HP Computer with no XP disc

  Quilljar 09:44 11 Nov 2005

I need to re-install Win XP home for a friend on her five year old HP Computer. It was legally purchased by mail order, I understand.
However, she assures me that she has no OEM or other XP CD rom . I find this hard to believe. Were computers sometimes sold without these backup discs? How can I repair or re-install without it? This is a genuine enquiry.
I am puzzled.

  pauldonovan 09:58 11 Nov 2005

...If I recall correctly, sometimes you were expected to make your own backups using software provided on the machine.

I think she'll need to buy a new copy or get in touch with Microsoft to ask them to supply media (they'll probably want her to prove ownership).

  Taff™ 10:04 11 Nov 2005

Are the system files backed up on her drive. Some manufacturers used to either hide them in a hidden partition or in a folder called i386 on the C drive. Do a search for *.CAB files and you may find them.

Alternative number two - run Belarc Advisor from click here on the computer. Print off the report and it will contain the correct CD Key for that installation of XP. Reinstall from an appropriate XP disk and use the original CD Key.

  interzone55 10:41 11 Nov 2005

Large OEMs are actively discouraged from providing XP CDs by microsoft. Of the main suppliers I think there's only Evesham who provide a disk, and then only if you request one.

From experience, most PCs have a hidden partition on the hard drive, and a "recovery" CD is provided with the PC for re-installation (in the case of Time/Tiny, they only provided a recovery CD if you bought an extended warranty). This CD would simply wipe the C: partition, then ghost the hidden partition back to the C: partition, which of course means you lose your applications and data.

If you contact HP they may be able to provide a recovery CD for you, although if you are out of warranty they have no obligation to do so.

  Pooke 10:49 11 Nov 2005

are the same company.

I just bought a compaq, you don't get a xp or recovery disk or windows key.

you get a recovery partition and a piece of software that will allow you to make one and only one recovery disk.

My partition isn't hidden you can see it as drive E either, they run a background program that denies access into it though :)

Try F10 during boot up, or look in start> programs. It's listed in mine as "PC help and tools".

  keewaa 10:51 11 Nov 2005

Many manufacturers store it all on a restore partition ..... pressing the correct key on boot will enter this setup where you can do a "destructive recovery" which will restore it back to when it arrives in the box. It's actually much better than discs as it's far quicker and no discs to lose! I'm thinking of a Packard Bell ... you just need to find the right key to press during boot and follow the right path, backing up all files, favourites, emails etc before hand.

But on the other hand I remember restoring a HP 3 years ago and had to get HP to send me the restore discs first .... it's only in th elast 2 years manufs are doing this ... so not sure but you can find details on the HP site ... you haven't given the model so I can't tell you myself.

  PaulB2005 10:52 11 Nov 2005

"Large OEMs are actively discouraged from providing XP CDs by microsoft. Of the main suppliers I think there's only Evesham who provide a disk, and then only if you request one."

Every Dell i have seen comes with a Windows CD (rebranded)

  keewaa 10:54 11 Nov 2005

eg for the Pavilion : click here

  keewaa 10:59 11 Nov 2005

Here's another good link, suggesting making the backup discs yourself are not essential and only incase you delete the restore partition by accident. click here

  Quilljar 11:00 11 Nov 2005

Great info guys! Thanks for the heads up. I will try all your suggestions. One problem about looking for partitions etc is that we can't open anything in Start or even get to Control Panel. Only certain files work. See my earlier posting about a memory error message.

  keewaa 11:06 11 Nov 2005

You could take the disc out, plug it in as a slave on another machine, back up important documents to CD then plug back in to proper PC.

If there's nothing essential, or you don't know enough to do that then just continuously hit F10 immediately on boot and see if recovery screen appears.

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