One of the first steps in solving advanced Windows XP problem is being able to boot into the recovery console from your Windows XP CD or boot disks. The recovery console is a diagnostic interface that looks a lot like DOS. You can enter command line instructions and repair problems without accessing the Windows graphical interface.
Microsoft requires that all OEM computers with Windows XP preinstalled now be shipped with a bootable Windows XP CD rather than a comprehensive recovery CD. This means that if you have purchased your computer over the past few years, you probably have a bootable Windows XP CD. This is important because you can boot from any Windows XP original OEM CD. That means you can insert your bootable Windows XP CD into your CD Drive and the computer will ask you if you wish to boot from the bootable Windows CD rather than your troubled hard drive.
NOTE: - Some computers are not set to boot from their CD drives first. If you insert your bootable Windows XP CD and restart your PC and it still boots from your hard drive, you may need to edit your BIOS to set the CD drive as the first boot device. Every BIOS is different, so if you fall into this category, we recommend you contact a service center to ask about gaining access to your computer's BIOS and changing the boot device priority.
If you don't have a bootable Windows XP CD, or just can't find it, don't worry. You can download a free boot disk creation utility available from the Microsoft website. Click on the appropriate link below for your Windows XP Home or Professional operating system.
When you click on the link, a download box will appear. Be sure to save the boot disk creator file in an easy to find location (like your desktop) so you can run it without having to search for it.
NOTE: - Selecting the proper version of Windows XP is important. If you are unsure which version of Windows XP you have installed on your PC, look on the sides or back of your computer's case for the Windows XP sticker. Every computer that came with Windows XP preinstalled is required to have one. It should say on that sticker whether your computer is loaded with Windows XP Home or Professional.
If you have Windows XP Home, click here to download Microsoft's boot disk creator.
If you have Windows XP Professional, click here to download Microsoft's boot disk creator.
NOTE: - The Windows XP Boot Disk Creator only creates 3.5" floppy disks. You can not create Windows XP boot CDs using this program. In the past this would go without saying, but today many computers do not ship with a floppy disk drive. Obviously, you will need a floppy drive to create a 3.5" Windows XP boot disk set.
The box will ask you where you want to create the Windows XP boot disks. If your floppy drive is the A drive, then press the letter "a" and press enter. Now simply follow the directions on the screen to create your 6-disk Windows XP boot disk set. Make sure you label each boot disk so you know which is which!
Once your 6-disk Windows XP boot disk set is created, you can insert boot disk 1 into your sick computer and begin the boot process. It will take some time to fully boot, so be patient and swap boot disks when you are instructed to do so. Good luck!
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