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Help with one final reinstall of XP before support goes away

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 7, 2014 7:42 AM PST

Need help with one final reinstall of XP before support goes away

Hello. Before Windows XP support totally goes away, I am thinking about wiping everything off of my laptop to do a fresh install with Service Packs 2 and 3, and all of the updates. I was wondering if your community members could post instructions on how to re-install XP one last time to rebuild an XP machine from scratch (essentially). Also, if you could kindly please let me know if there are any pointers for do's and don't's that I should be aware of before I proceed, that would be very helpful. Thank you.

-- Submitted by: Marie M.
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I recommend moving on
by MightyDrakeC / February 7, 2014 9:54 AM PST

How long do you plan on using this machine? Within a few months it's going to be very risky to surf with XP. Is it really worth it? For just a few hundred dollars you can get a new machine that's *much* faster.

I know that seems like a lot. But, how much is it worth if you catch a malware that downloads something that crashes your machine and loses all your photos and documents? Or, downloads a keylogger and they get into your bank and credit card accounts?

How long did this last machine last? Probably at least 8 years? That probably works out to around $50/year. I expect your next machine will have an even lower cost/year.

I have a couple of secondary XP machines that I'm retiring. I may reformat one and use it as a MAME machine, or some other dedicated function. But, I don't plan on ever surfing with those machines, again.


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Moving on from Windows XP
by wwgorman / February 14, 2014 10:51 AM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

I gave thought to the process of whether to stay with XP or upgrade to Windows Vista and keep all my old programs. I upgraded to Windows Vista by purchasing an upgrade CD. It worked just fine but for some reason (I blame Java) Firefox was "jumpy" on some websites. This was annoying because one website I visit several times a day. The Wall Street Journal On-Line, was one of the sites. Nothing I tried calmed it down. I did the next step and upgraded to Windows 7 (I already had an upgrade I bought before the formal issue on an Amazon special so for $50 I had already spent, I upgraded). I am happy. Updating the drivers, Java, and installing ALL Windows Updates did the trick and my computer handles all websites as intended.

So, I agree with MightyDrake C above so I'm not much help to your clean install of Windows XP

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I fing this interesting
by skier04 / February 14, 2014 11:28 AM PST

I have a Dell desktop that was sold with Vista before WIN7 came out. I had Dell install XP Pro so I could run some old programs that were not ready for Vista. Recently I ran Microsoft WIN7 test(?) and it says I cannot upgrade to WIN7 because there are no drivers for some of the components, which are all OEM. I can go up to Vista because I have the OEM disks from Dell but cannot go to WIN7. You were lucky(?) that your computer upgraded to Win7 from XP.
To those re-installing XP, give yourself a week so you can update, reboot, update, reboot, on infinitum. It took me a week to finish the last time I did it.

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Win 7 drivers
by AlienTransplant / February 14, 2014 3:02 PM PST

While not 100%, many Vista drivers will operate with Win 7. If you have the time, it may be worthwhile trying the Vista drivers with Win 7 and see if they work. I am running Win 7 on several P-4 machines without a problem. The one difficulty I do encounter is audio card drivers. I find the newer cards are needed, but they are not very costly. I think most laptops which were released with Vista originally will work with Win 7. You may need to check the manufacturer's website for updated drivers or bios.

Basically, Win 7 requires less resources than Vista did. If you have a 1 GHz or higher processor, and 1 GB of RAM it will work, Obviously, more RAM and a higher speed processor helps. The better the graphics card you can use, and the more on board or shared memory it can access, the more snappy the system will be.

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You should have no problem
by waytron / February 16, 2014 8:04 PM PST

The first thing to do here is to go to the Dell website and check for Windows 7 drivers there for you specific model. If they do not offer Windows 7 drivers, then check for Vista Drivers. Depending on what you find, you will then decide on whether to install Windows 7 32 bit or 64 bit. May Vista drivers will work in Windows 7. If you cannot find what you want there, Go into Device Manager and write down all the hardware items that you have and search on Google for Drivers.

I have updated many Dell computers with XP and Vista to Windows 7 and the worst problem I had on one model was I needed to install a new network card for $10.

