• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.



How to Reinstall Windows XP Without Reformatting

Posted by ClifNotes, Jun 2008, permalink Windows Tips


I've often been asked if there was an alternative to reinstalling Windows XP when you simply want to fix minor Windows glitches. I stumbled across a procedure to help us do that about two years ago while reading Fred Langa's newsletter. I've only used this once myself while I was helping someone, but it worked just fine.


See XP's No-Reformat, Nondestructive Total-Rebuild Option.


Fred mentioned that this is a great Windows XP feature that Microsoft chose to hide for some reason.


Does anyone here know of a similar reinstall tactic for Windows Vista?


Quote from Fred Langa:

... this option lets you completely and nondestructively rebuild, repair, or refresh an existing XP installation while leaving already-installed software alone (no reinstallation needed!). It also leaves user accounts, names, and passwords untouched and takes only a fraction of the time a full, from-scratch reinstall does. And unlike a traditional full reinstall, this option doesn't leave you with two copies of XP on your hard drive. Instead, you end up with just the original installation, but repaired, refreshed, and ready to go.



See these other helpful articles from Fred:


The OS Inside The OS

InformationWeek, May 01, 2006

Fred Langa shows how a simple tweak turns XP's low-level Recovery Console into a complete, standalone mini-operating system--in effect, an XP DOS!


XP's Little-Known 'Rebuild' Command

InformationWeek, April 17, 2006

There's an easy fix for "Missing HAL.DLL," "Invalid Boot.Ini," and several other fatal startup errors.