If, you cannot boot up in Normal or Safe mode, see:
"What to Do When XP or 2000 Won't Boot
"10 things you can do when Windows XP won't boot
"How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting
"Langa Letter: XP's No-Reformat, Nondestructive Total-Rebuild Option
"Langa Letter: XP's Little-Known 'Rebuild' Command
" easy fix for "Missing HAL.DLL," "Invalid Boot.Ini," and several other fatal startup errors
If you don't have your XP CD you can download a Recovery Console ISO file
and burn it as an image to a disk to get a bootable CD which will startup the Recovery Console for troubleshooting and fixing purposes. This is especially useful for those with OEM systems with factory restore partitions or disks but no original installation CD. Read Creating A Windows XP Recovery Console CD Image
Another option is a Windows XP bootable Floppy Disk:
"Resolving Boot Issues with a Boot Floppy Disk
"BC's Tutorial: Using a Windows XP bootable Floppy Disk
"How to obtain Windows XP Setup boot disks
". The Setup boot disks are available so that you can run the Setup program on computers that cannot use a bootable CD-ROM.Note
: If your using an IBM, HP, Compaq or Dell machine, you may not have an original XP CD Desk.
Microsoft no longer allows OEM manufactures to include the original Windows XP CD-ROM on computers sold with Windows preinstalled. Instead, most computers manufactured and sold by OEM vendors come with a vendor-specific recovery disk
or recovery partition
for performing a clean factory restore
A Recovery Disk
is a CD-ROM or DVD data disc that contains a complete copy/image of the entire contents of the hard drive that will restore the system to its factory default state at a certain time. Essentially, it will reformat your hard drive, remove all data and restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it
. You will lose all data
and have to reinstall all programs that you added afterwards. This includes all security updates from Microsoft so you will need to download/install them again.
Some factory restore CDs give you all the options of a full Microsoft Windows CD, but with better instructions and the convenience of having all the right hardware drivers. Others can do nothing except reformat your hard drive and restore it to the condition it was in when you bought the computer. Before using a factory recovery disk make sure you back up all your data, photos, etc to another source such as a CD or external hard drive
. If you do a Google Search
, you will find links to topics on how to obtain a replacement recovery disk from various vendors.
A Recovery Partition
is used by some OEM manufacturers (Dell, HP, IBM, Gateway) instead of a recovery disk to store a complete copy of the hard disk's factory default contents for easy restoration. This consists of a hidden bootable partition containing various system recovery tools, including full recovery of the preinstalled Windows XP partition that will allow you to restore the computer to the state it was in when you first purchased it. The recovery software will then re-hide its own partition after creating a new partition and installing the software to it. Before using a recovery partition make sure you back up all your data, photos, etc to another source such as a CD or external hard drive
Recovery partitions may only work with a start-up floppy disk or the user may be prompted immediately after the "Out Of Box Experience" (OOBE) to create backup CD-R disks for the software on the hard drive image for future use. Once the CD's are made, the Operating System, Drivers, or Applications can be reinstalled using the files on the hard drive or the backup CDs.
Some built in recovery partitions can be accessed by hitting Ctrl+F11, just F11 or F10 during bios startup. Others like those used by IBM Thinkpads will display a message at bootup instructing you to press F11 to boot from the recovery partition. For more information, see Understanding Partition recovery
Again, if you do a Google search on recovery partitions, you can find information specifically related to the manufacturer of your machine. If you need additional assistance, you can start a new topic in the Windows XP Home and Professional forum. Each manufacturer's instructions is somewhat different and members with the same type machine as yours could better help with step by step instructions.