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Great suggestions But the devil is in the details as theysay
by HelpMePleaseCNET / February 17, 2014 9:25 AM PST

I have Dell Optiplex 320 (see a posting above) I got 2 years ago for just $180. I use a lot of programs with high CPU requirements so that is why I got the Pentium D. Computer was altered by the prior user and has a better Video card NVIDIA . I not only checked I asked Dell professionals while I was still under warranty when I got the unit and they confirmed that there is no way, no drivers available for my computer to upgrade to Windows 7 (that is why I knew I got it for a song to replace my older 2000 Computer--white box).
The problem---- if you check the specs--- is that everything will work with Windows 7 but the Video Card. That is very expensive to replace and nothing made will cover the Windows 7 upgrade as a plug and play. I found a website that has 200 "whew!" instructions in Reg Edit, etc just to fix the Video Card to work with Windows 7 and the last one says "now insert the Windows 7 upgrade disk and follow its instructions". I'm not that good with Reg Edit commands and no one of course is willing to do this for "free" so I'm up the creek without a paddle, can't afford a new computer and can't get a used one from the same source as he was clear that everyone wants to keep their Windows 7 Professional OS computers and not give them up, certainly not for what I spent.
I have all old hardware from XP times, so long ago I knew that none of them would upgrade to Vista as the companies produced new products for Vista so again while I have a great XP Professional system its all going to go away as of April 8. Of course I can use it offline but its 7 years old already and how long can it live like that? I need a more modern solution that would run Windows 7 so I can slowly migrate program by program over seeing what works and what is too old for the Product Keys to function.
Any other suggestions out there? (Unemployed and disabled so just don't say save up money, I've been doing that and something always comes along as a crisis expenditure and there it goes, the rainy day fund is empty again).

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Don't Panic
by waytron / February 17, 2014 7:03 PM PST

First of all, it is not all going away on April 8th. Just because Microsoft is not going to support XP does not mean the world is going to end for Windows XP on that day.
Do you know if your computer had integrated video before the video card was upgraded. Is there another video connector on the back that may be covered with a black cap? If so, you could simply remove the upgraded video card and use the internal video. If that is not an option, you can purchase a new video card that is Windows 7 compatible for around $35. Please give me the service tag number on your Dell so I can look it up?

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As waytron says, Don't panic
by netsiu / February 21, 2014 1:24 PM PST

A few years back i built new and installed Win 7, because three years past Microsoft no longer supporting 2000 the web started not supporting IE 6. Firefox was good for a while but it too started not accessing some web sites.
So your XP will be ok for a couple more years.

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Not quite correct
by theexbrit / February 22, 2014 2:49 AM PST

That's actually not strictly true. It depends on what version of XP you have. I upgraded from XP Professional to Win 7 with no problem at all, but I couldn't upgrade from Vista Home to Win 7. Also, why would you want to "upgrade" to Vista? Vista sucks & was one of the worst OS's put out by Microsoft (along with Windows ME).

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Vista got better
by MrKnobs / February 22, 2014 6:34 AM PST
In reply to: Not quite correct

As they released the various service packs, Vista gradually morphed into something very similar to what we know now as Win7. It's like they built the guts of Win7 piece by piece with all of us Vista owners as the (unwitting) beta testers.

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I'm telling people not to panic
by AlienTransplant / February 14, 2014 2:54 PM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

The truth is, whether you are speaking about XP or any other Microsoft OS, the security on them was never great. What kept XP "safe" was good web hygiene, a firewall, (preferably one software, one hardware on a router), an up to date anti-virus product, an anti-malware product, and keeping away from the parts of Win XP which talk directly with the internet which Microsoft stopped upgrading, which is Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express or Outlook, and maybe Office.

Most anti-virus companies are continuing to support XP for years to come (including free ones), even Microsoft is keeping Microsoft Security Essentials updated for XP for the next year or two, although it almost always comes out as the bottom protection in AV tests, so I'd avoid it. There are several updated web browsers and email clients (I use Firefox and Thunderbird). Oh, also turn off JAVA. It has been a massive security problem. Make sure you keep up to date with your AV and malware software and any updates to Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash, since they also create vulnerabilities.

It isn't a perfect solution, but we know all Microsoft OSs are swisscheese when it comes to security. What I find interesting is many businesses and banks are not leaving XP, and you'd think they would be much more concerned.

