Windows clean reinstall-again

  The Mountaineer 15:44 20 Apr 2009

I must apologise for raising this old chestnut again but I've come up against a problem I cant fathom.
I want to reinstall Windows XP Pro (SP3) on a PC I rarely use to give to a friend. I used this machine for business before I retired and have only used it for occasional internet access in the last couple of years. I bought it from a small local business who have now gone bust. I don't have a Windows CD, I can't seem to access any restore points earlier than 2009 to restore to initial settings and can't locate anything that looks like a hidden partition etc.
I have no problem with wiping everything since all data is backed up.
Am I stuffed or just missing something really obvious?

  (~oo~) 16:57 20 Apr 2009

You do not have to use the original C\D. Use a different one, even borrow one and put in YOUR product key.

If you can not get a C\D with SP3. Borrow and earlier one i.e. SP1 or SP2. Copy a folder of windows to the desktop and slipstream SP3 into it.

Then burn the disk and use that.

Make sure you use only YOUR product key to activate it.

  (~oo~) 16:58 20 Apr 2009
  LastChip 17:05 20 Apr 2009

You could of course load a Linux distro on it, like Ubuntu for example and kill at least two birds with one stone.

1: it would be 100% legal

2: your friend wouldn't ever have to worry about the constant maintenance that Windows needs.

Further, your friend will have a computer that has all the software they need to be productive from the off AND, you've no fear of data falling into the wrong hands, as Linux uses a completely different file system.

You could always try a Linux distro "Live CD" to see if you think it would help. If you need help, there's plenty out there and I would personally be glad to help you if I can.

Think about it.

  birdface 17:31 20 Apr 2009

If you run SIW under secrets it will tell you the keycode that you have been using just a matter of adding it when asked.

click here

  The Mountaineer 08:51 21 Apr 2009

Thanks everyone for your helpful responses. Sorry about the delay on my part, minor crisis last night sorting my daughter's wedding in Kathmandu for next week!
~oo~ when you say using MY product key I assume you mean for example using the product recovery disk from my laptop but entering the pc's product code as opposed to the one with the laptop? BUT, please see my comment below re this code.
buteman, just run SIW on my laptop for interest, what a brilliant bit of software, thanks very much. BUT, I was amazed to find that the windows key from SIW does NOT match the label coa on the laptop itself or the doc from the supplier (Rock). ~oo~ this is what I meant from above.
LastChip, an interesting suggestion that makes me want to keep the PC! I could learn from doing this, so, could you please send me any relevant links to read stuff and get the neccessary downloads. My questions are really about drivers for installed components when I do this as well as which programmes would work/not work with a non-windows os? Thanks for your offer of help, much appreciated and once I've read abit i may just do this. But I'd still like to know what's going on with this coa/product code business re my laptop too!

  LastChip 14:51 21 Apr 2009

Regarding the Windows licence; almost certainly, somewhere along the line, the system has been reinstalled, with the same problems you are facing now. I don't want to get into licensing issues, but almost certainly, Microsoft would not accept your current situation as being properly licensed. And please, I'm NOT suggesting you've done anything wrong, but somewhere along the line, someone has.

That said, lets get to a more positive note:

There a few bits and bobs I've written that may help to get you going:

click here

click here

and there's loads more on the site if you're interested.

PCLinuxOS is a very good system, but since I wrote that piece, has been superseded by PCLinuxOS 2009.

However, the Linux world changes fast, and new releases come and go all the time; more about that in a moment.

Unlike Windows, you have almost infinite choices and that in itself can seem a little daunting, not least of which, is which Window Manager (desktop) you want to use.

Essentially, there are two major players on the window manager scene; KDE and Gnome. There are others as well, including Fluxbox, Openbox, Enlightenment to name but three. But rather than get bogged down, let's consider the two major desktops.

KDE, is a Windows like environment, that in many respects, you would be hard pushed to tell the difference.

Gnome, is much more like a Mac desktop and is prefered by many power users (me included).

If you want to stay close to Windows, choose KDE and distributions (distros) could included; Kubuntu, PCLiuxOS 2009, Linux Mint (KDE option) and openSuSE.

If you want a Mac type interface, then: Ubuntu, Linux Mint (Gnome option) and Debian.

click here for more information and help.

All of these major distros can be run as a "live CD". This means you can set your computer to boot from a CD/DVD drive, and run the distro straight from the disc. This is advantageous, as it allows you to evaluate whether you like a certain distro and whether there are likely to be any installation issues. All distros can be downloaded and burnt to either a CD or DVD, depending on the size. If you only have a CD drive on the computer, keep that in mind when choosing a distro download.

To learn how to burn a downloaded CD/DVD, click here

Don't worry at all about drivers. Linux will sort that out for you. Remember, you cannot run Windows applications in Linux. There are Linux equivalents for just about everything, so stay with the natives! However, before some bright spark tries to correct me, there is an application in Linux called "Wine", and you can run some Windows programs in Wine if you wish. Truthfully, it's not worth the bother. Linux can do almost everything Windows can, and in many cases, a damn sight better.

Hope that's enough to get you started.

  The Mountaineer 16:34 21 Apr 2009

Thanks again LastChip, that must have taken you ages to type out, much appreciated.
I will take my time now reading through the links you included and see what I can work out. I may keep the PC myself and use it as a complete "new experience" possibly just using it for internet browsing.
To return to the license issue which is really bugging me, the only thing I can think of is that 2 years ago I had a mega hardware problem but because my laptop was still within it's 3 year warranty Rock Computers took it back and replaced some components (motherboard?). Would this have led to a reinstallation of windows by them (the original supplier) but now with a different coa? They DID give me a new recovery disk at that time, but the laptop still has the OLD lic code sticker on the bottom which clearly doesnt match what SIW is telling me!!!!! I have not had any occasion to use the disk so wouldn't know if there was a problem.
Anyway I will probably be a few days now browsing around about Linux etc, maybe even from Kathmandu, I WILL let you know how I get on and what I do etc. Hopefully I wont have to pester you too much as a "personal helpline"
Ta again

  User-1229748 16:54 21 Apr 2009

i'm using ubuntu myself on this laptop,absolutely perfect for my needs which are about 90% internet browsing,good luck whatever you decide :o)

  lotvic 19:23 21 Apr 2009

The reason the product key is different to the one on the COA sticker on laptop is simply because you are using the OEM product key which was pre-activated before you took delivery.
Both keys are valid and legal for that laptop. One has been pre-activated and the one on sticker will require you to telephone and explain.

More about it from click here
"In order to reduce a significant source of piracy, Microsoft has disabled online activation for COA Keys that are attached to PCs that have been pre-activated by OEMs."

  The Mountaineer 20:23 22 Apr 2009

My browsing of Linux has started ..... a whole new world opening up before me! Seems to be a lot of choices ..... maybe Ubuntu "simplest" ? Not sure yet.Have read the items written by LastChip and have looked at software available such as Open Office, Firefox for Linux etc .....
The one thing I haven't sussed out yet is Internet Security. With Win XP I currently use Panda Int Sec 2009 but I would appreciate any advice on what folks have found works really well with Linux re firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware etc etc. Seperate or packaged?
Sorry if I'm messing up this thread going "off message" but I promise to go away for a month once I get a couple of tips on this thread!

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