How to Repair a Windows XP Installation Without Formatting your Computer

Repairing an installation of Windows XP will not wipe all of your files like formatting will. Formatting Windows XP cleans your computer of absolutely everything that you had on your computer, and therefore this fact alone makes repairing  a good option to try when fixing an error.

This is especially handy when you computer will not startwith from the hard drive and go into Windows. If you suspect that there is a problem with the Windows system files you can simply try to repair it before resorting to formatting your hard drive.

What you will need to Repair a Windows XP installation:

  1. An original Windows XP cd. The one you originally installed. (Not an OEM)
  2. A COA sticker with a serial number that matches your installation.

There are other options to Recover your corrupted Windows instantly even if you do not have an operating system cd. If you do have a cd then you can use this to recover or repair your Windows XP.

How to Repair a Windows XP installation without formatting your computer:

I am assuming you have your operating system cd. If you do not see the option to repair and you only see an option to set up Windows then this tutorial is not for you.

  1. First you must put your Windows XP CD in the drive.
  2. Then restart your computer.
  3. When it says press any key to boot from cd, Press any key on the keyboard. (Go to step 6)
  4. If it doesn’t ask you this then restart your computer again.
  5. Go into the BIOS settings of your PC, usually by pressing the F1, F2, F10, or maybe the delete key. If you are not sure watch the screen at startup and it will say “To enter setup press…….”. You have to be quick and press it. If you miss it restart again. Once you are in the bios you have to change the boot options. You have to make your cd rom the first boot option. Save and exit.
  6. A blue screen will appear and you are on your way..

Repair a Windows XP installation

  1. Press Enter to setup Windows XP now. Do not choose to Repair yet.
  2. If there is a copy of Windows XP on your computer setup will find it.
  3. See below where it says C:windows “Microsoft Windows XP Professional” Make sure this is selected. It may say Windows XP home also.

repair a Windows XP installation without formatting

  1. Now choose to Repair the selected Windows XP installation by pressing the letter R on the keyboard.
  2. Now windows will seem to run through the usual setup process, however a lot quicker. Don’t panic because it will not wipe your files if you have chosen to repair.
  3. At some point you will have to enter the serial number and restart the computer.
  4. When you login again your files will still be there but the Windows errors you had will not.


  • This article relates to an original Windows XP cd. If you use an OEM Version of Xp it may actually format your entire computer and you will loose all of your data.

How to Repair a Windows XP Installation Without Formatting your Computer


  1. Jase says

    Thanks for the help now the blue screen is saying “setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in the computer”, obviously there is a hard disk installed. This pc is working well but i shipped it and when I re-installed everything I get the same issue as posted.