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When reinstalling Windows XP to replace an installation with a corrupted registry, I have two options.

  1. Reformat the disk and start with a blank disk.
  2. Leave the original filesystem intact, so I can recover the files.
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you're talking about re-installing Windows (rather than just fixing/correcting the registry), I'd suggest backing up any files you will want to use again to some external storage (external HD, DVD, online backup, etc...) and then do a clean format and re-install. If you can't even get the current installation to boot, then either mount it as an external drive for a different OS, or use a Windows recovery boot disc (it's been a while since I've done this but there should be many such things out there).

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How would you fix the registry of an XP machine? – Moshe Jan 31 '11 at 20:03
    
@Moshe: I don't know, it's never happened to me. I suggest that you ask that as a separate question. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jan 31 '11 at 20:04
    
I ended up not deleting the original files. Then, I replaced the corrupted registry hive with the one from the new install. Problem solved. – Moshe Feb 2 '11 at 2:09

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