In contemplation of an XP reinstall

By SledgeProne ยท 35 replies
Aug 1, 2010
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  1. My XP is beginning to experience system errors in ways thay may ultimately require me to reformat. I recall my last reinstall entailed a myriad of hoops to leap, in order to use my SATA drives, each in excess of 137GB's, and that I must initially boot from the archaic six floppy startup discs just to get my DVD drive readable, due to the fact my version of XP Pro is Circa SP1.

    While I suspect I'll still have to boot from the startup discs, and F6 my way through the early stages, short of slipstreaming everything on a CD,( which I'm convinced is a daunting task in itself),
    is there a way I can at least prepare a CD -now while my machine is still rather stable- to avoid the tricky slope of having to install, in sequence, all the crucial, updated system drivers, or a tutorial on how to make such a CD for that specific task?

    Perhaps this crosses the fine line, of when purchasing a new OS is truly in order?
  2. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    In your position, I would proceded as follows.

    Take a full image of the C:\ drive. You probably have enough room on a second drive (unless you are referring to 2 sata in a raid configuration). Otherwise, this might involve you purchasing a USB drive, which is not expensive, or you could get by using a reliable DVD-write drive with imaging software that can split the image for you into DVD-sized chunks. The main reason for doing all this is to protect you against catastrophic loss of all data in the event things go wrong.

    Then download and apply SP3. There are one or two things to do to prepare for a smooth upgrade, which you can research on the intenet. Mostly, stop your internet connection and all firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware that you should normally be running. The main reason for doing this upgrade is that SP3 will replace *nearly* everything in your system files, which could well repair all your problems. it will not disturb your data or settings for all your installed software, and finally, only SP3 is - as of a few days ago - now supported by MS (i.e. they will still get the bugs out).

    If you never applied SP2, it does not matter, go straight to SP3 After applying SP3, there will still be a dozen or more later patches to apply.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    If your happy with XP then there is no reason to change it.

    gbhall has explained pretty much the way I'd proceed as well.

    Like the above member commented, its essential you create a image of your current hard drive first. I'd then try the update to SP3. The worst that can happen is its no better than before.

    I would also seriously look into creating an nLite disc, and slipstreaming SP3, and your SATA drivers into the CD. It will seriously cut down on the legwork you need to do.
  4. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I agree with gbhall and Leeky. Just a couple more comments

    1. Absolutely backup/image your current HD first, as suggested. Checkout EASUS Todo Backup as a good freeware tool (if you need one)

    2. Do you have a Microsoft XP install CD or an OEM CDs? (OEM CDs are from companies like Dell, HP, etc). In general, slipstreaming should be pretty straightforward with MS install CDs. It can sometimes be more problematic with OEM CDs (just to be forewarned - but should still try) at least so i found trying to slipstream SP3 onto an OEM CD. Don't know if also true when trying slipstreaming SATA onto OEM CDs

    A couple links that maybe help too
    > How To Slipstream SATA Drivers Into XP CD
    > Slipstreaming SATA & RAID drivers and SP3 into a Windows XP installation disc.

    /* edit */
    Oh yea. and also agree: stick to XP if you're still happy with it. Many still are. (i have a dual boot XP /Win 7 machine) and still choose to run XP at least 90% of the time!

    And one final thought
    Things to consider when preparing for that reinstall. see [post=818014]these steps to prepare before a full reinstall[/post]
  5. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    I agree with the others, using Nlite to slipstream sp3, as well as, your sata drivers is no big deal. In fact, if you so choose, you can do what I have done. I downloaded Double Driver, used it to locate and copy all my drivers for my printer, scanner, webcam and all other ad-ons I have and slipstreamed them into the disc as well. Not only so, but I slipstreamed my username, personal settings, time zone and even the product key code which I no longer have to enter when doing a clean install. I can install Windows and be surfing the net or using my printer in less than 30 minutes. The link below will instruct you how to slipstream sp3. The rest of the options are fairly self explanatory, After creating the disc you should no long need the floppy.

