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The complete guide to reinstalling Windows XP

Post-reinstall steps
A fresh, clean version of Windows XP is back on your system. Here's how to get everything running again

Why reinstall, and how hard is it?
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Prepare your PC
Don't reinstall until following these steps
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Reinstall Windows
Your plain-English guide to the process
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Post-reinstall steps
What to do after you've reinstalled
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Keep your PC clean
Maintain your new installation correctly
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Fix common reinstall- related problems
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nce the reinstall or recovery process is complete, you'll find yourself back at the familiar-looking Windows XP desktop. If you've reinstalled Windows XP from an installation disc, the first thing you'll need to do is resize the screen. Right-click the desktop and choose Properties > Settings tab. Use the slider to increase your desktop size - click Apply to see if you've picked the right setting (if you have a 15-inch monitor, 1024x768 is the typical settings; 17-inch LCD owners should try 1280x1024 instead).
   If you're unable to move the slider, you may need to reinstall your graphics card driver - Windows XP has built-in drivers for most cards, including newer models, but a few slip through the net. Once done, explore the other tabs on the Display Properties Control Panel to set up your desktop the way you like it.
   Next, it's time to take care of your security before you reconnect to the Internet (if you're currently connected, unplug or disconnect now). Install Service Pack 3 if it wasn't slipstreamed into your installation disc, then reinstall your security software - if you reinstalled with a recovery disc, you may need to remove any existing security software first, such as time-limited trials of anti-virus software.
If you downloaded AutoPatcher, install and run it now to add a raft of updates and useful extras like the .NET Frameworks and the latest version of Windows Media Player. If you have a downloaded copy of Internet Explorer 8 somewhere, install that too.

Annotation: Essential post-reinstallation steps

Get back online
Now you can connect to the Internet - if necessary, install your modem drivers (if you backed up your drivers using DriverMax, install and run the program again, but this time opt to Import drivers under Driver Operations).
   There are two ways to restore your connection to your Internet Service Provider: either by using a CD or setup file it provided you, or manually using the details you recorded earlier. If you opt for the latter click Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet Connections and click Set up or change your Internet connection to do so.
   Once you're reconnected, take a trip to Windows Update by clicking Start > All Programs > Windows Update. If you have other Microsoft products like Microsoft Office, click the Microsoft Update link to upgrade Windows Update to include these products when it checks for updates.
   You can also verify that Automatic Updates have been switched on from here - if not, click the link to rectify this now. Close Microsoft Update for now and the Automatic Updates feature will start to download these updates in the background. Once downloaded, install them immediately and restart. You may need to do this twice or three times before all of the outstanding critical updates are delivered to your system.
Get your system up and running
If you share your PC with others or weren't prompted to create any user accounts during setup, now's the time to delve into the User Accounts Control Panel to set them up. Once you've finished configuring Windows XP and your own settings, you can then let them log on and follow the relevant steps on these pages themselves.
   Next, it's time to start reinstalling your programs. Don't go mad here - just install those essential tools and applications that you definitely need, such as your office application, image editor and so on. If you reinstall Microsoft Office, don't forget to run the Office Save My Settings Wizard to restore your backed up settings. Other program preferences are covered in the boxout - don't follow it just yet though.
   After reinstalling your programs, go looking for updates. Some programs automatically search for updates each time they're run, others require you to either look for an option (typically on the Help or About menu) or visit the program's website.
   If you restored your system with a recovery disc, you'll find most manufacturers bundle a number of tools that you may or may not use. Review what's been installed and get rid of anything you don't use via the Add or Remove Programs Control Panel or Start > All Programs menu.

Step-by-step: Separate data from Windows





Final steps
The step-by-step guide above is well worth following if you have a second hard drive or you partitioned your drive earlier. It enables you to store your important files and email on your data drive - this means if something goes wrong with Windows XP you can recover your system without worrying about what happens to your data.
   Once you've configured your data drive or partition, the final step is to restore your backups. Reinstall Genie again and enter your registration code as before, but this time click Restore and follow the instructions to restore your files and settings.
   By default, Genie will place files back in their original locations, but you can force it to copy them elsewhere from the Restore files to: drop-down menu. If you've backed up your My Documents folder, you may need to do this to make sure they end up in the correct location on your data drive or partition.
   Any saved program settings should automatically go back to their original spots, while email should also be placed back correctly. If you forgot to back up any individual files or settings, but did take a backup of the entire drive using Macrium Reflect Free, check out the box below for more advice.
   Your system should now be back to a full working state. Your key programs, files and preferences have been restored and your system is more stable and speedy than it was when you embarked on this reinstallation quest. Now turn the page to discover how to keep it that way for longer.

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Restoring files and settings

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