|You must use an XP CD, or the equivalent, to recover from your problem. |
If your model didn't come with any Recovery CDs, or if it did but you're not the original owner and you weren't given them, then
- there is often a program already on the hard drive in the original software installation that you were supposed to use to make yourself Recovery disks, while Windows is working fine. If you can't get into Windows now, then it's too late for you to use that option.
- or - in the case of some el-cheapo brand name systems, or in any case, if your computer model is not more than about 5 years old, you can often order Recovery CDs from the brand name's web site for a lot less money than just an XP CD costs.
The Recovery disk, or first Recovery disk in a set, on computers with XP on them usually has nearly identical data on it compared to a Microsoft OEM XP CD, and can be used the same way as a regular XP CD, but probably only on your computer model or a small group of models made at about the same time by the same maker.
If you know someone who has a Microsoft OEM XP CD that is either Home or Pro, whichever is on your computer, you can use that along with the OEM Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label on your computer case.
That type of CD has "For distribution with a new PC only." printed on it
The CD must have at least SP1 updates included on it in order to support recognizing hard drives larger than 137gb manufacturer's size = 128gb in Windows.
CDs with SP2 or SP3 updates in included have SP2 or SP3 printed on them.
If you can't borrow a suitable OEM XP CD from someone, then you're going to need either the Recovery disk(s) for your specific model, or you're going to have to buy yourself a new XP CD. New OEM XP CDs are the cheapest, and can be found on the web, or bought from local places that build custom computer sysrtems and have lots of parts and software, the ones with SP3 updates included costing the most. If the CD you buy is not OEM (does not have "For distribution with a new PC only." printed on it), then you use the Product Key that came with the CD.
Whatever XP CD you get, it must be the same version - Home or Pro - as on your computer in order for you to have the second Repair choice - the Repair installation procedure - if you want to be able to get Windows working properly again without you losing your personal data that is already on the Windows partition.
If you don't care about the personal data you have on the hard drive, you could run a regular Setup from an XP CD from scratch.
If you have to buy a Windows disk, if you don't care about the personal data you have on the hard drive, an OEM Windows 7 DVD costs similar to what an OEM XP CD with SP3 updates costs, but your system must meet at least the minimum hardware requirements - e.g. at the very least you may need more ram.