Re-installing XP on a Blank C Drive

  pcdopey 10:03 29 Mar 2014

I am with Windows 7 on a new computer but have several programs on my old XP computer that aren't compatible. I want to refresh my old slow computer by wiping the C drive and reinstalling XP from my installation disc then adding the programs I still need.

How is this done? I remember how to do it in DOS by reformatting the hard drive, but can you do the same in Windows?

  Ian in Northampton 10:15 29 Mar 2014

If your XP Installation disk is bootable, boot from it (check in the BIOS that the CD drive is set as the first bootable device). At the beginning of the install, you'll get the opportunity to choose to format the hard drive. Don't forget that you'll likely need drivers for your mother board and any other 'stuff'.

  spuds 10:16 29 Mar 2014

Clone the XP drive, then wipe and re-format.

There are a number of ways to clone, and perhaps someone will come along shortly, and offer the easy way, and what you might require to do this?.

  bumpkin 11:09 29 Mar 2014

You will also need to download all the updates so not a quick job.

  Batch 17:35 29 Mar 2014


I have old software and drivers that work with W7x32, but not W7x64 (W7x64 absolutely will not allow the software to be installed in and shape or form). As most people seems to have x64, they may well run into problems running older software.

  Batch 17:51 29 Mar 2014


Cloning the drive won't achieve your objectives (all it will do is create a new copy of the drive with the same old crud).

You need XP installation CD, Product Key (should be on a label on your PC) and drivers.

If you can't find the product key, this might help Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder. But if your PC was supplied with the OS preinstalled, it may well have used a volume OEM licence key which will not be compatible with your XP CD (so back to finding the Product Key label if that is the case).

Theoretically, if you haven't got the drivers, you can extract them from your current install (beforehand) - you can Google for software that does this. I've never used this route, so can't comment on how successful it is.

There will be lots of updates, but downloading and installing Service Pack 3 (if your CD is not already SP3) will make things easier. The SP3 download is about 300MB. Think it is ditto for SP2 (if your CD is SP1) and so on. This might help SP3 Install

BUT, before you do anything, I would strongly recommend getting an external hard drive and some disk imaging software and making a complete image of your existing install using something like Macrium Reflect Free. That way if the install goes belly up you should be able to restore your old configuration (you will have to make an emergency boot disk with Reflect to be able to a restore, so make sure do this at same time as making the backup image).

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  rdave13 18:00 29 Mar 2014

I'd be inclined to uninstall all software you don't use and run Ccleaner as well as its reg cleaner a couple of times. Although you can download the SP2 and SP3 (whichever needed) iso files you will still have a lot of updates to download and install.

If you still want to do a fresh install then I used double driver to backup all the drivers to reinstall. It's been years since I used it but it worked well. If I remember correctly I only saved the non-Windows drivers just the hardware drivers (including the mobo's). See here and a short tutorial.

  rdave13 18:04 29 Mar 2014

I also agree with Batch's excellent advice, to create a couple of images before you start.

  bumpkin 18:06 29 Mar 2014

If you have a disk with the motherboard drivers and a valid XP licence key it is not overly difficult, just time consuming. If you intend to go ahead let the updates run overnight.

  rdave13 18:24 29 Mar 2014

bumpkin, trouble with running updates overnight is that some require a reboot.

  Batch 18:24 29 Mar 2014

One other point to consider (if the PC has a SATA hard disk). Check out the BIOS settings to see whether it is set-up as AHCI or IDE / LEGACY. If it is AHCI, I believe I'm right in that your XP disk "as is" will not install the required drivers and the system will not work.

You might be able to overcome this by changing the BIOS setting to IDE / Legacy before doing the install.

Alternatively you maybe able insert the drivers on the fly during the install (or even make an XP CD with the drivers embedded). See enter link description here as it will explain it a lot better.

Just to reiterate though - if your system is that old that it has an IDE (aka ATA) disk, then you can ignore all this.

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