    Here is the link to Double Driver if you need it.
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

  7. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    You are welcome. I spent so much time re-installing my drivers after every clean install which I do frequently (sometimes just to have something to do,,lol). I no longer have that time consuming process.
  8. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    My sincere thanks to gbhall, for the well recieved advice, and not that I would question it,
    but it is great to read supporting opinion from Leeky, ruready2, and LookinAround.

    I will definitely be checking out ruready2's Double Driver link , and as for LookinAround I've got an OEM Disc, but I thought I heard, I could use a separate MS install disc to set up a slipstream with, so long as I use my own OEM's key, is that true? Actually It'll depend how the image back up disc goes, before I try slipstreaming.
    I uninstalled some programs which might have been conflicting, as things seem to have cleared up somewhat for the time being, but I nevertheless need to get that back up disc made, and not sure, but I thought NERO (which I have) has a feature to create an image of my C drive?

    I'm actually patched to SP3, its just my version is 2002 and thus lacks SP2, so it can't even see beyond the first 137GB of my SATA drives (which are not in a RAID configuration) but it does begin to feel like a chicken before the egg scanario.
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    As far as I am aware, SP3 replaces SP1/2 anyway. So in all likelihood you should be able to just add SP3 to the copy of your OEM disk (and not bother with SP2), and use nLite, along with adding your SATA drivers to make an install disk. (It would be cool if another member could back this up though please!).

    If you have an OEM disk use that. I've always used OEM disks to great effect with nLite. The problems start to occur when you use manufacturer dedicated disks as the file arrangements are different and are proprietory to the manufacturer.

    I'll let others recommend a good free backup utility to help you.

    P.S. the credit goes to ruready2 for the double driver link. :)
  10. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    That would definitely be the solution, and slipstreamed would complete the package. I "am" developing confidence with all the A-Team support talent around here.

    It was arcane technical snags such as that, which originally loomed large, and soured my interest of slipstreaming

    Thanks Leeky, I'll need to edit that above.
  11. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    In reference to 137Gb limits - try this but the situation should have moved on by now. Certainly not limited by lack of SP2.

    Try something like eseus free partition manager you may be pleasantly surprised to see unallocated space on your SATA drives, which you can use either as extra drive letters, or expanding your existing data.

    If no joy, you may need to update your bios. This is not at all hard, but you do need to be able to boot from a floppy or USB initialised by the manufacturers supplied system which is often a dos-like OS.

    I have done it several times. Start with a backup step in case of problems. The installation will tell you all that.
  12. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    In short reply, frist thanks for the credits/comments. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use the OEM disc to create a slipstreamed copy of windows. You must have an original windows disc, However, if I inferred from your post correctly you do have an original disc. The problem you may run into would be the product key code. Most manufacturer's like Dell, HP and others do not provide you with the actual key code. They provide you with the OEM key. In other words, they use a master corporate copy of windows for all their installs meaning all installs have the same actual product key. However, an OEM key is what you will see either on the case or if you use a key code detector. This should not be much of a problem however if you simply contact MS and explain the circumstances. They're not too worried about Xp product key codes in light of Vista and the release of Windows 7. They should give you a product key code without much hassle.

    As to the 137gb limit, I may be wrong about this but, I think this was limited to sp1. Windows should recognize the entire hdd with sp2. In fact, I just went through this not so long ago and am pretty sure this is correct. As to the bios update to get your computer to recognize the entire drive, if your computer came with Xp installed chances are good you will not have this issue. This mainly applies to motherboards pre-dating Xp.

    Great tool recommendation by gbhall recommending Easeus. I use it on all my partitioning projects.Easeus also has a little tool called ToDo backup utility which will create images of your partition. These images can be later burned to dvd disc. Make sure to read all the instructions if and when using it. This is very important to get maximum results. This is a free software.

