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Re-installing Windows XP Procedure

If the above two options for repairing your Windows XP installation do not resolve the problems being experienced, the next stage is to do a full re-installation of Windows XP.

In a re-installation of Windows XP, you would choose to install Windows XP in the same folder that the existing (failed) Windows XP is installed in. This will overwrite that folder's contents; settings and installed applications will be lost. The registry will be reset to the newly installed state. All Service Packs will be reset to the level of the Windows installation CD.

To do a re-installation of Windows XP, follow the instructions below for a clean installation. Be careful to leave the partition contents intact, that is: do not format the drive! (A clean installation would usually format the drive; however this process will delete all drive content.)

Who am I?

When you do a re-installation of Windows XP, and then logon to the new installation, instead of using your old profile in Documents and Settings, Windows XP creates a new one! A user profile under Documents and Settings is by default named the same as the user name. But if Windows XP doesn't realize that you are the same as the existing profile, it will simply create a new profile for you, using your name, and a suffix. The suffix may be the computer name, or a three digit number starting at 000. If there is an existing profile with that name, Windows XP will increment the number and try again until it creates a new, unique name for your profile.

But, you want your old profile. It has your documents, desktop, and all the other settings that make you who you are.

There are tools to help fix-up the broken profile linkage. You can move most of these pointers back to your old profile using the Windows XP Power Toys add-on to Windows XP. This tool includes a number of interesting utilities, though the most important one for managing profiles is the Tweak UI tool.

Power Toys for Windows XP may be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx.

Using Tweak UI is easy enough, but you must remember that it does not move any files, it only specifies where they are to be found. If you wish to move your My Documents folder, first change the location in Tweak UI, and then copy the correct My Documents folder to the same location you used in Tweak UI. (Usually you will just point My Documents to the location of your original My Documents.)

The multiple My Documents effect also may appear when a clean installation is made to a drive that has an existing Documents and Settings. Setup will not remove anything from Documents and Settings, and Windows will create a new user profile following a Windows installation.