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Unique XP Repair Problem

by Rick762 / November 9, 2009 4:20 AM PST

Ok, I fess up. I should have visited this site before I tried to fix my computer but alas, I did not. After reading the sticky "Welcome to the XP Forum", I realize the error of my ways. I tried to repair my Dell laptop running XP Pro SP3 with my original disk (only SP1).

So, here is what happened. On my first attempt, I clicked on Repair and the screen went blank for a few seconds then came back on and nothing happened, so I tried again and the same thing happened. I ejected the Windows disk and re-inserted it, then clicked on (I thought) Repair again. This time the screen went blank and when it came back on something was happening. It appeared as though the disk was repairing my OS as needed.

Then my machine rebooted and surprise...the first screen I see looks like the set-up for a brand new installation (and this is what I thought had happened). So I went through and set everything up again, re-installed my anti-virus, downloaded and installed all my OS updates and proceeded to re-install all my programs. Of course, this whole process took several days working on and off.

Once I was finished this process, I happened to check my hard drive for free disk space and this is when I discovered that I may not have done a clean install afterall. On a 160GB hard drive, I only had about 40GB of free space and I know for a fact that prior to my trying to repair XP, I was only using about 60GB of space.

So, it appears to me that whatever happened, it was not a clean re-install of XP as I understand that the hard drive should have been reformatted first as part of the re-install process. So here my questions begin:

1) why can I not see any of the original files/folders if they are still taking up space on my hard drive (checked hidden folders too)?
2) how can get rid of this previous installation to free up this valuable hard drive space?
3) is there any way of recovering my Outlook.pst file (Office 2007) from the original installation before doing the above?

Also a semi-related question:

Another result of this issue was that I had to start using Outlook 2003 on my old PC for my business email while this problem persisted. Is there any way to merge a .pst file from Outlook 2003 with a .pst file from Outlook 2007?

I was originally thinking of upgrading to Windows 7 so I have not really been actively searching for a solution to this. However, after running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, I now realize that I have several incompatibility issues including both of my printers so I have decided to hang in with XP for the foreseeable future.

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