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So, my kid's computer has Windows XP, with no disks. I'm pretty sure it has some viruses on the computer, of the type that don't seem to come out despite trying multiple anti-viral programs on it. I'm ready to just format it and start over again. I have a license sticker on the box, but no media to install it. I strongly suspect the license is OEM, but I don't have any proof. What suggestions would you have?

I should say, the computer originally belonged to a business, is probably 6 years old, and I am willing to pay a small charge if required. I don't want to change the OS installed either.

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Some computers have a recovery partition on the hard drive to restore it to factory settings. What brand & model of computer is it? – CharlieRB Oct 16 '12 at 19:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Borrow a Dell XP install CD from a friend, relative or co-worker, they are plentiful, use that to reinstall XP, once installed, see this article to install your legal key and get it activated if your PC is Not a Dell. Yes this is legal.

If your PC is a Dell the product key will be pre-installed and be legally pre-activated, no need to do anything.

See Method 1 in the article to deactivate and reactivate using your legal key.

Dell XP install cd's can be with No Service Pack, SP1, SP2 or SP3, try to find one at least SP2 or SP3, it will say it on the disc itself.

Then all you have to do is install drivers and Windows updates.

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Before you blow the install away, use Double Driver ( to back up your existing drivers and Advanced Token Manager ( to back up your Windows and Office keys. You can point Windows at the folder of the former to re-install missing drivers and the latter will re-activate your Windows installation. – Richard Oct 16 '12 at 21:46
+1 for ATM..... – Moab Oct 17 '12 at 0:04

One tool you could try to remove the Virus is Norton Power Eraser - its free and very under rated.

Other than that you could download a program to extract the license key, prior to running a fresh install.

If you have a Windows DVD handy then you can follow this tutorial --> to create a bootable USB Drive that contains the install media.

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I have the key, just not the disk... – PearsonArtPhoto Oct 16 '12 at 19:53

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