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Reinstall Windows XP without disc?


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#1
nate1232

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Hey, this is my first post here :)

K so around two years ago I bought an acer desktop from The Source, XP Home edition. The guy I bought it from turned it on to make sure it worked. This is where my problem starts. The first time these computers turn on, it gives you the option of burning a backup disc. Im guessing since he booted it for the first time ever (unless it was turned on even before he did it) that he skipped this, so I had no chance to make a backup disc. Also my computer never came with an XP OS disc.

So a year goes by and I need it formated because Im having problems with viruses that could not seem to me fixed. I get the computer back and when I turn it on, I immediately burn a backup disc. These computers come with a built in program NTI Backup now (which I do not seem to have anymore.) I am having problems again, more subtle than last time but it is an indication of a virus or multiple viruses I believe. What I am looking to do is reinstall or reformat my drive to the original state, with everything gone except what it originally came with. I just have no clue how to do this. I read the sticky on reinstalling XP with the disc, but I do not have it, and I do not have the money to buy the software that I should have recieved with my computer.

So a few questions:
First off with the backup disc I burned, can I use it as an OS disc, or does it just have everything my computer came with? If it is, or even if it isn't, after I somehow reformat my drive how can I use the backup disc when the program that was used to create it won't be on the drive anymore unless I run the backup disc? What exactly will the backup disc do?
*I don't believe the program is available for a free download.

Second, I have heard people talk about some secret system back up drive or something that is on some computers. Do acer computers have this, and if so am I able to use it without the OS disc?

Third I would like to know how I can possibly go about doing a full format of my HDD, removal of windows and reinstallation of it without the OS disc. If it is even possible, what do I need? I have heard friends say I need to download something off Microsoft's website and burn it onto a disc in order to do it properly. Or is everything I need included in my backup disc? Including service pack 2 and all that stuff which I know nothing about :)

I heard about this program that finds your Windows product key for you, which is amazing for me seeing as my computer came with no OS disc, I did not find out my product key. I downloaded this program and it gives me the product key, so I'm hoping it's a legit program and actually works.

Sorry for all the questions but I thought it was about time I figured out how to do these things without paying 100 bucks to have my computer formatted for me. Help will be extremely appreciated, thanks in advance.

Edited by nate1232, 18 September 2008 - 02:37 PM.

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#2
The Skeptic

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I am not familiar with your computer so I am not sure what version of XP Home Edition is installed on your computer. It can be very confusing with retail and OEM versions.

Generally speaking, if you have the key for the operating system then you can borrow a disk of the same version and install XP with your Key. This is legal. I can't guarantee that this will succeed due to versions incompetability. I would do it only as a last resort.

If you suspect virus, why not post in the malware forum of G2G (a link in my list below). This may fix your problems and delay your need to make a decision now, while you have only minor problems.
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#3
nate1232

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My version of XP home is version 2002, if that helps at all.

The problem isn't so much a single virus but I think it may be multiple viruses. I have had many warning signs over a fairly long period of time, and fixed most of them myself but my computer is running too slow, with too many system event errors.

So is there any way of obtaining an XP home edition of my version for free? Most likely not I'm assuming.
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#4
The Skeptic

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The only way is to borrow one. The details that you wrote down are not sufficient to decide what XP version you need.

The problems that you describe are dealt by us every day in this forum. My opinion is that there is more then reasonable chance to fix them without formatting. The Malware forum must be the first step.
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#5
nate1232

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Ok is there a way to tell what version I have so I know which one to get?
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#6
The Skeptic

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I don't know how to find if XP is retail or OEM. Try to call microsoft customer service, maybe they can help. There can be lots of combinations because it's not only the OEM/retail that take a part in the problem, it's also what service pack was included in the original disk. For example, the key of an XP home edition with SP-1 will not work with XP ...... SP-2.

Please note: if you start formatting and find out latter that the key dosn't fit the disk you borrowed, there is no way back.
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#7
nate1232

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Well I'm pretty sure it's OEM. I believe mine came with SP-2 but recently downloaded SP-3, if that means anything. Well, maybe I will resort to just buying a windows disc. What do they go for now a days anyway? And if I get a new disc, what else will I need to reformat?

I figure that the price of paying to get it reformatted once would be roughly the same as buying the disc lol
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#8
The Skeptic

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If you plan to buy XP I would recommend Home Edition retail. OEM cost less but will always have limiting factors. Where I live it would cost about 110-120 US$.

You will need drivers for the computer and re-installation of all your applications. Obviously you have to backup important data.

May I ask why don't you want to try and fix the computer with us and save the expense? I would do that and go for the expense if all else fails. For your consideration.
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