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Has anyone ever lost anything when reinstalling WinXP?

By lizannel
Aug 9, 2008
  1. Over the years, it seems like I've had to reinstall WinXP at some point or another on almost every computer I've owned or worked on. I just had to do it on my friend's computer, and even though it warns you that all files and folders will be deleted, it didn't happen, as usual. Everything is installed under a different file name (WINNT instead of WINDOWS for example) or extension (say, with a .001 or whatever) so all the previous stuff is still there and accessible. And I realized that I've come to count on that, which made me wonder - just out of curiosity, has anyone ever lost the contents of "My Documents" or any other files when reinstalling WinXP?
     
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    In order for data to be completely lost (forever) on a hard disk, it must be reformatted. If you are using a Windows XP OEM disk to reformat your drives ALL the data (on a partition) will erased. It sounds like whatever you are doing to "reinstall" Windows is merely backing up and saving existing files and not completely purging them from the hard drive.
     
  3. Aolish

    Aolish TS Enthusiast Posts: 171

    the method of format that i always use is i always format my main HD while my files i want to keep are on my second HD. I have used this method for years without ANY problems. It seemed like a perfect solution to format and restore quickly. But for some VERY odd reason my last format didn't go as planned. Formatting my main HD somehow corrupted the files on my secondary HD. It was a total shock to me that this happened since i've used this method countless times for years and years. My files were all randomly corrupted. The disc utility did kick in twice to try and recover some files but it didn't recover everything from what I saw. For example i could not seed some torrent files because some files had to be redownloaded according to utorrent. Obviously this totally changed my method of format now. I will now try and keep my important files away from my PC.
     
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    It all depends on what version of Windows XP you are using... and what sort of Windows XP disk, as well as which Service pack... and how your installed hard drive files are configured, updated, etc.
    There are no real problems with the full retail version, but all others have various risks, depending on how it is done... recovery and restore versions are the most dangerous, followed by Windows XP Home OEM. A full version of Windows XP Professional full retail version is the safest.
    Then, experience such as you have helps a lot... but I would never count on it.
     
  5. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    Contrary to what the above posters say it has nothing to do with what version of Windows you are using that creates this behavior.

    Whether you are installing Windows 2000 or Windows 2000 or Windows XP over Windows XP, it is entirely up to the choices you make during the install process.

    At some point during the install process, you'll get two options which will determine whether or not your former data is preserved. That is the disk formatting option (which will default to not formatting if an existing, formatted partition exists) and the installation location option, which will ask you to confirm that you are installing to a partition that already contains a bootable OS.

    If Windows doesn't detect a bootable OS on a partition with an existing, valid, file systems and you confirm an install, anytime it encounters a directory that it needs to use with the name already taken, it'l rename or append the directories it creates - hence the "WINDOWS.001" you see.
     
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Well, not "entirely."
    There are 11 different basic versions of Windows XP, not to mention all the restore and recovery versions. Similarly, there are 5 versions of Windows 2000, and Gorp only knows how many choices you have for VISTA.
    You cannot make those choices unless they are offered to you, and they are not offered the same way to everyone.
     
  7. cloudy123

    cloudy123 TS Rookie

    i can not find some partitions after i have reinstalled the XP, i do not know the exact reasons.However, i use easeus partition manager to find it was hided.After a set it to unhide,it can be find out.
     
  8. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942



    Then you show me a single version of 2000 or XP that will replicate the behavior he spoke versus another one that won't. You will not, because the bootstrap installer for 2000 and XP is identical in behavior. The exact scenario he described can be replicated with any bootable 2000 or XP CD. It doesn't matter if you have home or pro, upgrade or retail or OEM, VLK or standard, server or not. The bootstrap will always prompt you in the same way and do exactly what the original poster describes.

    The only caveat is that the revision of the filesystem changes with newer versions of Windows.
     
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