Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

Repair or Reinstall Windows?

by djrjay / November 15, 2005 11:10 PM PST

Dell Dimension 4300 crashed on me. (I got the "Strike F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility" message).

I changed the order to the disk drive under the setup utility and was able to get it to recognize the Windows XP Install CD but that's where I'm unsure what to do.

It gives me the option to either set up Windows or repair using Recovery Console.

If I reinstall will I lose all the files on my computer? I have photos of my first born on there that I don't want to lose!

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What happens
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 15, 2005 11:47 PM PST

if you press F1 instead? What is the full message?

I get the same sometimes on my Dell Dimension XP, and it is a bug in the CMOS battery level detect routine, (my full message is: Alert: Battery level low. Press F1 to continue, F2 to enter Setup).

But I just press F1 and Windows continues to load with no problem. Have you tried the same?

If so, what problems do you then experience?


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When I press F1 I continue to get the
by djrjay / November 15, 2005 11:55 PM PST
In reply to: What happens

"Press F1 to retry boot, Press F2 to enter setup utility" message.

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What exactly happened to the system?
by jedinc / November 17, 2005 7:39 PM PST

Also chcek to see what is connected to you USB ports. A thumb drive or memory stick connection can interfere wiyh booting up, because it appears as another disc.

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Use the Recovery Console first.
by gargoyle_xlvii / November 16, 2005 5:39 AM PST

That is correct if you do a reinstall you will lose all of you data.

Know if you do get it fixed by the Recovery Console the first thing you will want to do use that cd-burner and backup all you important data and photos.

The next time it happens it might be a real hard crash.
Once you try the Recovery Console get back here and post how you did.

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(NT) (NT) Reinstall, but save backups on Zip or other support first
by Argie-Salvador / November 17, 2005 8:38 PM PST
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You don't have to lose your data
by Dreness / November 17, 2005 9:02 PM PST

It's very frustrating when this kind of thing happens, but don't fret you can easily have all your critical data back and be enjoying your computer like before. First off I must ask, if you are able to extract your system's hdd(hard drive) and go to another computer and connect it externaly (the easiest option) or internaly and then extract all your critical data and burn it to some sort of removable media/storag drive (cd,dvd, drag the files to an Ipod,etc). After you're sure you have backed-up all the files you want to recover, it's time to re-install Windows Xp. In the situation you're in right now, I wouldn't risk selecting the ''Repair'' option in the WinXP setup for(depending on how you partitioned your hdd,1 or more, it can affect the partition where the photos and other valuble data is stored). Re-installing windows would be the safest way out that is the cheapest(and reletivly not very time consuming) methode. Just remember to use the same hdd when you install Windows (unless you have another hdd you want to use). I hope this is usefull to some degree and if you have any further questions/comments, feel free to e-mail me at: (please include a title somewhat refering to Cnet eg. Cnet forum - Repair or Reinstall Windows?)


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Some things I wanted to add to my last post (Dreness)
by Dreness / November 17, 2005 9:07 PM PST

Like the others have posted, make sure you don't have any removable drives that can interfere with the boot-up process. But before trying to recover, I would recomend backing-up your data (just in case and for future crashes, if they happen). If the recovery works, then your all set and back up and running. Otherwise re-install windows.

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I say repair
by dragonmatrixphoenix / November 17, 2005 10:18 PM PST

If you're really concerned about keeping your files you should repair. That should keep all your other files intact. Then after you're able to log on to your computer, back up those important files, and then run the Windows XP install again, and this time reinstall. You want to make sure that whatever was wrong with your computer is completely fixed and a repair won't entirely take care of that. Hope I helped.

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Repair and re-format!
by titomontes / November 17, 2005 10:32 PM PST

Only want to add that after a repair, all you will get is an unstable system, that will most likely crash again. After doing the repair, not only you have to backup your relevant data and reinstall windows, but delete the old partition and after creating a new one, format your HD with the slow option. This way you will make sure that there are not any bad sectors left in the HD.


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Reinstalling Windows XP
by easyduzit / November 18, 2005 5:48 AM PST

Hey DrJay,
The Windows Recovery console can be a very confusing part of of a troubleshooting job. It was meant to fix specific problems, with specific solutions. If you choose the recovery console, you will end up at a command prompt, which only helps if you know a decent amount of DOS commands AND know exactly what the problem is, like repairing or replacing the registry hive.
I would not do that in your case.

Let the Windows disk load up and at the ''Welcome to Setup'' screen choose the first entry, and ignore the recovery console choice.

Hit the F8 key to accept the license agreement, and on the next screen, press the letter ''R''. Follow the on screen prompts and this will reinstall Windows and will not overwrite your data. It's relatively fast and apinless, and has worked for me many times in the past. (I was a PC repair technician for Best Buy for 2 years).

Good luck, and let me know if this helps.

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MBR (Master Boot Record) problem
by NetSysILM / November 18, 2005 6:10 AM PST

Sounds like the boot record is corrupt. I suggest that you use Recovery Console.
Boot from CD and choose Repair. Once Recovery Console starts type "FIXMBR". You will get the following message:

"This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid master boot record. FIXMBR may damage your partition tables if you proceed. This could cause all the partitions on the current hard disk to become inaccessible. If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not continue. Are you sure you want to write a new MBR? "

This is just your standard disclaimer statement.

Type Yes. FIXMBR will repair the boot record.

-Andrew, MCSE, CCNP, EE

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System Restore
by Brianstech / November 18, 2005 6:17 AM PST

I may have missed something, but it seems as though System Restore hasn't been mentioned. I don't remember the specifics, but I've used the XP disc to access and restore with success.

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you can't run system restore if you can't boot to windows
by iluvnp / November 18, 2005 2:01 PM PST
In reply to: System Restore

if you aren't able to go to windows at all, you aren't able to do system restore. As I mention on my following forum, perform a parallel install. Read my forum below.

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parallel install
by iluvnp / November 18, 2005 1:58 PM PST

alright.. well if your system has issue and you need to recover the data.. depending on what the problem is.. if you aren't able to repair it, I would suggest doing parallel install which is basically installing a temporary windows under a different folder other than the windows folder and once you get to the new temporary windows that you just created, you can get to the old files by going under c:\documents and settings\your old username\my documents\my pictures
however, once you backup all of your data, you should format and reinstall fresh copy of windows as this temporary windows is not stable and is only designed to recover the data.
if you need further help on how to go about creating parallel install, following website might be of a great help.

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Run Windows XP Checkdisk then Repair installation.
by bosston / November 21, 2005 11:17 PM PST

I would run chkdsk /r at the Recovery Console first and if possible run a Windows XP Repair installation which should save all your data.

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Bios Settings
by bosston / November 21, 2005 11:20 PM PST

In the Bios settings does the primary hard disk 0 option say Hard Drive or Unknown? If it says Hard Drive you should be able to run the chkdsk /r at the Recovery Console. It if is says unknown then the hard drive could be toast.

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