Reinstalling Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

Anthony Olszewski
GRAVE ROBBER Computer Repair

COPYRIGHT 2010 Last modified:

Many brands come with RESTORE disks. If you use these, your computer will be as if you just took it out of the box. All data and everything that you installed will be lost!

Some brands prompt you to create RESTORE disks, if you failed to do so, you'll need to buy the RESTORE disks from the manufacturer.

Dell computers ship with a Windows 7 install DVD, drivers disk(s), and application disk(s). Dell business sales often still include an XP install CD.

If your problem is corrupted files, a REPAIR reinstall might do the trick. If spyware, viruses, trojans, and other malware is the trouble, a REPAIR reinstall almost certainly WILL NOT help! All the parasite programs will still be there. What you need to do is to DELETE the main partition, CREATE a new partition, and then INSTALL XP there. I always choose the complete format option, not the quick one. This will erase everything -- including your data. You must make backups first. Programs will have to be reinstalled from the CDs or from download. No major program can be copied from one computer to another.

Since your original installation is on record with Microsoft, you'll have to activate Windows again.

Call the number that ACTIVATE WINDOWS provides. You'll be connected with a computer using a pleasant school marm voice. After going digit by digit on a long string of numbers, Ms. Computerphone will say that she's so sorry, but you'll have to talk to a live person. Then, you'll be switched to a Microsoft rep. Have your Windows XP registration key numbers ready! The agent might ask if the software is on any other computer, the model of the computer, where you bought the computer and possibly some other questions. Eventually (hopefully), you'll be given a code to ACTIVATE WINDOWS.

XP installed from RESTORE and OEM disks often activates automatically Online.

If your XP install is Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2, the very first thing to do is to enable AUTOMATIC UPDATES. Let XP do all the updates to get up to Service Pack 2 and the current updates. If a computer is Online without Service Pack 3, the system will be eaten alive by viruses and spyware.