The other consideration for some would be to use your XP system off line for whatever you need it for (storage, documents, word processing, images, videos, etc) and then use a tablet for your on line surfing, email, etc.

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Re: I'm telling people not to panic.
by radford / February 18, 2014 12:44 PM PST

I am thinking of doing just that, keeping XP for correspondence etc,and getting an IPad. for surfing. My question is; can you still use a wireless printer with an IPad by sending stuff from IPad to my off line XP? How would that work? I'm confused and haven't reconciled my life without "old Betsy XP"

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Use a wifi printer
by JebBaker / February 18, 2014 9:45 PM PST

Wifi printers are now under $80.00, I've used an HP for over 2 years now that allows printing from any of the pc's, laptop, and iPads that are in our home. The printer in no longer tethered to any PC and you can plug it in anywhere in the house.

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by Blonde / February 16, 2014 4:42 AM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

Your reply is really unhelpful considering a lot of people can not afford to upgrade. You may want to consider using a free os like Linux mint with you think that you no longer feel safe on xp...just remember that every thing takes time to figure out. Remember if you are on a site that the url address starts with https: The (s) meaning that it is a secure site. Some people may not use their pc for banking & other stuff. They may just use it for gaming & such. Re installing windows xp is pretty simple just follow the steps when the cd promps you. If you have any problems after the reinstall just remember google is your friend. You can basically find out how to do any thing if you google it. I know I was forced to use windows 7 on my new laptop & I hate it...I have worked on friends pc with windows 8 & I hate it...Need to use classic shell to even consider using widows 8. It is like using a cell phone & unless you like & know how to get around cell phones your gonna hate windows 8 Sad Always check out the videos on youtube too so you can watch the process of the task you are trying to complete is always helpful.

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I say "Hang In There"!
by gtmark11 / February 16, 2014 5:28 PM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

I certainly can't afford to upgrade now. I am running XP Pro on an IBM Thinkpad (pentium-4, circa 2002), A Gateway Performance 600 (pentium-3, circa 1998), and a computer which was possibly made by a failed start-up which I found in a dumpster (pentium-4, Abit IT7Max MB which places it circa 2002). The latter I got to work after experimenting with the clocking (clocked down from 2.4 ghz to 1.8). It is now my best computer. 2 gigs of ram on it. So I say screw this throw away society and keep on keeping on if XP still works for you! From all of the comments I have seen here and other places XP is still #1. I have heard good things about W'7 and my "dumpster" computer can mb handle it but I don't have the cash- do you? I will be staying with XP for many more years to come. I say we XP lovers should unite in a global front and petition Microsoft to finish the developement of XP 64 bit. In the mean time I will be nursing my 12 and 14 year old machines (probably until I die) and be happily using XP 32 bit. My only problem is browser demands. What happened? They continuously demand more resources. Same with flash. I find these to be the only drawbacks;.

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A suggestion for everyone
by HelpMePleaseCNET / February 17, 2014 9:43 AM PST
In reply to: I say "Hang In There"!

Thanks for your views. I'm maybe out of touch with rest of computing groups but I do think XP (Professional I use) is still #1, I'm used to it and I've used Windows 7 on others computer and can't get used to it, and Windows 8 is just not ready to run the programs I use so I'm stuck trying to either keep XP going or upgrade someday to Windows 7...

Anyway, you got me to thinking about Microsoft, what is against someone (or a group of people, or even CNET, unless there are copyright problems) about copying off all the essential items such as SP 1 SP2 SP3 and other items from the Microsoft website (I know it huge but maybe just the essential ones that keep crashing out?), and run that site as what is called a shadow (?) site long after Microsoft has ended its support?

Can't we just access that site? I know there is something called "Torrents" browers out there that mirror other sites and don't seem to mind or flaunt copyright rules and get away with it... I hope I have the right name not looking it up at same time I'm typing here on XP.
Someone let me know if this should be a separate thread and I'll repeat my statement and question asking if this type of site is possible to create. Maybe someone can fund it or ask for support like Wikipedia does in donations to keep it running for all of us XP aficionados out there...

