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Reinstalling Windows XP Home (Part 2): Preparing Windows XP for reinstallation

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Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

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This article is Part 2 of the Reinstalling Windows XP Home guide. This part explains how to prepare Windows XP for reinstallation.

To view the other topics of the Reinstalling Windows XP Home guide, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that are listed in the "References" section.

The Reinstalling Windows XP Home guide includes the following topics:
Part 1:  IntroductionPart 2:  Preparing Windows XP for reinstallationPart 3:  Creating partitionsPart 4:  Installing WindowsPart 5:  Post-installing devicesPart 6:  Configuring the work environmentPart 7:  Running Windows Update

Create an installation plan

As soon as you have created an installation plan, you can start to prepare the system for reinstallation. Follow your plan step-by-step. Always consider the sequence of the steps in the plan. For example, if you have just formatted the hard disk, it is blank. Also, if you do not have an Internet connection, you will not be able to search for current drivers online.

The individual steps to create an installation plan are as follows:
  • Back up data.
  • Have Windows installation CD.
  • Obtain device drivers.
  • Note network settings.
  • Back up Internet and e-mail access data.
  • Use the File and Settings Transfer Wizard.
  • Change the BIOS startup sequence.

Back up data

You should back up your data. You can also use this opportunity to delete any old or unnecessary information. You should also create an appropriate folder structure to help you manage your folders after you complete the reinstallation. Back up all your data to an external storage device. This makes sure that you will not lose any important data during reinstallation.

Backup/Restore Wizard welcome screen

Have Windows installation CD

Make sure that you have an original Windows installation CD. It is generally not possible to perform a complete reinstallation from a recovery CD.

Obtain device drivers

If you do not have a device driver that is required, visit the hardware manufacturer's Web site on the Internet. The Web site generally provides access to device drivers for individual products.

The third-party products that are discussed in this article are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

The following example illustrates how to search for the most recent driver for a graphics card.
  1. Use a search engine to search for the hardware manufacturer. Also, there is usually information about the hardware manufacturer's Web site in the user manual provided with your device. The hardware manufacturer's Web site will probably provide a direct link to the drivers that are required.

    Driver search result

  2. Follow the links to your device and save the driver to the hard disk, preferably to the desktop.

    Select driver for your operating system

    Driver file download prompt

  3. If the driver file is compressed, you must decompress it. In this example, the driver file is compressed as a .zip file. To decompress the file, right-click the .zip file, select Extract All, and then follow the Extract Wizard instructions.

    Extract All files from zip folder

  4. We recommend that you select a desktop folder as the destination folder.

    Extraction Wizard - Select destination

  5. When the files are decompressed, copy the folder that contains the files to a disk or to a CD.

    Copy to disk/CD

Note network settings

If you have a small network, note the settings for your computer. You will need the name of the workgroup that you want your computer to join and a unique name for your computer in the workgroup. You should also make sure that the TCP/IP protocol is correctly configured. You can find the settings as follows:
  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.

    System icon (Control Panel)

  2. Click the Computer Name tab, and then click Change. Here you will find the Computer name and Workgroup in the form that you will have to enter them later.

    Computer/Workgroup name

  3. Close System Properties, and then double-click Network Connections in Control Panel.

    Network Connections icon (Control Panel)

  4. Right-click the network connection, and then select Properties.

    Right-click Network Connections, select Properties

  5. Click the General tab and note the details of the connection. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) for the network card, and then click Properties.

    Connection Properties - General tab - TCP/IP

  6. The most important settings are those on the General tab.

    TCP/IP Properties

    TipYou may find it helpful to prepare and to print screen shots. To do this, press ALT+PRINT SCREEN. This copies the active window to the clipboard. Open a blank document in Microsoft Word and insert the graphic from the clipboard. To insert the graphic, right-click an area in the document, and then click Paste.

    Context menu - Paste option

Back up Internet and e-mail access data

You will also want to back up your Internet and e-mail access data. Note the settings or take screen shots.
  1. You can view the Internet connection details in the Network Connections folder in Control Panel.

    Connection details in Control Panel

  2. Right-click the connection and select Properties. Note the settings on the Networking and Advanced tabs:
    • Connection type and settings
    • Elements of the connection
    • TCP/IP settings
    • Firewall settings
    • Shared use of the Internet connection where applicable

    ISP Properties - Networking tab

    PPP Settings window

    TCP/IP Properties

    ISP Properties - Advanced tab

    Windows Firewall settings

  3. Make sure that you have your user data and password at hand. This information appears every time that you create a connection to the Internet. This is data that you may have received from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    Connection details from ISP

  4. Additionally, you will need the name of your e-mail server. In Microsoft Outlook Express, click Accounts in the Tools menu to find the name of your e-mail server.

    Outlook - Internet Accounts - E-mail server

  5. Select the account that you want to view, and then click Properties. Here you will find all the information that you will require to set up an individual account.

    E-mail server properties

    NoteIf you use special access software provided by your ISP, see your user manual about how to view the settings.

