The Windows XP recovery disk is used for PC repair and maintenance when the OS is corrupted or needs to be reinstalled. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can download and create the setup disks in order to do your own Windows recovery.
What the Windows XP recovery disk can be used for
You may have need for the Windows XP recovery disk if your computer keeps crashing and is unable to boot correctly. It is possible to run various systems scans in order to repair, or attempt to repair, the OS damage. The disk can also be used to completely reinstall the operating system.
The six Windows setup disks used to be included as part of every PC purchase. But it is now more common to exclude these disks for cost reasons. Therefore, you need to create the six floppy disks for yourself (see next section) or resort to using some of the alternatives (see last section of this article).
Getting the Windows XP recovery disk download
The process itself is quite straight forward but does require borrowing a second PC with Internet access and six floppy disks.
- Format 6 floppy disks then number them one through six.
- Borrow a second PC with Internet access and go to the following support.Microsoft.com article. The article lists off the various Windows XP recovery disk download applications based on your edition of XP (home/professional) and service pack level (1/2/3). Double click on the appropriate file to save it to your local disk.
- Double-click on the downloaded file in order to extract its contents and start-up the setup disk creation wizard. This application will prompt you to insert floppy disks when necessary and go through the entire process of transferring files onto floppies. Once complete, take out the last of the floppy disks.
- Place the first floppy disk into your faulty PC and restart the computer. It should automatically boot from the floppy disk by default but if it doesn’t then you may need to change the boot sequence item in the BIOS menu (hit F1/F10 as the system starts to access this menu).
Once the system starts, it should be able to reinstall the operating system if desired or start doing any of the diagnostic scans.
Alternatives to the Windows recovery disk
Before using the setup disks, it is worth knowing that there are some other alternatives if you are trying to repair the system. Here are some suggestions:
- Boot from the installation CD: This will save you the bother of having to download and create the floppy disks and will also allow you access to the Windows Recovery Console application to try and rollback changes to the OS. To boot the PC directly from the CD, insert the disk into the drive, restart the PC and enter the BIOS menu. You will need to change the BIOS menu setting for boot sequence to prioritize the CD drive then restart the system and the computer will boot off the CD.
- Use the last known good configuration: If the operating system has developed a fault then try rolling back changes to OS applications and the registry by selecting the last known good configuration. This can be found in the Windows advanced options menu by hitting the F8 key as the system boots.
- Use PC repair and maintenance software: You could try using products like Reimage which runs as an online repair service to rectify faults to DLLs, OS programs and the registry. Their website can provide a downloadable boot disk that can be used to start up your PC if the OS is corrupted.