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Is their a way to format windows xp in a way that keeps all the service packs/drivers? I really dont wanna re-install everything....

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You don't give any reasons why you think you need to format your copy of windows xp. Is it possible for you to do a repair install of windows instead of a clean/formatted Windows install? That would redo the install of the Windows OS without requiring you to reinstall your apps. –  irrational John Jun 2 '10 at 2:17
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4 Answers

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When you format a disk, you wipe it. There is NOTHING (in effect) left on the disk. As mennes said nLite would be a good choice for creating an XP image with SP2/3 and all the updates if you dont want to have to go through tonnes of updates.

I could also point out AutoPatcher which works in a smilar way to Microsofts WSUS (updating services) in the way that you can download updates for XP, Server 2003 and whatnot and it istalls them all at the same time. You might need the odd prompt to accept a license agreement but it's easier than doing it through windows updates. You can store them updates on a shared disk and/or a CD and run the patches from a disk. Very useful and highly reccomeneded.

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If you are talking about formatting your hard drive and then re-installing Windows then no, that's not possible. You will have to re-install all the service packs and drivers.

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I dont want to reinstall windows just wanna wipe all data from windows. –  user38008 Jun 1 '10 at 20:14
    
Define what you mean by "wipe all data"? –  Taylor Leese Jun 1 '10 at 20:16
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You can create a new installation cd with nLite. It's somewhate involved because you need to download all the service packs and have your xp disc handy but the utility will combine all your service packs and updates (called slipstreaming) along with other files that you add so that the post install setup time is greatly reduced.

I work in a small non-profit and we often receive older machines that I set up in this way. No more "install...reboot...install...reboot...check for updates...install...reboot...check for updates...install..reboot... you get the idea.

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If you want to delete all data so that it is not recoverable, then you need to completely and thoroughly wipe the drive using a tool like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). There are programs that claim to shred the data (most frequently by repeatedly overwriting just those files you want deleted). I'm not intimately familiar with these. If simply removing the data so that the AVERAGE user isn't going to find it, I would suggest creating a new user account with admin rights and logging in to the machine. Then use the System Control Panel to delete all user profiles except the one for the current user. While this should wipe out MOST data, it's always possible a user stored a file (or many files) in another location on the drive, in which case, you can spend hours hunting for it... or you can wipe the disk with a format (somewhat recoverable) or use DBAN as mentioned before.

Any time you get rid of machines, I recommend DBAN wipes on them. Then for reinstalls, create a new install CD/DVD using nlite as suggested above. You can make the nlite install on another system and maintain a reasonably up-to-date installation media - if you update the media quarterly, you'll never have more than 3 months of Windows Update data to deal with.

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