An all too common five star popcorn removal problem that Windows users face is a situation where the system is damaged and needs to be repaired. The user may experience an inability to boot, disruptive BSODs (blue screen of death), a crippling virus attack or horrible performance accompanied by frequent and strange errors.
Most users want relief and fast. However, they don’t want to lose all the programs and data that they worked so long and hard to put into place.
Before any repair can proceed, any hardware problems that may be causing the problem need to be corrected. It should be determined that the hard disk and motherboard at a minimum are working properly.
Once hardware has been checked out, 4 options exist for XP systems to resolve the problem
- Performing an XP repair install to achieve XP automatic recovery.
- Installing a clean version of XP and recovering from a backup.
- Direct bare metal restore from a backup such as Acronis.
- Reimage automated XP repair.
Windows system XP Repair Through a Repair Install
XP has provided for automated system recovery by allowing a user to do a repair install. The user goes through the motions of installing the operating system but instead of doing a fresh install selects an option to repair an existing installation.
This option can be technically challenging, requires careful preparation, needs special care for a number of situations and can be very time consuming.
The best source for information on how to do this is provided by Michael Stevens Tech.
Preparation for this process requires that data be backed up before starting. Optimally, all existing data should be backed up but certain crucial data absolutely must be saved. Certain files which would initiate a wipe out of the system must be removed. XP Files And Settings Transfer should be invoked. If the XP CD that is being used for the repair install is not at the highest service pack upgrade level, the current service packs on the system need to be undone. Alternatively, a slipstreamed version of XP which includes XP and the service packs can be created before starting. Michael Stevens Tech offers some methods for doing this.
The user has to be careful not to use the recovery console which is not the same thing as a repair install. If the repair install doesn’t find the existing operating system, some emergency measures are needed. One option is to get a new hard drive and install a fresh copy of XP on it and put the old drive in as a 2nd drive which can be accessed for it’s programs and data. If the user has not retained the progam installation software or cd, it may be impossible to restore some applications. It may be possible to get the repair to recognize the old operating system by reconfiguring boot.ini.
If everything else goes, well and service packs have to be reapplied, the system should not be connected to the Internet until the packs are in and a firewall is active in order to avoid being infected by the Sasser worm.