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Id love to get WIndows 7 Professional
by HelpMePleaseCNET / February 17, 2014 8:57 AM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

I'd Love to get Windows 7 Professional as I need it and still have old programs that need that computational level/speed, but I just can't afford the "all at once" that price..
You say correctly its only $50 a year Great! But who is going to let me buy a new computer at "$50" a year? They want extras and of course I'd need to upgrade all my programs (hundreds I got for free when XP no longer wanted by others!) So I'm up the creek without a paddle trying to upgrade and I can't.
[P.S. I'll reply to another thread below but short story is I'm using XP Professional on a Dell OptiPlex 320 2007 computer I got two years ago for just $180-- used but same source says there is NO ONE selling off their Windows 7 computers as they are in demand right now, not obsolete... And computer (details if you require it) has ALMOST everything needed for Windows 7 but the Video Board, and Dell refuses to make drivers for it...
I found a site with about "whew!" 200 steps to get around that problem (last step is "insert the Windows 7 upgrade disk!) just so I can install Windows 7 in my old 2007 computer (only used by me 2 years!), but , but... I'm not that good following Reg Edit commands like that, and no one willing to do this for "free" so I'm back again with huge costs for a new system as I don't trust the Ebay ones just someone who I know in person and trust to get me a good used computer... hope that makes sense and we can have discussion about this.. (I do know about Linux, Unix open source free software but again I don't have the passwords for the OLD programs I'm using as their web sites have closed down for reinstalling all my programs on those, all I can hope is by directly UPGRADING from XP to Windows 7 and therefore no reinstalls are needed (just working with compatibility) and no loss of data in transferring...(of course I have backups) but I need a computer that can take Windows 7 hopefully with a warranty like other one had from Dell.]

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No Risk...too much worry
by BuriedBone / February 20, 2014 2:20 PM PST
In reply to: I recommend moving on

MS might be dropping their support for XP but that doesn't mean it's going to be the #1 target for hackers. For the most part they're already going after the majority and that means infiltrating Win 7 and 8 as well as other new operating systems such as Android.
The only ones dropping XP are the creators of it. All antivirus software companies will continue looking out for their XP clients. I have an old machine on my network that I never bothered upgrading to sp3 and it's never had an incident. It's protected.

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Plan and Prepare
by rje49 / February 7, 2014 10:14 AM PST

1- You need an install disk for Windows XP, preferably provided by your computer maker.
2- You need to save all your personal files, etc. on to other media - DVDs, USB drives, etc.
3- You will need disks to re-install other software you paid for. Make a list of all your installed programs and how you will re-install them.
4- You may need to save you e-mail - if you don't use web-based email.

I'll leave the procedures for others to explain. It may be simple if you've done it a few times, but if you've never done it before there are a lot of details that need to be done correctly.
You may be lucky and have all needed drivers installed with the XP install (that's why the mfg. install disk is best). If drivers are missing, finding correct drivers can be a challenge. One important note; SP3 (which includes SP2) must be installed before any other MS updates will download or install.

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Solid Advice.
by solbot / February 15, 2014 8:46 AM PST
In reply to: Plan and Prepare

The only thing that I would add is to go to Microsoft and get the downloads rather than wait for them to auto-install. The bonus to this is that should you ever need to re-install again, you'll have the needed downloads available ie SP2, SP3 etc. Just save them to a thumb drive and keep it in a safe place.

If you lock down XP and keep good browsing habits you should be OK, just be aware that if something new comes down the pike, you may not be covered.

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At last!
by theexbrit / February 22, 2014 2:57 AM PST
In reply to: Plan and Prepare

Finally someone answered the OP's question. This was supposed to be how to reinstall XP, not a debate about the virtues of each Windows OS!!!!!

When you have all the items listed by rje & have backed up all your files, insert the XP disc, boot to it, choose to format the drive & then reinstall XP. Put all your saved stuff back on, reinstall your favorite programs & you're good to go. This is a simplified version of install instructions but the XP install disc will take you through it step by step. Just make sure you boot to the install CD & the rest is easy.

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Pretty much.... but....
by MrKnobs / February 22, 2014 6:36 AM PST
In reply to: At last!

... you gotta have the matrix drivers for the motherboard when it asks you to press F6. Otherwise, you'll get stuck with the MS generic storage drivers and your system could be substantially slower.

