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My friend gave me his HDD that has Windows XP Pro installed on it to try and fix it. I don't have the XP CD to repair it, but I do have the ISO. I suppose I could always burn it.. but that's a lot of trouble because I don't have any blank CD's. I plugged it into my PC's hot-swap drive bay, and I have Daemon tools. Is there anyway I can try to repair the XP installation on this HDD from my PC without booting from it and burning my ISO?

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Which operating system you are using right now? – Desingh Nov 27 '11 at 3:01
Windows 7 Ultimate x64. – Matt Nov 27 '11 at 3:18
It is possible to , something to do with HAL, you can get a Windows NT e.g. Windows XP, from one machine to run on another. – barlop Nov 27 '11 at 11:30

Before following these steps , please backup your important DATA and MBR.

  • I tried using daemon tools & extract the iso image using winrar in my windows 7 and then realized that it wont allow us to repair XP from Windows 7.

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  • Another way to boot your Xp ISO from your hard disk is unetbootin ,run unetbootin now mount the Xp image ,It will add entry to your Boot menu to enter the XP installation setup .

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  • Now try to repair from XP setup menu, IF your computer detects the XP installation OS it will easy to move towards the further steps. It will prompt you to enter Admin password or CD key of XP OS.

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If your computer does not detect the XP installation ,i recommend you to leave the setup process by doing it in your own computer. Try these steps in your friend's computer is the only way to perform the repair process easily.

Caution :

  • If you attempt to repair or re-install your friend HDD from your computer , The OS associated with that HDD won't boot on your friend's computer.
  • It will modify your MBR of your computer associated with your Windows 7
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In your case I would first check the hard drive for smartd errors - 9 of 10 hdd I've been handled for "windows errors" were actually caused by dying hard drive!

I recommend to perform the check using smartmontools for windows or - if you're not familiar with the command line or smartmontools software - hddguardian

ONLY AFTER you've concluded the drive is sane (if not, proceed to data recovery and postpone repairing windows!), install virtualbox or vmware player/workstation. Create a new vm and assign the new vm a cd-rom = your .iso windows setup and a physical hdd = your friends' hard drive.
Set this vm up to boot from cd-rom and perform the well-known windows xp repair procedure.

I assume you want the windows xp in-place repair but I would further go into checking the windows install for strange drivers/services with autoruns offline mode (file - examine offline system) and scanning for viruses before going into repair (which is kind of the last resort to revive a previously-working windows installation)

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oh, I only now observed this question is two years old - superuser, why did you show me this? :) anyway, hope the answer will help others ;) – Costin Gușă Nov 25 '13 at 19:02

You could make a bootable USB drive and use isolinux/memdisk to boot the CD image as though it were a physical disk. I haven't tried it with a Windows ISO, but it works well with Linux CD images.

I usually use a customized Ultimate Boot CD image, but there are extensive generic instructions for creating bootable media here.

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So there is no way to repair the XP installation on that hard drive while my actually computer is still running? I need like.. some sort of virtual environment. – Matt Nov 27 '11 at 3:35
@Matt oh there is.. somebody will post soon hopefully. – barlop Nov 27 '11 at 10:44
you could try mounting the partition (winxp drive) in a VM... this is uncharted territory. IMHO, there is little purpose in experimenting with an installation procedure with an OS on its way out. – cloneman Dec 5 '12 at 5:19
@downvoter, can you explain? Have you established that this does not work? – user55325 Jun 10 '14 at 2:45

You can repair it on your computer then move it to another computer. You obviously know how to do a repair installation.

Here are some links about moving it(after it fixed on your computer), to his computer.

And many links on replacing the HAL

Acronis also lets you make an image of XP that can be put on another computer.

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