Use the File and Settings Transfer Wizard

You can use the File and Settings Transfer Wizard to collect necessary information. This wizard enables the transfer of data files and personal settings from one computer to another. When you use this wizard, you will not have to repeat the whole configuration process after reinstallation. This wizard lets you transfer personal display settings, folder and taskbar options, and Internet browser settings or e-mail settings. It also lets you to transfer particular files or folders, such as the Favorites folder.
Part 1: Collect data from the old computer
Use the File and Settings Transfer Wizard to collect necessary information. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click File and Settings Transfer Wizard. Click Next to start the wizard.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard welcome screen

  2. Click Old computer, and then click Next.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Old computer

  3. If a Windows Firewall warning appears, click Ask Me Later or Unblock.

    Windows Security Alert window

  4. Click Other (for example, a removable drive or network drive), and then enter a folder to which you want to save the settings.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Select transfer method

  5. If the folder does not exist, you can create one. Click Yes.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Create new path

  6. Specify what files and settings that you want to transfer and how you want to transfer them:
    • Settings only
    • Files only
    • Both files and settings
    • Standard or customized transfer

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Transfer files and settings

  7. Click Next.
  8. If you selected a custom list, you can now specify how you want to customize the list. Add folders, files and settings, or remove anything that you do not want to transfer, and then click Next.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - select custom files and settings

  9. As soon as all the information is collected, click Finish.
  10. Copy the folder that has the files and settings information to a CD.
Part 2: Transfer data to the new computer
  1. After you have reinstalled Windows XP, run the File and Settings Transfer Wizard again. Select New computer when you are prompted at the start of the process.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - New computer

  2. Select I don't need the Wizard Disk, and then click Next.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Don't need Wizard Disk

  3. Insert the CD that contains the files and settings into the CD drive, and specify where they are stored. Click Next.

    File and Settings Transfer Wizard - Specify location of files to transfer

  4. The data is transferred to your new computer.

    NoteFor security reasons, you cannot transfer passwords. You must enter these manually at a later stage.

Change the BIOS startup sequence

You will probably have to make changes in the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) configuration of your computer so that it can start from the Installation CD. This is not as complex as it may sound.

When your computer starts, it uses the BIOS startup sequence. The first thing the BIOS does is search for the disk where the operating system is stored. This disk is called the startup disk, and is usually the hard disk on the computer. If the hard disk on the computer is configured in the BIOS as the startup disk, the computer starts and does not search for a startup CD.

To configure the BIOS to use a startup CD as the startup disk, follow these steps:
  1. Restart your computer.
  2. When the computer first starts, it performs the power-on self test (POST). This test checks that all connected devices are functioning. As part of the POST, the memory is checked. During the memory test, a message will appear that tells you how to access the BIOS. For example, you may see the following message or a similar message that explains how to start the BIOS setup:
    In this example, you must press the DEL key immediately after the memory test is finished to start the setup process. You may have to press the key several times to make sure that you access the BIOS setup.

    TipThere are other keys that provide access to the BIOS. They include the following:
    • F1
    • F2
    • F10
    If you are not sure how to access the BIOS setup, see the user manual for your computer's motherboard.
  3. Look for the startup sequence settings. You can usually use the arrow keys to move through the menus and settings.
  4. When you find the startup sequence setting, you can usually press ENTER to modify it. Press the PLUS SIGN (+) or MINUS SIGN (-) key until the CD drive is selected as the startup disk.

    TipMore information about how to modify the BIOS can be found in your user manual. It usually contains descriptions of the menus and instructions on how to modify the options. The BIOS itself usually contains context-sensitive Help with the individual steps.
  5. As soon as you have selected the CD drive as the location of the startup disk, you can usually press ESC to return to the menus. In the main menu, select the option SAVE AND EXIT SETUP or a similar option. When the confirmation SAVE TO CMOS AND EXIT or a similar option appears, select YES.
  6. If you cannot select YES, then type the letter y.

    Note BIOS uses a QWERTY keyboard layout. If your keyboard settings follow a different layout, you will have to press the Y key as it appears on a QWERTY keyboard.
  7. After you exit the BIOS setup, restart your computer.
  8. Make sure that you can use the CD drive for your startup disk. Insert the Installation CD and restart the computer. If this is successful, you can start reinstalling Windows XP.
For more information about this topic, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Part 1 Introduction

Part 3 Creating partitions

Part 4 Installing Windows

Part 5 Post-installing devices

Part 6 Configuring the work environment

Part 7 Running Windows Update

This article is a translation from German. Any subsequent changes or additions to the original German article may not be reflected in this translation. The information that is contained in this article is based on the German-language versions of this product. The accuracy of this information relative to other language versions of this product is not tested in the framework of this translation. Microsoft makes this information available without warranty of its accuracy or functionality and without warranty of the completeness or accuracy of the translation.

The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

Article ID: 896527 - Last Review: 12/09/2015 02:20:58 - Revision: 2.2

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

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