Question about reinstalling Win with a different OEM disc

  1. I've got a Gateway laptop with XP that seriously needs to be reinstalled, and I'd like to do a fresh install so I can give it to someone. But Gateway apparently didn't create a recovery partition, and I can't find the recovery CD.

    I did find my XP recovery CDs for another laptop, an HP, along with its service pack 2 CD. Would any of this be useful in runing a reinstall on the Gateway? If not, does anyone have any bright ideas for how to reinstall an OEM without a recovery disc?

  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    It is very unlikely to work successfully I'm afraid, and there is no known way of installing a fresh install of Windows without either the media or a recovery partition.
  3. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I'm not overly sure, and wouldn't like to advise either way under the circumstances.
  5. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I've also tried the winnt32.exe. But that gave an error, which I've read means you need to uninstall SP3, but I can't seem to uninstall SP3, and I've tried numerous ways.

    This isn't my machine actually. So I've talked the actual owner into using Linux (Ubuntu) on this under-powered Britney Spears era laptop.

    I did a dual boot - and still plan to mess with XP if anyone has any suggestions. Shouldn't Windows have some reasonable way to re-install their goofy OS even if you lose the recovery CDs, especially since it has such a tendency to get clogged, damaged, and corrupt? We're buying the license after all - aren't we?
  6. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    What error is winnt32.exe giving you?
  7. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I'm getting this:

    Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.
    Warning: If you decide to delete the newer version of Windows that is currently installed on your computer, the files and settings cannot be recovered.

    "Continue" is greyed out. So when I exit the above error box, I go back to the setup box, which still runs for a few seconds, but then displays: Internal Error.
  8. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    What about doing something like method 3 here to install the recovery console then using the recovery console to repair/reinstall whatever you need to.

    Above is for SP2, but perhaps it would work for SP3. You would just call the folder C:XPSP3 instead of C:XPSP2 and get the network installation package for SP3 here:

    BTW - I am thinking about doing this for my SP3 machines to install the recovery console since none of them has the recovery console installed and none have a Windows CD. It is very frustrating since the OEM's only give you a recovery CD that will restore back to the factory installation, wiping out all of my installed programs. Of course, I could reinstall them all again, but the problem is that I don't know where the CDs are for some of them or for some of them, I never had a CD because I did an internet installation.
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Well, no your not in this case...

    The manufacturer is the one paying for the license, and they are handing it to you along with the purchase of your hardware.

    This is why the license is tied to your hardware, and not transferable, like in retail and commerical versions, which aren't manufacturer locked.
  10. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I've just tried that. When I try to run C:\XPCD\I386\winnt32, I get this error:

    Error reading information from netmap.inf Setup cannot continue.

    After I click through that I get this one:

    The option to upgrade will not be available at this time. The system cannot find the file specified.

    The "Welcome to Windows Setup" box appears anyway. I choose the only choice: New Installation, and click next. I accept the agreement. Put in the key->Next English->Next Yes, download updated setup files->Next. Things look promising for a few seconds, until a box comes up:

    "The wizard did not install Windows XP on this computer either because you cancelled the wizard, or because an error occurred...."

    I've been reading about other people having the netmap.inf error, and it sounds like something with the registry. I'm having trouble even understanding what I'm doing here, so now I'm not sure which way to go.

    Any ideas???
  11. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    What happens if you try to run c:\XPSP3\i386\winnt32? Is there a winnt32.exe file in the new folder c:\XPSP3 that you created? I haven't tried this yet so I don't know.

    Is there a netmap.inf file on the OEM CD that you have?

    I searched my Windows XP machine and it doesn't have a netmap.inf file. I am not sure where I have the recovery CD for that machine so I can't search it for the netmap.inf file.
  12. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I don't have an OEM CD or recovery CDs...

    All I have in the XPSP3 folder is that cabinet file.

    In the XPCD folder I made, I've got a copy of the i386 folder, upon which I ran that script over described in the microsoft support article:

    I've searched the whole C: an found no netmap.inf file.
  13. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    deleted. . .
  14. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    nvrmnd . . . .
  15. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    If you are still intereted in uninstalling SP3, did you try uninstalling SP3 using this method 2

    Method 2: Use the hidden $NtServicePackUninstall$ folder
    Click Start, click Run, type c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe in the Open box, and then click OK.
    When the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Removal Wizard starts, click Next.
    Follow the instructions on the screen to remove Windows XP SP3.
  16. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64


    From all I can read on the microsoft support site, netmap.inf is not needed for Windows XP.

    I found a site that claimed the contents of netmap.inf on the XP CD is the text below:

    signature="$Windows NT$"

    In other words, it is a dummy file that contains nothing but if missing, it stops the install. I am guessing that Microsoft doesn't give the OEMs this file to prevent people from pirating the software. I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is people like me who paid for this software getting screwed out of installing the recovery console because the OEM didn't install it and I updated to SP3. They need to tell us before they do an automatic update that we should check to see if the recovery console is installed or not.

    So what I have done is created a file netmap.inf using notepad having the text above and saved it to my c:\i386 folder. We will see how that works when I try to install the recovery console. I need to back up before I try this. Why don't the OEMs install the recovery console?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    I don't have a problem with Microsoft trying to protect their intellectual property. But I do have a problem with them writing crap software and then making it so difficult for licensed end users to get the full functionality of the [crap] software they paid for!
  17. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    Yeah, I tried. I don't have a "windows" directory under C:, so that threw me off a bit, until I found a folder called WINNT (c:\WINNT\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe) So SP3 is gone.

    But now I'm having the same problem with SP2 and WINNT32.exe. It says my version is newer than the "CD" I've tried the c:\windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$\spuninst\spuninst.exe, but that doesn't seem to exist anymore.

    I'm going to try the method you suggested earlier beauty, the one where you create the two new files....

    I'm in total agreement about Windows. Unless all your equipment spells new, and you just spent money, Windows is a lot of work.
  18. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    Well, I'm stuck with the "Can't read netmap.inf" error again trying to run winnt32.exe, this time from the integrated C:\XPCD\I386 folder. What a pain.

    Under System in Control Panel, it say's it's SP2. But I don't see anything about SP2 in the Add/Remove Programs menu.

    I tried adding a netmap.inf file using the data you suggested, beauty. I put it in the C:\XPCD and C:\XPCD\I386 folders. It doesn't seem to help.
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    If Windows was originally installed from an XP SP2 CD, you won't be able to uninstall SP2. That would explain why it doesn't appear in the Add or Remove Programs.

    I might have missed it in this thread somewhere but have you looked into getting the recovery CD from Gateway yet?
  20. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I was thinking about doing that. And now I'm thinking about doing that again.
  21. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

  22. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

    But if Windows were originally installed from an XP SP2 CD, would he still get the error about a newer version when he ran winnt32.exe?
  23. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    You might have a point. I really don't have a good answer for that.
  24. beauty

    beauty TS Rookie Posts: 64

  25. horseatingweeds

    horseatingweeds TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I can't find any programs for making recovery discs. That was one of my first thought. So I guess it was a one-off creation thing.

    This specific computer, for a number of reasons, is a lost hope. But I'd still like to figure out if there's a way to reinstall XP without actual recovery CDs. I'll try contacting Gateway/ACER though...

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