Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I want to reinstall Windows XP on my Dell laptop. Unfortunately, I have no idea where the recovery disk is. It's so old, Dell probably wouldn't bother.

What are my options? It's like I just want to do a clean reinstall.

share|improve this question
    
is it XP Professional? –  ekaj Apr 10 '12 at 3:28
    
There are a million of those Dell XP install discs around, ask a friend, relative or co-worker if you can borrow one. –  Moab Apr 10 '12 at 21:26
add comment

7 Answers

There should be a recovery partition. Otherwise, any OEM install disk would work with the key at the bottom.

I suppose getting the disk would be the tricky part - i have a few lying around off custom systems i use, or you could 'hack' another legitimate install disk into showing up as a different SKU

share|improve this answer
    
there is a recovery partition (I think). should I simply just use the options at boot or is there more to it? –  TPR Apr 10 '12 at 1:29
    
just use the options at boot –  Journeyman Geek Apr 10 '12 at 1:41
add comment

What you can do is to first Sysprep, then clone with Clonezilla.

You need to have another hard drive (or a external hard drive) you then clone copy it to this, You can then run clonezilla once more and clone this copy back to the final hard drive of your choice.

When Windows starts, it will ask for the original Windows product key that should be on a label on the Dell computer.

This will give you a factory fresh copy of Windows.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Some older systems don't have recovery partitions, rather they used Recovery CDs. If there is no recovery partition, you can call Dell. They will sell you a recovery CD for around $30 US. You will need to give them the service tag/serial number and be the registered owner of the system. I have done this for several customers who have lost their CDs, the recovery partition was deleted, or the hard drive crashed. Hope that helps.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I had a situation like yours, but I got a reinstallation cd with Microsoft Xp service pack 3 specifically for a Dell computer on E-bay. Maybe there are some still available.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Maybe you can call Dell and ask if they still have copies of those media and can send/sell you a copy. Alternatively, I think that you could try to find someone with the same model of laptop and use their recovery media.

share|improve this answer
    
Or the drivers may be on Dell website. –  Frederick Marcoux Apr 10 '12 at 1:17
add comment

As it is most likely an OEM install, you should follow the instructions provided by Microsoft for preserving pre-activation via manual install.

I would be inclined to get hold of a product key viewer to confirm what the product key is before blowing it away. In case it isn't an OEM preactivated install.

edit: this assumes you have the installation media, otherwise see Renan's answer

share|improve this answer
    
From what he says, I assume he doesn't have (or doesn't know whether he has) the install media anymore. –  Renan Apr 10 '12 at 1:21
1  
@Renan, totally. Otherwise why would he be asking the question :) –  Paul Apr 10 '12 at 1:24
    
+1, a product key viewer can be very useful if you have a bootable, somewhat-working XP installation and no longer have the install disk. –  Angelo Apr 10 '12 at 13:26
add comment

Insert your Windows XP installation disk. It will prompt you to choose a new installation, custom installation or repair.

Click "repair", then it will re-install XP but it will not delete your data.

share|improve this answer
    
He doesn't have the installation CD. Read again. –  slhck Apr 10 '12 at 13:09
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.