Reinstalling Windows XP Home (Part 1): Introduction


This article is Part 1 of the Reinstalling Windows XP Home guide. This part introduces this topic.

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:  Introduction
Part 2: Preparing Windows XP for reinstallation
Part 3: Creating partitions
Part 4: Installing Windows
Part 5: Post-installing devices
Part 6: Configuring the work environment
Part 7: Running Windows Update

More Information

Part 1: Introduction

Sometimes reinstallation is unavoidable. For example, you may have reconfigured a system several times, and it is no longer stable. However, you do not have to worry about this situation. This problem can be fixed. To avoid problems and to save time, we recommend that you create a reinstallation plan when the system is still functioning.

Data backup

Before you reinstall Windows, back up all your data. When you repartition and reformat the hard disk, you lose all the data that is stored on the hard disk. Identify the data that you want to back up. This data may include the following:
  • My Documents (documents, pictures, music, videos)
  • Favorites
  • Address books
  • E-mail messages
  • Document templates
  • Macros
  • Boilerplates

Windows CD

Before you start, determine whether the Windows CD and the product key are available. If not, you cannot reinstall Windows.

Device drivers

Are device drivers available for all the hardware components? Many of the drivers are integrated in Windows. However, devices such as printers, monitors, graphic cards, sound cards, modems, zip drives, and scanners usually have separate installation CDs. If you do not have all the drivers, you can download the missing drivers from the Internet and then write them to a CD.


Do you have all the necessary CDs and product keys for applications? Collect and store the CDs and product keys in an appropriate location. These applications may include the following:
  • Microsoft Office programs
  • A virus scanner
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • CD writing software
  • Internet provider software

Network settings

You can restore certain configuration settings after reinstallation. If this step is required, note the computer's network settings. These settings include the following:
  • computer name
  • workgroup
  • TCP/IP settings
Make sure that you know how to restore all configuration settings. It is not enough to just note the settings. Locate user manuals, or print any step-by-step guides.

Internet provider information

Create a backup of your Internet access data.

Startup sequence

If it is required, adjust the BIOS startup sequence. The sequence should be the following:
  • CD drive
  • hard disk
  • floppy disk drive
This startup sequence lets you start from the installation CD.

Create partitions

At this point, you must decide whether you want to repartition the hard disk. A configuration that contains multiple drives makes data management easy. If you decide to repartition a hard disk, you can perform the task during the installation process.

Install Windows

As soon as you have completed the required preparations, you can install Windows. The Setup Wizard will guide you through the individual steps.

Install devices

When the installation is completed, verify whether Windows recognizes all devices. If Windows does not recognize all devices, reinstall the missing devices.

Set up a work environment

The process is almost completed. You must now configure the personal work environment. To do this, follow these steps:
  • Integrate the computer in a network if it is required.
  • Establish a connection to the Internet.
  • Install all applications.
  • Restore personal data from the backup.
  • Start Windows.


Run Windows Update. Install all service packs and updates that are required to protect against security vulnerabilities. This step also applies to Microsoft Internet Explorer, to virus scanners, and to Office installations. After you do this, the computer should function correctly.


For more information about this topic, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Part 2 Preparing Windows XP for reinstallation

Part 3 Creating partitions

Part 4 Installing Windows

Part 5 Post-installing devices

Part 6 Configuring the work environment

Part 7 Running Windows Update
If you need help about how to install, reinstall, or uninstall Windows, visit the following Microsoft Web site: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.


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