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can I recover my programs after reinstalling XP?


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RogerAF RogerAF is offline
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26-Feb-2010, 06:30 PM #1
can I recover my programs after reinstalling XP?
I had a Blue Screen of Death event and could not get started again in safe mode or any other, so I used my XP disk to do an install without format, so no files were deleted. Now I have a clean windows installation, but my original desktop and My Documents folders are in a different user directory. All my original programs are still in the C:\Program Files folder, but they aren't recognized by the new OS.

I have a very recent backup of my original registry and I want to know if there is a way to import that into the new current registry and get my original programs back. I can't reinstall many of them, because I lost the original disks during a move a couple of years ago.

I have been pretty good about backing up stuff and I have redundant copies of my data files and even the Program Files folder on a slave hard drive. It is figuring out how to make use of it that is my issue now. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thank You,
Roger
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26-Feb-2010, 08:59 PM #2
Welcome to TSG

Whenever I reinstalled XP from the original computer's manufacturer, everything was always gone, I had to reinstall all my programs again from the original disks or the zip files.
My own files I needed, I copied them back to the new install.

I am not sure, but I think it depends how you re-installed, OEM disks seem to format new on laptop or the desktop.

I learned to make backup copies from program files on CDs because I loose them too, even without a move, must be somewhere in the house.

I hope someone has better advise for you to recover the programs.
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26-Feb-2010, 09:26 PM #3
The process RogerAF followed is called a repair install, or non-destructive system recovery (for OEM systems and recovery CDs).

Personally, I don't know what is likely to happen if you do import your original Registry settings. Seeing as it involves your original system, there is a reasonable chance it could work. But the question to ask is, how much of a chance are you willing to take to test a theory?

One thing that might be a problem is your old profile. The thing is, it not only stores you My Documents, Start Menu, and your desktop, but also things like application data, system settings and other stuff related to your software and system managed by your profile.

In all honesty, it would be easier to install all your programs again than trying to piece them back together.

As for your desktop and My Documents stuff, you can safely move them to your new profile, no problem.
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RogerAF RogerAF is offline
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27-Feb-2010, 11:23 AM #4
Thanks Guys,
So, as I understand what techkid is saying, I should copy all the folders and files from my old profile, to the new profile as well as getting my old registry into the current one.

I'm hoping to at least get the control panel's Add or Remove Programs to recognize the old programs and then I should be able to Change them and get them running again. I was able to do this with AutoCAD after a crash a few years ago (but it wasn't as bad as this). Hopefully I can rescue most of them.

Any suggestions, ideas, or advice always welcome.
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27-Feb-2010, 12:11 PM #5
let us know how you make out, so that we all can learn.
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27-Feb-2010, 12:51 PM #6
This suggestion won't recover your personal files, but it's a great way to avoid the situation in the future.

Next time a re-install is needed, create a 15g {20g if you play PC games) C partition for the OS and personal programes and use the rest of the HD for a 2nd. partition called E (or F if you have 2 disk drives).

When the new install is up on C in your partitioned HD, move the My Documents folder to a new folder on E you have created there called My Documents: Right click My Documents in C\properties\move\to duplicate My Documents on E.

From now on, when you use My documents or it's sub folders, you will really be accessing it's twin on E. Nothing stays on C except the OS and programs which you will have the exe.'s off on disk or in a Program exe. folder created in E, ready for any future OS re-install (it pays to have a Driver exe. folder there too for your main drivers).

Defraging C now is a breeze. When I encounter a serious operating system problem difficult to fix, I now just do a re-install and I'm up and running with a fresh problem free OS in a couple of hours, knowing everything valuable is safely in E. I know we should back-up to disks regularly, but there is always stuff that hasn't been backed up (yet) and often a lot of stuff if we have been slack with our backing up, which is more likely than not :-)

This HD set-up is nice to have, as more often than not, a necessary OS re-install is needed when least expected or planned for! All you will lose in C is the programs which are a simple re-install. E will be intact when your OS is re-installed on the C partition. This method can also be set up before a crash if you have Gparted or some similar partition manager to create or re-size current partitions. When My Documents is 'moved', everything in it's sub-folders will end up in E and no longer be susceptible to a sudden OS loss.

Last edited by akabilk; 27-Feb-2010 at 01:23 PM..
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27-Feb-2010, 02:59 PM #7
Sounds more like you did a parallel install, not a repair install. A repair install would still see your programs and data.
Do you have two Windows folders? One with a slightly different name, like Windows.000 or Windows.PCName?

If so, you'll have quite a job ahead of you. It would be far easier to re-install the programs than try to manually do the job of the installer.
You can't just import the old registry, as the Windows folder name has changed, and many programs hard code that path rather than using the %systemroot% variable.
Plus you may import the problem that caused you to re-install in the first place.
So you would have to track down all the registry entries for each program (there could be hundreds), edit them to show the new Windows folder name, find all the files that were installed into the Windows tree and copy them to the new Windows tree.

I'd try booting with the OS CD again, and see if you have an option to repair the original Windows install first. If so, that would be the easiest option.
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