Help me re-install XP
November 27, 2006 7:58 PM   Subscribe

My mom's computer won't re-install an older version of Windows XP. This is actually a timely, pressing problem.

When we split, I purchased a Sony VAIO laptop from my ex. We agreed that she'd wipe the hard drive for various reasons. Instead, she ended up replacing the hard drive entirely -- which is fine, except she installed a temporary copy of XP. (Evidently, we/she lost the original install discs from Sony -- we legally purchased the computer and copy of XP.)

I tried re-installing a version of XP from an older, defunct desktop my mom no longer uses, but it won't let me re-install an older version over a newer one.

The XP trial installed now expires tomorrow. It wouldn't be a big issue, except I am overseas and Skype is how my mom and I communicate via video chat.

What are my options for legally getting a working copy of XP? Contact Sony? Is there a way to get around the "can't re-install an old version" barrier? Please do not suggest hitting the ex up to buy a new copy of XP. It's really not an option.
posted by jeffmshaw to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Step 0 -> have her buy a USB hard drive as big as the laptops HD. Use NTBACKUP to do a full backup.

Step 1 -> Boot off the old XP cd, start setup, delete the old partitions, and recreate a new partition.

Step 2 -> Install WIndows from the old CD.

You *may* run into an issue later when you try to install SP2, or validate Windows. If that happens, send me an email and I'll tell you how to fix it.
posted by SirStan at 8:10 PM on November 27, 2006

I am assuming somewhere you have a Windows XP cd, and a legal Windows XP cdkey of course. Is that the case?

If not, buy one from Newegg (oem xp home), and start at step 0.
posted by SirStan at 8:13 PM on November 27, 2006

Response by poster: Hi: thanks for the help! Yes, I have a legal copy of XP to install.

None of the programs or data on the HD are really necessary to keep -- can I just boot from the old disc and effectively erase the data from the hard drive? Apologies for the n00b-ness, I've never done this before.
posted by jeffmshaw at 8:21 PM on November 27, 2006

Yes you can. I believe it goes something like..

Tell Windows you do NOT want to do a repair install (actually, try a repair install first.. unlikely, but it might work-prob waste 30 minutes of your time--worst case continue on).

Delete all existing partitions, create a new one (NTFS, quick format).
posted by SirStan at 8:28 PM on November 27, 2006

If you want any help, shoot me an email and I can hop on skype when you do it.
posted by SirStan at 8:29 PM on November 27, 2006

First, what product key did she use when she installed this temporary key? If she used the code attached to the computer, then you don't need to re-install. Just start up the activation wizard, choose telephone activation, and go through it. A nice Indian man will ask you a few questions and then give you an installation ID.

If she re-used a different product key, read this article on changing your product key, change it to the number on the attached sticker and then follow the instructions above.

If you need to install and you have a CD burner, make a slipstreamed copy of windows xp sp2. Basically, it turns an older copy of windows into a newer copy; you can slipstream service packs, security patches, all sorts of stuff. nLite automates this process quite nicely. Simply use your original CD and download service pack 2 (the big 200 mb version) and point nLite towards both, and it'll figure out the details.
posted by boaz at 8:58 PM on November 27, 2006

That's "when she installed this temporary XP". Also, by attached code, I mean the product key on the little Genuine Microsoft sticker affixed to the computer.
posted by boaz at 9:01 PM on November 27, 2006

Actually, now that I look around a bit, there also a program specifically designed for changing you windows xp product key. Haven't used it, but it sounds like it streamlines the process nicely. Keep in mind that you'll still need to do a Phone Activation instead of an Internet Activation.
posted by boaz at 9:42 PM on November 27, 2006

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