  13. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Thank you for the explanation.

    And I must confess to getting both original, and OEM totally mixed up. When I said OEM, I meant to have said original disk - When I was refering to it from my mind, I was refering to all 4 of my genuine, full XP SP2 disks which I've used to make nLite discs in the past.

    I assumed original and OEM were the same thing. LOL. :eek:

    So....OEM is refered to as PC suppliers disks? e.g. my Dell Vostro Vista Install Disk?
    And the genuine XP gold coloured discs are refered to as "original" disks?

    In any case, I was refering to the "original" gold Windows XP install disks, not manufacturer supplied disks as they're next to useless for nLite from experience!

    I'm very sorry to have confused the issue.
  14. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    There are 2 "versions" of OEM if you think about it, The Retail sells for more as you know, if you buy some hardware from a retail store you can purchase an OEM copy of the OS at the same time which could be slipstreamed with no problems, OEM copies are cheaper.

    But an OEM as in reference to a specific manufacturer is a different beast that still could be altered if one knew how.

    The way to tell the difference is by looking at the disk; if it came with the system and mentions anything about a certain manufacturer then it is proprietary and should be considered different than an OEM or Retail versions of the OS purchased from a retail store.

    Some manufacturers use their master copy and Key then Seal the OS, the user has to go through Mini Setup and enter the OEM key provided with the system but they do supply an OEM copy of the OS same as the store purchased ones as well (remember, I said some do this, others have their own media which looks different) The "OEM" key can be used with the media from an OEM version of the OS purchased from a retail store.

    Just trying to separate the OEM copies purchased from a store with the true meaning of the term OEM.
  15. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    SP3 does NOT replace Service Pack 1... it requires SP1 to be already installed... then it works perfectly for most folks. You may have to install Windows XP Service Pack 1a from a download as Microsoft no longer offers the full version of Service Pack 1... and of course on a new boot, Microsoft won't download SP1a unless you already have it... for most machines, anyway.
    You didn't mention what brand and model of computer, but if a Sony, Dell, HP, Compaq, and most other brands (But NOT eMachines), then the manufacturer will send you a new install CD for anywhere from $18 to $29 including shipping... Has to be done by phone, and the computer must be registered in your name. If not registered in your name, you have to re-register as the new owner, then wait 15 days to verify it is not stolen before you order.
    Otherwise the above suggestions are good ones... and good learning tools as well.
  16. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Come to think of it, all of mine was OEM (but genuine discs with product key on packaging) and required me to purchase some hardware as well. I got them OEM as it was cheaper than retail...

    So does that mean I refered to them correctly all along? LOL. God I'm confused right now! haha
  17. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    If they came with a "mini manual" with the CD and COA shrink-Wrapped (Home is Green and Pro is Blue) compared to retail that comes in a box, then yes you do have the OEM and referred to it correctly.
  18. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    They're the kiddies. :D

    They're the only ones I have - I never purchased a single retail version as OEM was cheaper. LOL.
  19. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    I'm not 100% sure if this is still the case across XP, Vista, and Windows 7.. So anyone finding otherwise please post to that fact...

    But, at least, the way it used to work... it was simple to tell if you had an OEM disk or not
    > Simply insert the CD/DVD into computer then Explore it
    > All OEM disks (at least once upon a time time) had an $OEM$ folder on their install disks

    Not to be confused by VALUEADD folder which contains all the 3rd party add-on crap (notice i omitted the word "value" as i didn't necessarily want to endorse them as "value" addons! :D )
  20. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    LookinAround, $OEM$ folder does not necessarily mean OEM Manufacturers, if you use nLite or create an install CD manually with additional drivers or programs to be installed, this folder is a must to create, we haven't done any integration or changes with Vista or 7, we have been using the OEM versions with new builds and allow the customer to perform the updates (unlike XP).

    If the disk was not altered by anyone, the presence of the $OEM$ folder does indicate an OEM copy by one of the big guys.

    I was referring to an OEM copies of XP that you can buy when you are building your own system which is offered to you at a lower price rather than just wanting to get the latest OS on your existing system which forces you to purchase the Retail copy, Retail version does give an option to install 32bit or 64bit as well as upgrade I believe, I don't remember the last time if ever when I used a Retail copy.

    I have attached some pictures; the COA's from Manufacturers usually include their name which would indicate the media provided most probably has been customized.

    When we sell a new system, we use our own media which is altered always in case of XP and give the customer an unused OEM copy, we just use their COA.

    We even use the OEM copy to re-install OS on DELL, HP and such but use their product key from the COA attached to the system in case there are no recovery partition or media provided with the system or if the customer just want a fresh install without all the manufacturer's installed "extras"

    Attached Files:

  21. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    Thanks for all the info Sharam :)

    I just did a quick skim now and will be back to take a closer read...
  22. SledgeProne

    SledgeProne TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 91

    Well, to be perfectly honest, I don't know the ethical stance on this, but at risk of being driven from this forum, tarred and feathered as a degenerate thief, I might as well come straight out with what I'm running. Any attempt to slipstream it, would likely result in having to divulge it anyway.
    My OS, it was installed on my system off a VLK disk from a close friend, who while working for a rather large internet company, used it to install on a number of company machines.
    The company no longer exists, was bought out, or has since merged with another, but in any case I've never had any problems validating it on this, or my other PC, having submitted both (rather reluctantly), under the scrutiny of MS's Validation Authentication Tool.
    To the best of my knowledge it definitely is "not" a hacked license, but rather a current and valid key, originally purchased by a company, or purchasing agent of that company, that admittedly, somewhat surreptitiously, was given to me.

    So I guess what i'm trying to ask is, does that qualify as OEM?
  23. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I'd have thought your copy would come under corporate licensing personally. I could well be wrong though.

    Put the disc in your drive, and then open it up. Take a screenshot of the contents of the CD, and then put it on here (you can attach it to your post). It's very likely members will be able to tell you what it is, and what needs to be copied to sucessfully slipstream it. :)

    Its a genuine disk, personally I'd only consider it unethical if you had downloaded your copy from the internet, and were using cracks/scripts to deliberately bypass activation. Besides which, you don't really have any guarantee's with a downloaded illegal copy that it is infact "clean".
  24. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    @Sharam. You are correct that OEM disc as shown in your attachments can be used to install windows on any machine regardless of it's manufacturer. The only issues are 1) as you noted you must use the original key code from the machine and 2) the installation will include all the blah blah blah software most companies like Dell and Hp include with their installs. Thanks for the attachments also. They certainly help clear matters.

    I agree with Leeky. I would think this disc would have a corporate key code. I may be wrong but this sounds like a copy of an original ms corporate disc and not an OEM. So what is the problem you are having?? Do you not have the product key code or what?? All the post here and now I'm

    First, create a folder in My Docs called XPCdsp3. Put the windows disc in the cd rom while holding the shift key down for approximately 20 seconds (long enough to prevent the contents of the disc from opening but, if they do simply click on the x and close). Now open My Computer right click on the cd rom device and choose explore. Click on Edit > select all > edit again > copy. Simply paste the copied contents to the XPCdsp3 folder you created. If you see any folders or software that you know is not windows related simply right click and delete it. The image below is of an XPCdsp3 folder which I keep on my computer for making disc. When you copy the contents of your disc you may not see the items inside the red boxes. These are items I have slipstreamed into the folder. It will give you a general idea of what you should see.

    [​IMG] Uploaded with
  25. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I think the OP is worried he won't be able to make a copy of his OS disc using nLite, and slipstream various updates etc.

    I must admit I don't know if OEM (as in genuine MS OEM discs) and corporate disks are any different?

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