive, that is bigger than 12GB obviously. Then transfer all your personal data on it, including your load of MP3s. It may take a bit of time transfering such size, but once done, you can format the portion of the drive that has Windows XP on it, and safely install a fresh clean one. This way your drive has a part which houses all your personal data AND you can format safely the OS installation and destroy a bug-load of problems!

    OTHERWISE, you can do it the fastest way, although I cannot guarantee anything, by running the Windows setup at bootup, and choosing the option to REPAIR the Windows installation (NOT the Recovery Console option), if not reinstall it entirely, which involves removing your user profile and pretty much clearing all documents and settings, and all folders RELATING to Windows (like My Documents, My Pictures) itself. This does not generally include your music, unless it is inside such folders mentioned previously.
    I am not experienced in reinstallations or repair reinstallations so I don't know whether it is the most effective way to fix all problems and keep your files intact. (may include reinstalling programs and patches)

    This post is brought to you by Eden, on a Via Eden, in the garden of Eden. :smile:
  3. hi

    i have reinstalled xp about 3 times now without formating due to the exact same problem you have, i didnt feel like moving a whole bunch of data.

    what i have done is the following:

    1. boot of off the CD or XP startup disk and go into maintenance mode either F4 or F5 or F8, i forgot which, follow the appropriate options until it gives you he command prompt access without actually loading the OS from your HD.

    make sure here that on your startup disk, you have the current xp utility for reseing file attributes, manually creating directories, deleting, moving, etc.

    2. after you boot from teh CD or boot disk and NOT from the HD where the OS is installed, make sure you boot into command prompt and not into the graphic user interface. if you start up with graphics, reboot and try another of the options until you are in good old DOS style command prompt.

    3. switch directory to he root drive where the Win XP is installed and reset all files attributes (*.*) to visible. you will find a whole crap of hidden stuff that is there. then do teh same in your main user directory, windoes dir, and program files dir.

    note here: sometimes you have to type in the entire path to the command where the attribute utility is located, most likely the one you booted from if you created it correctly, for example: d:/utils/attrib -h c:/*.* you can learn about the commends from the help included in the win xp itself, real easy to access and simply read up on it for an hour or so, it will give you the syntax and everything.

    4. after you reset the hidden attribute and everything becomes properly visible, remove the read-only and system attributes from the directories i mentioned above.

    5. at this point, reboot and go back to the exact same prompt mode, i dont know why but my HDs regarless of brands and systems all hang during next part if i do not reboot first.

    6. deltree c:/windows
    deltree c:/progra~
    deltree c:/documen~

    etc. etc. until all the directories which you do not want to keep are gone. deltree, delete or other utilities (rd or alike) are still there underneath it all.

    7. after you remove all the directories, switch to root, usually c:/ and delete everything except io.sys file. everything else can safely and easily go on its merry way.

    8. reboot back to the original HD, at this point if you did everything right, your comp should give you system failure or boot disk failure, something liek that, win should not start upo at all, not even command prompt, nothing. the HD should not work. if you did it wrong, it wil lkick in some weird auto repair options and try to repair itself. then go back to command prompt and keep deleting more until all windows components are gone.

    9. reboot again, this time into normal installation mode. when you boot from CD and/or start up disk this time, just run the regular installation to the drive. the file system is already there and teh HD will not be formatted, but everything will be new and shining sorta. with the directories you left behind on your HD.

    it sounds a bit complicated but its really very simple once you get the hang of it. just acess the dos prompt help files and see. o and almost every command has its own explanation switch, for example dir, for directory, type dir /? and see what comes up, then type help, it will give you a list of all available commands, make sure you copy them all to your startup. they are also located on teh win xp CD but then you have to type in teh whole paths etc.

    godd luck
  4. Thanks for solid advice people.

    I'm curious about Fdisk, having hardly ever used it before... guess I'll have to check out some info on it. Setting up a partition on the existing 40gb and copying the files sounds painless. And although mebbe it'll take a while shouldn't require too much input from me.
  5. You may want to check out the Radified Guide to Fdisk here I don't know if it addresses ntfs, but it does a great job of putting fat 32 fdisk into laymens terms. There is no point in spending $70 or so dollars on Partition Magic when this utitlity works excellent, and is free.

    A man is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. Abe Lincoln
  6. found something else you might be interested in, it's another disk partitioning utility that has a lot more features than MS fdisk, and it too is free. It's at, look for XP boot disks, it's the first option, then choose custom XP boot disc. download it, it's self extracting, save it somewhere, then open it up and look at the folder "AEfdisk". It is 100% command line driven, but all the commands are right there to look at. They are also in the read me. LOL

    A man is just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. Abe Lincoln
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