|Tell us the make and model of your netbook.|
The specific model is usually on a label on the outside of the case, unless it's a Dell, which may have only a service tag number instead.
"my netbook crashed a while back and corrupted the windows partition on the hdd."
What do you mean by crashed ? Windows may not be working properly, but it's not likely there's more than a little corrupted data, unless the hard drive is failing.
If the hard drive IS failing, you will need to replace the hard drive.
Before you do anything else......
Test your hard drive with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics.
Seagate's SeaTools will test (almost) any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.
The Dos bootable versions of SeaTools can test the hard drive when Windows will not load properly, or even when the drive has no data on it.
If the drive itself passes the test, any data problems on the drive can be fixed one way or another.
If the drive itself passes the test.................................
"there doesnt seem to be a recovery partition on the netbook."
If your netbook has no built in optical drive (most don't, some do), then if it still had it's original brand name software installation on it, it probably has a recovery partition, but it may be hidden depending on what program or operating system you're using.
If it DOES have a recovery partition, there is probably information about how to use it in the specific User's or Owner's manual for your model. Download that from the maker's web site.
A big problem with netbooks that have no built in optical drive is you usually if not always CANNOT install XP from an XP CD in a USB optical drive because the files on the CD CANNOT recognize the USB floppy drive model. If you can set your bios to boot from a USB drive, the CD boots but all you see is a blue screen.
If that doesn't work, then using a USB floppy drive and a 6 floppy set you make from files provided via downloads from the Microsoft web site intended for computers that can't boot from an optical drive to load the files that are normally initially loaded from the XP CD so you can run Setup from the CD won't work either. When you choose to continue on to Setup, all you see is a blue screen.
Hence the reason most if not all netbooks that have no optical drive that have XP on them have a Recovery partition on the original brand name software installation.
If there is no Recovery partition, or if there is but the hard drive is failing, you need to
- check to see whether a Recovery disk set is available for your specific model from the brand name's web site. If one IS available, it will be a multi-disk archive or a DVD that has your entire original software installation rather than just Windows. It's usually relatively inexpensive, including shipping.
E.g. for HP or Compaq computers, if (a) Recovery disk(s) is(are) available, there is a link to it(them) listed in the software downloads for your specific model.
If you can't get a Recovery disk or disk set, you need a suitable OEM XP CD, Home or Pro or Pro 64 bit, whatever version is on the official Microsoft label, and ....
- if you can set your bios to boot from a USB drive, you can do a procedure to prepare a flash drive and install XP from that. Search the web for: install XP from a flash drive
or similar. Flash drives are not bootable by default. Part of the preparation involves making it bootable.
- if you CANNOT set your bios to boot from a USB drive, or in any case, you can remove the hard drive and connect it to another computer and follow a procedure so you can run the network install version of XP's Setup on your own computer when you install it on your computer again.
A regular Microsoft OEM CD has the Microsoft holograms and "For distribution with a new PC only." printed on it. That can be used with any brand name or other computer that has an OEM licensed version of XP on it. .
A brand name OEM Windows CD that came with a brand name computer - an XP Re-installation CD or similar - usually cannot be used to install Windows from scratch on any computer except the same model it came with, or one of a small group of models made at the same time - it will refuse to install on other computers.