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I have a windows XP OS installed on my machine and its been corrupt somehow. When the machine turns on it just goes in an infinite loop of booting up. So I decided to just reinstall the OS (I dont have system recovery disk and not sure if that would even fix the problem) with a XP service pack 2 disk(dont have product key, not sure if I need it). Not sure if that would be a problem? What all would I need to install my OS to scratch and have network connectivity with default drivers working properly? I dont need anything that I had earlier, so I dont care about backing up any software to keep? I just want a computer that has the basics. ex:Connect to internet, basic graphics, etc...

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If you have a model for your computer (i.e. Dell Inspiron ####, etc), this could help people direct you for the driver side of your question. – Will Eddins Nov 2 '09 at 18:22
its a vizio, since the tag wasnt already created it wouldnt let me tag it. dont know product number – Erik Nov 2 '09 at 18:23
Vizio doesn't appear to make computers. Are you perhaps looking at your monitor? – CarlF Nov 2 '09 at 19:44
sorry I mean vaio – Erik Nov 2 '09 at 20:58

if a 'repair installation' fails, backup you activation files (wpa.dbl & wpa.bak) either in safe mode if possible or with the help of BartPE live CD.

if safe mode is possible, use WinKeyFinder to determine your product key as youw WILL need it for the installation. if you can't boot the system, you can recover the license key with Keyfinder PE which is included in the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows.

as for a clean installation (from scratch): when done, you'll need to install the device drivers which can be obtained from the manufacturer's support website (if you don't have original disks anymore).

then you will be able to connect your computer to the internet and browse the world wide web with Internet Explorer. for 'basic graphics' you may use MS Paint. both programs are included in Windows XP. bottom line, you will not need any other software for what you have in mind, although i do recommend to upgrade IE6 to IE8 (which you can download from microsoft).

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as I said there is an infinite loop of black screen booting, so I cant get safe mode – Erik Nov 2 '09 at 18:16
have you tried using a boot disk? can you get into the bios to select your boot device? – Zak Nov 2 '09 at 18:23
@Zak- using a boot disk? if I get you right thats what I was going to use to install the XP OS, I was going to go to my boot options and boot from CD drive but not sure if that what you meant – Erik Nov 2 '09 at 18:26
insert your Windows XP CDROM, when the computer starts, most modern computer offer a boot device menu (F12 or F10 in most cases, ESC for ASUS Eee PC), if not go into the BIOS (F2 or DEL in most cases) and change the boot device priority to CDROM first. – Molly7244 Nov 2 '09 at 18:44
I understand how to do that, but when installing the OS will it store all the deaults to make it a basic running computer which is what I am asking – Erik Nov 2 '09 at 18:46

You might be able to do a repair, but if you have nothing to save then you may as well format to ensure there isnt any viruses or anything on your current setup.

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An infinite boot cycle may be dodgy RAM. Check that everything is plugged in correctly. Remove one RAM chip if you have more than one, swap them around, etc.

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Reinstalling the OS should not present any issues, assuming that your original issue is not a hardware problem. Something such as a dying stick of RAM or a bad hard drive would still have issues after a reinstall.

That said, if you have no hardware issues, here's the other things to look for:

You will need to download the appropriate drivers for your hardware after the reinstall.

  • If your computer was custom-built, you will have to find drivers on the website of each hardware manufacturer. If you did not build it yourself, the person who did could likely help you.
  • If you have a standard manufacturer computer, such as a Dell or HP, you can look up the model of your PC to find the appropriate drivers. Even better, your computer should have shipped with a "Drivers CD", which will contain all the drivers you initially need to have a full working computer.

Since your computer is currently out-of-commission, it's best to download these on another computer and copy the appropriate installations to a flash drive so you can use them on your computer after the refresh.

Product Keys
When activating Windows, you may or may not need a product key.

  • Custom-build: You should have an OEM sticker on your computer somewhere. Enter this product key during install. If activation fails, such as it detects the key was already used, you can call Microsoft to activate the key.
  • Big-name manufacturer: You likely won't be asked for a product key at all, assuming you use the Windows disk provided with your computer. If you are asked for one still, you'll still likely have the sticker on your computer.
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