1. Computer problem? Tech Support Guy is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations. Click here to join today! If you're new to Tech Support Guy, we highly recommend that you visit our Guide for New Members.

Help reinstalling XP with only winnt32.exe file and no boot CD

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by littlebluerobot, Jan 2, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Advertisement
  1. littlebluerobot

    littlebluerobot Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    I really need some advice/help/magic here. I need to reinstall my OS but I've got a couple of problems.

    I use a Dell Dimension 4600 PC and I don't remember whether or not it came with a boot disc for Windows XP. If it did, I don't know where it is. I've been looking for it for a week now.

    But I did find the winnt32.exe file that I read about online that should basically allow me to reinstall XP without the boot CD, right? Well after backing up all my stuff onto an external (including a copy of winnt32.exe) I took a deep breath and double-clicked the file, hoping that this reinstall would fix my XP woes.

    Instead, I got the following error:
    "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.
    Warning: If you decide to delete the newer version of Windows that is currently installed on your computer, the files and settings cannot be recovered."

    So this has to be because I have Service Pack 2 installed, right? So what now? My boyfriend told me to reformat the PC's hard drive and then I would be fine to reinstall Windows but I'm pretty sure I can't do that without a boot CD.

    Am I utterly screwed here? :confused: Keep in mind that while I know my way around a computer, I'm no genius, so don't make me feel stupid here! Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Are you sure that you don't already have a copy of Windows in a recovery partition on your hard drive (F11 at boot time)?

    (You need to load an operating system to start and run winnt32. It is usually run from DOS, but you probably don't need to use that method.)

    But you need the full installation set of files, not just winnt32.
     
  3. littlebluerobot

    littlebluerobot Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Not to sound completely stupid, but I don't really know what a recovery partition is.

    Why would I need to load a seperate operating system to start and run winnt32 when I'm already running XP...?

    And if I need the full set of installation files...is the only way to get those off a CD?
     
  4. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    Winnt is just a program. It needs to be loaded into some operating system to run. Usually, people load DOS and then run the program from that.

    But most new computers come with a recovery (hidden) partition on the hard drive that has the Windows files. It is the substitute for the CD/DVD. Usually, you can boot to it on a Dell by pressing F11 at the right time just as the machine starts to boot. Try that if you haven't already.

    Yes, you need installation media to get all the Windows files for an installation.
     
  5. littlebluerobot

    littlebluerobot Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    So I tried pressing F11 at the Dell splash screen and it does nothing. I also tried pressing CTRL and F11 which is what the Dell website said to do and that does nothing either.

    Working on borrowing a Windows boot disc from someone.
     
  6. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    OK. Do you know whether you have an extra partition on that drive?

    You may find it useful to make this CD (or bootable USB key) to boot up and examine your drive. If you do, in fact, have a recovery partition but for some reason (partitions were changed, destroying Dell's private MBR on the drive, for example) it is not bootable, there are other methods that can be used to access that partition.

    You will need to install Windows from that partition. Any other CD you use, if a retail version, will not be able to use your product key that is licensed to Dell. But you could also buy recovery CD's from Dell for a small fee.

    Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.

    -------------------------------------

    If you do find an XP CD and get to the Recovery Console, type "map" as a command and it will tell you what partitions are on the drive.
     
  7. Sponsor

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 733,556 other people just like you!

Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Short URL to this thread: https://techguy.org/972280

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice