Restoring WinXP without erasing existing programs?

  GloriaM 04:00 15 Jul 2010

Our Sony laptop (about 5 years old ) runs on Win XP Pro Pac 3 but the system doesn’t feel right, is sluggish, some features like internet drivers network, CD etc are erratic and I was advised it is good idea to refresh/reinstall the system because all other measures like registry cleaning and so on don’t help any more.

Just find that the manufacturers disk is nowhere to be found , only backup I have is 2 restore disks I burned a while ago following the instructions from the in-built software Wizard.

The laptop manual says that if I use backup disks they will wipe out all installed programs as well. They are large number and set in particular ways and not all of them have their setup.exe any more.

The question - how to use my restore disks to refresh my Windows system without erasing the software already installed?

Thanks for any practical advise !

  Technotiger 07:40 15 Jul 2010

"The laptop manual says that if I use backup disks they will wipe out all installed programs as well."

Assuming 'backup disks" = 'restore disks' - I think that sentence answers your question.

Though having said that, it might be possible to backup just your Programs Folder (including contents) in C: to an external hard drive; reinstall XP, then restore Programs Folder.

In theory seems OK - but I am not 100% certain of the reality. No doubt someone else will confirm, or otherwise.

  michaelw 08:17 15 Jul 2010

If you can do a 'repair' install from your cd then a repair overwrites xp but still retains data and progs, but you have to redo all updates. If the cds are to return to factory settings then you'll lose everything.

Programs leave files all over the place so you aren't able to save them.

You may be able to run a sfc, using the cds to replace any missing or corrupt system files.

  howard64 08:35 15 Jul 2010

I would first run virus checkers such as the trend micro online one. Then if you do not have them install superantispyware and malwarebytes. These free progs sort out most of the nasties on a system. Once everything is clean copy all your files to an external hard drive probably from 'my documents' folder and possibly other places. Double check that you can read all your stuff on the external hard drive before going further. Make sure you have all the passwords and prog files/cds etc. Then do a factory restore to how your laptop was when you first got it. Then install the progs that you use either by downloading or cds. Once running like new you can copy your files to my documents and all should be well.

  Taff™ 09:00 15 Jul 2010

A "Repair Install" of XP needs an original XP Disc and cannot be done with the restore DVD`s. You probably won`t be able to run System File Checker (sfc)either.

Technotiger`s idea of copying the programs folder isn`t going to work either I`m afraid. From a clean install how would the registry know where these programs were? When you install a new program from a disc the registry details all the information and any personalisations the user makes when using it.

The system you describe sounds like it neds a good clean up as howard64 suggests but if you`ve tried that and seen no improvement it looks like you`re heading for a "Factory Restore" using the recovery partition or the disks you burned initially.

I would suggest you run Belarc advisor click here and print off the results which should give you a list of all the programs on the computer with, if you`re lucky all the serial numbers and CD Keys or licence numbers to reinstall your software. Make a list of all the vital bits of software you need and then look for the original disks to reload them.

Once you have got the system back to factory settings I suggest you immediately install SP3 from a disc which you can get an ISO image click here and burn to disc. There will be a further 70 - 100 updates to do afterwards via Windows Update. Then reload all your vital bits of software.

  Technotiger 10:46 15 Jul 2010

Hi, your comments, more or less what I expected - but at least it got the Thread going!

Good luck to GloriaM ...

  michaelw 12:21 15 Jul 2010

...You probably won`t be able to run System File Checker (sfc)either...

It may be possible if the i386 folder is on the cd.

  robin_x 12:57 15 Jul 2010

You could try to make an xp disc from your system

click here

Or borrow an xp disc from someone.

Your Licence Code is printed on a label on your PC.
Don't use someone elses!

SP3 download is

click here

I found Network sp3 was fine on my home system.
(You could be a network of one)
Stand alone sp3 kept freezing at end of install.

Have fun

  Taff™ 15:49 15 Jul 2010

Technotiger - sure did.

michaelw - Correct but very rare. Worth checking to see if there is a folder c:\i386 GloriaM

Following on from robinofloxley - you could borrow an XP Pro disc from someone and use the CD key from your own computer - which will be detailed in the Belarc report.

  woodchip 17:11 15 Jul 2010

Repair Install will not correct the Problem, It needs a clear out but the Problem is, as you already know you will lose everything on the Disc. it's impossible to save Programs

  woodchip 17:18 15 Jul 2010

You could try removing all garbage from the C:\ Partition then run a Registry Cleaner. Also do a Search after Removing from Add Remove for any leftovers and delete them

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