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How to installl XP
by ben_myers / February 7, 2014 10:25 AM PST

Best to install directly from a Windows XP install with SP3 already included. You don't have one? Find one. It will save a few hours of installing, rebooting and installing. Already, after a clean install of Windows XP with SP3, there are still hundreds of updates, over half a gigabyte of updates. Why didn't Microsoft do a Service Pack 4? Because they are arrogant Microsoft. But before you install XP again, you MUST take inventory of all the hardware device drivers that are currently installed in your system, then go to the web site of the manufacturer and download all of them, writing them to flash or burning a CD. Why? Because the Windows XP install CD, even with SP3, dates from 2002, and does not incorporate the hardware device drivers for newer systems. With the device drivers, you have the basics of what you need to install XP.

1. Run the XP install, and enter the product key when requested. I am assuming you have an install CD or DVD (Media Center) with SP3.
2. Install the drivers for the MOTHERBOARD chipset, and reboot when asked to do so. This is the most important step to be done after the Windows install itself. If you do not do this first, the rest can be unpredictable.
3. Next, install all the other device drivers in any order, and do not waste your time rebooting when asked.
4. Exception: When you have installed the last device driver, reboot.
5. Now download and install Internet Explorer 8 and reboot. This saves some needless updates done by Windows Update.
6. Next, install all the updates, and more updates, and more updates.
7. Include the "optional" Root Certificates, because these allow IE to authenticate web sites properly. Why "optional"? Ask outgoing Steve Ballmer. I'm sure he does not have a clue. DUMB, when the root certificates help to keep your computer safe. They are mandatory.
8. Then there are Java, Acrobat Reader, Flash and anything else you like to make your system do what you want.

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Not bad, but you left out one ESSENTIAL step
by MrKnobs / February 14, 2014 10:56 AM PST
In reply to: How to installl XP

If you're using an Intel motherboard with a matrix driver for the file system, you're going to need a floppy with the matrix drivers on it for use during installation. If you install first, you won't be able to change the drivers, Windows will use generic drivers, and your file system will be slow as molasses.

If anyone here knows how to install the Intel matrix storage drivers AFTER an XP install, please tell me. I've tried everything (repair installation, etc) and nothing works. You have to do back to the floppy and start over. This is XP SP2 I'm talking about. It does not read USB drives during installation.

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Why would anyone give this thumbs down?
by MrKnobs / February 18, 2014 1:10 AM PST

Are you just unaware that Intel motherboards require a driver for their matrix storage system? You've probably not tried using the generic XP drivers for storage on an Intel motherboard, am I right? And yet you don't believe they're far slower than the Intel drivers?

Please, clue me in why the thumbs down. Maybe I'll learn something.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 18, 2014 1:16 AM PST

I think I can explain it after I add a +1 to the up count.

There are a lot of folk that are rattled, upset about not only the passing of Windows versions (happens every few years) but some are royally peeved that you can't just slap in the CD and get a properly working PC. That's where the PC makers came up with Restore Media to put it all in for us without driver hunts.

I hear you.

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@ R. Proffitt
by MrKnobs / February 18, 2014 6:03 AM PST
In reply to: +1

Thank you! Cool

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Backup the system after you followed Ben Myers.
by Cookeefried / February 16, 2014 8:15 PM PST
In reply to: How to installl XP

Once you have done what Ben Myers wrote in his excellent message, then backup.
After a year XP can get slow again. So you go back to your backup and you're fine.

Put all your personal files on another partitition, other than C.
Backup your mail... maybe a few things more.
Or You can stream the sp3 pack onto your xp cd, that saves a lot of updates.

I agree, with others; put a good (free) firewall on. A good (free) viruskiller.
And you'll be safer than many on Win 8.

But I have read that Microsoft extends safety updates for a couple of years, am I correct ?

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You left out a lot of relevant information
by wpgwpg / February 7, 2014 10:35 AM PST

The best way to avoid the driver hassle would be to restore to factory settings if you can. That would restore the computer to the state it was when it was fresh out of the box it came in when new. Of course you'd need to save any data you don't want to lose first. That would take care of all the drivers you'd need and also install any applications that came preinstalled. Not knowing whether this is a name brand PC, I don't know if you might need/be able to contact the manufacturer if you need to get the necessary discs. You have to realize that the answers you get are only as good as the info you provide.

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you're right, it's a laptop
by James Denison / February 10, 2014 12:57 AM PST

very few "white box" laptops, if any. The minute one hears laptop, it means originally it had OEM system loaded to it.

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