Microsoft Windows XP remains a popular operating system for those of us who still have older machines that will not support Windows Vista or Windows 7. For those of us who continue to rely on this older operating system, we may experience the need to reinstall Windows XP for a variety of reasons. Whether the problem is a result of a virus, a bad update, bad driver or a failed software update, you could end up having to try to repair your Windows XP program in order to get your system back up and running properly.

In order to do a Windows XP repair installation, the first step you should do is to make a backup of all of your important files. Though the repair should leave your files and programs intact, a backup is a precaution just in case something goes wrong with the repair. Make sure you backup your data and files to a separate CD or DVD and not on the hard disk you are attempting to repair.

Also be aware of the following:
A repair install is intended to replace system files with files from your XP CD and your applications and settings will remain intact. However, updates and service packs will need to be reapplied after the repair is completed.
In addition replacing system files will NOT fix a virus, adware or malware problem. It is best to remove these before attempting a repair install. I would also recommend that you have a copy of any previous service pack you had previously installed available on CD as well.

Here are the steps to follow to start the repair process:
1. Boot your computer using the XP CD. Note: You may have to change the boot order in your BIOS settings so that the CD boots before your hard disk does.
2. You will see a ‘Welcome To Setup’ screen with the following option – To Setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.
3. DO NOT SELECT THE OPTION TO REPAIR WINDOWS XP USING THE RECOVERY CONSOLE!
4. You must accept the License Agreement to proceed. A search will be done to locate your existing Windows installation.
5. Once the existing Windows is located press the letter R to start the repair process. The repair process is done automatically for you. Do not attempt to stop the repair process and let the repair fully complete.
6. The repair process will continue and all system files will be replaced. Your settings and programs will remain as they were before you completed the new installation.

As mentioned above, you will need to reinstall any updates or service packs that were previously installed to return Windows to its original state before the repair process.

Before connecting to the Internet make sure that your Windows firewall or other third party firewall is working correctly and that your anti-virus software is also working properly.