I'm trying to repair an existing Windows XP installation. Following the instructions from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/tips/doug92.mspx this should work:
- When the
Press any key to boot from CDmessage is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
- Press ENTER when you see the message
To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
- Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
- In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
- Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.
On step 5 pressing R does nothing and there is nothing on the screen saying it would. When I just select to install I get a message that a previous installation is there and proceeding will destroy it and installed applications, I can optionally select a directory other than
c:\windows, and I can optionally format before continuing. I had tried to go from SP2->SP3. It failed, and then I couldn't get to Safe Mode. I put the SP1 disk back in to do a repair, and I don't see that option. (I don't have an SP2 boot/install disk, I just have the non-boot upgrade package.)
UPDATE: Upon loading the Recovery Console, I get a message saying
The system registry does not appear to have an active ControlSet key. The system registry may be damaged. You can try restarting it with the Last Known Good configuration or you can try repairing the installation of Windows using the setup program's repair and recovery options.
I then did
"successful" ... Total installs: 1 ...  c:\windows- with the
c:\windowscommand prompt below it.
 Windows XP Pro; OS Load Options /noexecute=optin /fastdetect; OS Location: c:\windows
I followed the instructions at http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm - "Warning 2" link
copy E:\i386\ntldr C:\
copy E:\i386\ntdetect.com C:\
attrib -h -r -s C:\boot.ini
I added /fastdetect when it asked for options. I re-ran Windows setup - no change - no repair option.
I followed the procedure at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307545
- I rebooted. I now get a quick message on bootup to select the boot -
1: [blank] ; Windows XP Professional ; Windows Recover Console. The "1: " is new. The rest is the way it was when all was okay. Selecting 1: and the next one gives the same result - I get to a login icon, and then it asks for a password, with the blinking cursor, but I can't type anything. I reboot with the Windows CD. Now I see a repair option for installation "1: " I selected R on that, and it did "Setup is copying files..." and rebooted when it was done. Then it booted, and I got a window saying "Setup will complete in approximately 39 minutes." That's where I am now. I wasn't expecting this last part - I did a repair several months ago and I don't recall that.
Booted up. Asked if I wanted to register Windows online. All my icons are there, and the old desktop documents. Good. All the applications I tried from the Start Menu work (tested a few), except Corel Photopaint - I get registry entry not found errors. Windows ran for a while, then froze. The mouse and keyboard don't work. Pressing the power button got Windows to shut down. I probably need to put SP2 on it, and then all the updates for my laptop for XP Pro SP2 (drivers), there's a bunch. The mouse and keyboard quit working again. That wasn't a problem when I first set up this laptop. I've ran 4 times now. Two mouse/keyboards hangs by pressing Ctrl-C (to copy text from a notepad document), and two by selecting Start-Run (wasn't able to type anything in the box).