How to Repair Corrupted Windows XP

By Maureen Bruen

Repairing Windows XP when it gets corrupted can turn be a very complicated experience if it isn't done properly. The repair procedure for XP isn't very robust, so you must be sure you are deleting Windows XP files and replacing them with the uncorrupted XP files. If you use the regular repair procedure, Windows XP tries to overwrite the files--and this could cause you more problems than you started with.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Windows XP Professional Installed and corrupted
  • Windows XP Professional Reinstallation CD or boot disk

Step 1

Turn off your computer and insert the Windows XP Reinstallation Disk or boot disk into your computer disk holder.

Step 2

Turn your computer on and hold down the F12 key for "Boot Menu."

Step 3

Use the arrow keys to move to the disk drive that your Reinstallation or boot disk is in. For example, if you put the disk in your CD-ROM drive, then use the arrow key to highlight "CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive" and hit the "Enter" key. This will start the install procedure needed to repair your corrupted copy of Windows XP. Wait until all of the install files are loaded and you see the "Welcome to Setup" window.

Step 4

Press "Enter" to set up Windows XP. Press F8 to agree and then Esc for "Don't Repair." You are going to repair your corrupted XP using a delete and replace of Windows files only.

Step 5

Select the NTFS (New Technology File System) partition so it is highlighted. Use the arrow keys if needed. Press the "Enter" key to set up Windows XP on this selected partition. Press "C" to continue setup on this partition.

Step 6

Make sure "Leave the current file system intact (no changes)" is highlighted and press "Enter" to continue. You will see an option that says "To use the folder and delete the existing Windows installation in it, press L." This is the option you want so the existing Windows files will be deleted and the same file location will be overwritten with a file that is not corrupted. Press "L" and Windows will perform the repair for the entire Windows directory.

Tips & Warnings

  • This repair process can take several hours, depending on the size of your NTFS partition. Make sure you have enough time to complete this process, uninterrupted. Once the process is complete, you may have to restore some of your programs and device drivers. It replaces virtually everything to ensure the restored version of Windows XP is not corrupted.