Build an XP SP3 Recovery Disc  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Odds are your computer came with a recovery disc, a CD with all the programs and drivers that were installed on your PC's hard drive when it was new. And odds are you have absolutely no idea where that disc is.

The good news is that it probably doesn't matter. First of all, the recovery media most PC manufacturers provide is designed for a singular purpose: to restore your computer to the state it was in when you bought it. This process typically involves wiping your hard drive (say bye-bye to your spreadsheets and vacation photos) and then reinstalling Windows and the handful of programs originally included with your system. Unless you're simply preparing the whole kit and caboodle to sell on eBay, this is probably not something you will ever need.

Second, the hardware drivers on your recovery CD are almost certainly out of date, either made obsolete by newer and better versions available online, or simply irrelevant to new hardware you've subsequently installed.

Instead of fretting about the old recovery CD you lost (or perhaps never got), why not take a few minutes and make one of your own?

Ideally, a recovery disc should act as a safety net should anything disagreeable happen to your PC's hard drive or its data. (Think crash, virus, spyware attack, driver corruption, and so on.) A good recovery disc allows you to reinstall Windows to fix a minor problem or rebuild your PC from scratch to recover from a major one.

Here's the problem: Once you upgrade your XP installation to Service Pack 3, Windows won't ever allow you to install an older version (including earlier editions of XP) without either wiping the hard drive clean or installing to a different drive. Even if you do install "fresh," you'll still have to then endure a separate SP3 upgrade. The solution is to create a new hybrid installation disc from whatever installer CD you have and a special version of SP3, using a process known as slipstreaming(etymology: fluid mechanics, or the "Hope and Fear" episode of Star Trek: Voyager.)

Step 1: Take Stock

To prepare a recovery CD, you'll need only three things: a Windows XP install CD (any edition), a valid Windows product key, and about 1.5 gigabytes of free space on your hard drive. Of course, as with many recipes, procuring the ingredients is often the hardest part.

The install CD can be any version, including Service Pack 2, Service Pack 1, or the original release from 2001. If you already have a disc labeled "Windows XP with Service Pack 3" (as opposed to merely an SP3 updatedisc), then you don't need this procedure. Go ahead and read another story.

The CD can be difficult to come by if you bought your PC with Windows preinstalled, mostly because so many manufacturers omit Microsoft's installer CD these days in favor of some sort of customized "express install" recovery disc. (This is done for a variety of reasons, including to simplify customer support and also, in the penny-pinching tradition, to reduce Microsoft licensing fees.) Some PC manufacturers are service-conscious enough to send a true XP CD to any customer who asks for one, but if you're not so lucky, you can get a genuine disc on eBay for as little as $10. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Dec 10, 2008 at 9:22 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 comments

There are too many causes because of which data could be lost. Power surges or outages, accidental deletion, virus or spyware designed to wipe your hard drive, hard drive formatting, file system corruption etc. are few of them which account most of the data loss. What you require to do is always be ready for the most horrible and consider using data recovery software.

December 20, 2008 at 12:05 AM

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