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William_Wilson 03-22-2006 08:45 PM

Clean Install of Windows Without Loss of Data

Please read all instructions ahead of time, you may even wish to print them if you are new to this.

Doing a Clean Install of Windows XP can be troublesome at times.. loss of data, or just plain hard if you don't know what to do!
This tutorial will allow you to perform a clean installation of XP, without data loss, and do it for free*
*(exluding the cost of Windows XP :D)

Tips to follow before you even think of doing the inevitable format.

Make a list of:
1) all the programs you had installed, that you will want to install again.
2) all the files you wish to keep (perhaps arrange them in a single folder)
3) make a note of ALL harware deviced you had drivers for.

Doing these 3 things will save you time and effort during and after the format/installation.

If you have multiple hard drives you may wish to skip ahead, as you can transfer files from your windows drive to another. IF you do not then you require a partition.

A parition seperates your drive so windows will treat it like 2 seperate drives, allowing you to destroy one, and leave the other completely intact!

I have not found any reliable freeware partitioning tools, that will work for all drive formats, but you can use the Partition Magic trial. The full version is expensive so if you are not constantly using this product this will be enough.

You want to create a logical partition to store your precious data. while you format and install XP again.

(I actually encourage all computer users to divide their main drive for this very reason.. in the case of an accident where making the partition is impossible, this will be a life savor!)

run your partitioning tool (my example uses partition magic).
your windows drive will look similar to:

now click this image and from the left hand menu select create a new partition: click next twice. Then make sure the new partition will be created after the current partition, and click next again.
click next once more then you will get to choose the size of this partition. Based on the amount of data you need to save it will likely be a few gigs (NOTE 1024MB=1GB)

Name the drive, then click next.
you will now have a second image resembling:

click finish then to the bottom left click apply. This will restart your computer, upon restart partition magic will do it's thing separating your drive.

It will then likely restart again, and load into Windows.

Now you can cut and paste all your files to your new partition for safe keeping.

In the case that your partition is not large enough, simple open partition magic again and this time select Resize/Move Partitions simply make the partition larger by increasing the first counter to take space from your first partition, then increasing the middle partition to add the stolen memory to your safe keeping partition.

Reboot and continue transferring files.

Once all your files are out of harms way, it is time to do the clean install.
*NOTE remember the size of the 2 partitions and which is which.. it will be important later.

Restart your computer with the Windows cd in the drive (assuming your boot order includes the cd drive, if it doesn't you must add it before your hard drive by entering bios by pressing delete or ctrl+alt+esc when the reboot first starts, or the equivalent for your motherboard)

When prompted to boot from cd press a key to do so.

Windows will begin installation and after loading the setup files will give you choices:
repair, install, etc
You want to install. You will likely be given a warning about another copy of Windows being on the drive, and this will be your last chance to change your mind.

You will be given a list of all of your partitions, now select the partition which has your windows on it, and not the partition with all of your saved data on it!

You may again be given a warning about Windows being installed, accept it yet again.

depending on your prefrence you will want to choose either the quick or full format. This will ensure no conflicts when installing your Windows with the previous version, and give you the Clean Install.

As far as the boot cd is conserned, both of these options are recoverable, but full takes a heck of a lot longer, so i suggest using the quick format.

once that is done, and you have agreed to the license agreement, by pressing F8. You are on your way, you will be prompted along the way to name your computer, and other trivial things, and your computer will restart at least a couple times, as well as your screen flickering during video driver installation, do not worry these are all normal.

*NOTE do not press to run from cd after the setup restarts your computer, otherwise you will have to start the installation process over again.

After a final restart, windows has been installed!!
I suggest at this time you go over to the Secure Your Computer for Free page to protect yourself from the issues that likely initiated this clean install in the first place.

Now you can return your files to their correct places and work on downloading and installing the lists you made of drivers and programs.
*If you wish to remove this partition (though i advise against it for reasons mentioned earlier) install Partition Magic again and resize your
partitions by making the bottom counter as high as it will go then increasing the middle to use all of the space. Returning your drive into a single partition.

You may also choose the option to delete this partition.

Enjoy your Newly Installed Windows!

Questions/Comments: [email protected]
-William. (marvin_gohan)

Mikeg 05-23-2006 04:11 PM


What if you had already partitioned your whole hard drive with just one partition. Wil Partition magic allow you to use the unused space on the partition to create another partition?

Sami 05-23-2006 04:19 PM

Yes partition magic will partition existiing partition, it will resize the existing partition and will create a new second partition.

William_Wilson 05-29-2006 01:29 AM

partition magic allows for the creation and/or splitting of any partition, as long as the size is larger than the size required to create the table of contents for the drive, up to the limits of your drive.

geercom 03-16-2007 08:47 AM

Very cool tip!
Very cool tip! Why not simply split a larger drive in half and put all OS and Apps on both partitions with dual boot? With an external HDD for the rest of your data, you can simply boot into the other OS instance and pull data you're working on from the Ext HDD.

William_Wilson 03-16-2007 10:46 AM

that is an option, but i don't know if the average user wants to dual boot, or owns an external drive, but that is definatly an option!

Bobby_b 06-16-2007 10:44 AM

If I have programs stored on a seperate drive, will they be affected when I clean install the C drive?

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