Windows XP XP Recovery Does Not Work


New Member
Hi guys.

I have a problem. My parents have a pc. These are the stats:

Windows XP - 32 bit
Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz 3.00 GHz
1,00 GB RAM
48,8 GB HD [22,1 GB free]

(if you need more, drop me a line)

Their Skype hasn't been working for ages, and I tried to install Windows XP's service pack 3 but it didn't work (I get an error message which reads: "service pack 3 could not backup registry value...") I read on here that getting rid of my temp files, cleaning up the registry and disabling the anitvirus program should do the trick. However, after doing that the error message is still there.

Someone else recommended installing it in safe mode, that didn't work either (same error message).

Anyway. As the pc is slow, and there are several programs which don't work properly, I thought before trying anything else I do a clean installation. I secured their files, found the old recovery disk, told BIOS to boot from the disk, and ... nothing happened. The pc boots as if the disk wasn't there.

By this point I was a bit fed up and inserted a 8.1 windows (64) recovery disk simply to make matters sure, and voila, it got the installation process started . Of course after several minutes I get, as expected, an error message saying the pc is not 64 bits compatible.

And yet, when I put its own recovery disk back in it won't recognise it. I just don't understand what's going on. Any suggestions?
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First, having confirmed that the pc will boot from a CD I'd try the reverse - that the cd is bootable by trying it in another machine. Second, did the pc come with xp installed - if it did then you may have the option to boot into recovery mode from the hard drive.
I'm with Pat on this one. That XP Recovery CD is at least 8-13 years old and may have dings or surface scratches on it which could keep it from booting. Try it on another working computer where you know the CD drive is working correctly. Since the Win8.1 Recovery disc boots ok on the XP machine, the BIOS is correctly reading the CD drive, and your boot order preference is working correctly.

Your comments about SP3 not installing lead me to believe you have a corrupted Windows XP installation, or more likely that hard drive has failed. Pat's comment may be applicable, but many XP computers of that age did NOT have Recovery Partitions (hidden Rescue program to restore the PC to it's out-of-box software load image). Or, if your parents ever had the original hard drive replaced due to a crash; the Recovery Partition if it had one, of course would be gone, and it's not possible to copy that partition from the old drive to the new drive. You could also borrow a friend's boxed retail XP installation disc (must be full, not upgrade) to test our theory. If that retail XP disc boots up into XP installation mode, then indeed your parent's XP Recovery disc is toast, has failed and must be replaced with a working one (borrow or buy one ebay).:waah:

If that still doesn't resolve the problem, there's a good chance that your hard drive in that machine has failed. You can easily test this by downloading the free SEATOOLS drive test program from Download the SEATOOLS program on a different working computer or laptop you have; don't use the desktop that is having the Skype & SP3 issues. Then google the free IMGburn program and download it. The SEATOOLS program will be in an ISO image file format; the IMGburn program will let you burn that file to a blank CD or DVD disc that will be bootable. I recommend you test this out on the working computer you created the SEATOOLS boot test disc on. If it works take it over to your parent's PC and try it. Make sure to run BOTH short and long tests. If SEATOOLS returns any errors, that hard drive has failed and must be replaced! :waah:

If your hard drive has failed, you should have figured out a way to get a working XP installation disc by now. Use that disc to reinstall XP onto the new replacement hard drive. If you had to use a retail copy of XP installation disc (Microsoft), you will need to go to the PC manufacturer's website and download and install all the drivers for that machine. This can take 1-3 days to do, so be patient. Attempt reinstall of SP3 unless it's already on the new XP installation disc you procured. This is important, as if SP3 is not installed, programs such as SKYPE that use the Internet will now work correctly without the SP3 updates to the Windows system networking files. :down:

Furthermore, your inability to install SP3 indicates a very sick PC. :( The Hard Drive is usually the cause as I indicated, and the solution is simple; replace the hard drive and reinstall XP from scracth. Make sure your select the CUSTOM install option on the new hard drive XP install, and format the entire hard drive and delete any existing partitions on that new drive.

Lastly, you'll need to set aside that failed original hard drive and do data recovery or take to your local Computer Pro and pay him to do for you. He will give you discs or a flash drive with the rescued data on it; simply copy the files from that media back over to the newly installed XP-hard drive combo and you'll be good to go! :up:

Post back if you have any questions.
Good Luck!