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How do I restore Windows XP to a netbook?
June 28, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to re-install Windows XP on an Asus 1005HA. However I have two problems: (1) I lost the recovery CD and (2) the recovery partition on the hard-drive no longer exists. Help!

I'm trying to put Windows XP back on the netbook. It had Windows 7 beta and now shuts down every 2 hours. I don't want to buy Windows 7 for it as I'm probably going to sell the netbook in the future.

My first thought was to just re-install from scratch and then load the drivers from the Asus website. However the CD key on the bottom of the netbook is for "Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC" and I have Windows XP Home Edition.

My questions: Can I install Windows XP Home Edition and then use the CD key on the netbook? If not, is there a version on MSDN that I could use? For obvious legal reasons, I don't want to use my MSDN keys.

I also thought about restoring the recovery partition. However as I mentioned before, I don't have either the CD or the partition. Using Google, I found these instructions but they assumed you still have the DVD. I also found instructions at the bottom of this forum thread but found that when I booted the laptop from the USB stick it told me that the Asus recovery files were missing.

My other question: Does anyone know a way that actually works to get back the recovery partition?
posted by mr_silver to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Should work with an XP Home OEM media.
posted by wongcorgi at 8:40 AM on June 28, 2010

Your Product Key will work. Worst case scenario, it won't activate and you'll have to call the MS activation line and tell them you needed to reformat. The activation should then work.

Is there still a separate drive for the recovery partition, or when you installed Windows 7 did you repartition everything into one big master drive? If the partition itself is gone there's very little chance of recovering it. You'd need dedicated partition tools to fix that.

(I wouldn't worry so much about the recovery partition if you have a Windows XP disc. Just install and prep Windows as normal, [url=""]slap on the Asus drivers and software[/url], then image everything once it's configured. You can use a non-destructive partition tool to make one large enough for your backup image, then just boot a restore program from USB or disc to apply it.
posted by truex at 8:57 AM on June 28, 2010

Hrrm, pretend that's HTML up there, like this!

...slap on the Asus drivers and software...
posted by truex at 8:58 AM on June 28, 2010

As a follow up to my own question (for anyone who finds this through Google many years to come), the OEM version of Windows XP Home Edition does work and so wongcorgi's recommendation is marked as the best answer.

However, just to make things difficult, Microsoft do not offer the OEM version of XP Home through MSDN. So what you need to do is download the retail version of XP Home and then extract all the files onto your hard-drive. There are plenty of programs that can do that, although I use a free application called MagicISO as it can mount ISO's as a virtual CD drive as well as a couple of other nice features.

Once you've copied all the files onto your computer, you then need to convert it into the OEM version using the instructions here. Don't forget to make a note of the name that the CD should be called for later on. So for example, if you're making an XP Home OEM SP2 then the CD name needs to be VRMHOEM_EN.

You then need to extract the boot image from the original ISO and I used the instructions in step 4 from this site. Once done, I had a file called Microsoft Corporation.img although the site does warn it could be any name but end in ".img".

I then used CDBurnXP to burn a CD with all the installation files. Unfortunately it took three attempts to get a working bootable CD but the key things you needed to do was follow step 3 from this site. As an additional thing, I made sure that the image labels were correct by making the Volume Set the same as the Volume Label (disk name) and setting the publisher and data preparer as "MICROSOFT CORPORATION" (without the quotes).

I then burnt the CD ensuring that it was finalised so no other files could be written to it.
posted by mr_silver at 2:11 AM on July 21, 2010

Apologies, I did not use MagicISO (which is a paid for application for burning CD's and DVD's) but MagicDisc (which is a free application for fooling your computer into thinking you have a CD-ROM drive containing a disk - which is actually your ISO file).

I have never used or paid for MagicISO and would generally recommend CDBurnXP for burning CD's and DVD's on the basis that it's free and does a good job.
posted by mr_silver at 8:51 AM on July 25, 2010

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