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How to remove a second copy of XP from your system?

Question

I JUST RECENTLY REINSTALLED WIDOWS XP ON MY COMPUTER, BUT NOW WHEN I TURN THE COMPUTER ON IT IS AS IF I HAVE TWO OPERATING SYSTEMS OF WIDOWS XP. CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO ERASE THE OLD VERSION OF WINDOWS XP.

Answer

This question was answered on June 3, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Here's a quick way to replace two copies of Windows XP from your system with one working copy. It may look like a lot of steps, but they are very quick.

1. Start Windows and choose the installation that is currently working from the Boot Menu and continue into Windows.

2. BACKUP UP YOUR DOCUMENTS the next steps will completely erase your hard drive (so all data will be lost unless you back it up first).

3. If you cannot access the files from your previous installation of XP you must take ownership of those files first, then back them up. IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS GO TO THIS LINK: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=308421

4. Open Windows Explorer, click My Computer, and click on the Tools menu, then Folder Options, then the View tab.

5. Under “Hidden files and folders”, chose to Show them. Uncheck the box next to “Hide protected operating system files”, and click Yes to confirm, then OK to exit.

6. Browse to your C: drive, and make a copy of the boot.ini file in the same folder as a backup.

7. Next, open the original boot.ini file with Notepad.

8. Look for the [operating systems] section. This is the area shown on the Boot Menu and will probably show at least two lines, each reflecting a different installation of Windows XP. It should look similar to this:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS2="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

NOTE: If you have XP Home, it will indicate “Microsoft XP Home” above instead. This does not affect any of the subsequent steps.

9. In order to tell the installations apart, we’ll modify the portion in quotes, which is the description you see on bootup. For example, you might change them to:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional X" /fastdetect

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS2="Microsoft Windows XP Professional Y" /fastdetect

NOTE: the “X” and “Y” we’ve added to tell them apart in the boot menu. You can use anything you want in the quotes.

10. Save your changes to the boot.ini and restart your machine. Make note of which installation of XP you want to keep. In this example, I want to keep the installation “Y” since that’s the one that is working correctly.

11. When the computer reboots, click on Start, then click Run, type in “msconfig”, and click OK. Select the BOOT.INI tab, and note the [operating systems] section again. Select the “good” installation, and click the “Set as Default” button and click OK.

12. Head back to the boot.ini on your C: drive, and edit it again with Notepad. Under [operating systems], delete the line that will no longer be used, leaving only the line reflecting your “good” installation of Windows. Make note of the backslash and folder name of the “bad” installation that you are no longer using before you delete this line (you'll need this later in step 15).

13. In the example below, the bad folder name is “\WINDOWS” since I am now using the installation in the “\WINDOWS2” folder. Again, look for the folder location immediately after the partition number such as in this example:

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional X" /fastdetect

14. Save the changes to your boot.ini file, and restart your computer. You should not be prompted with a boot menu and the correct version of Windows XP should load automatically.

15. If you have not yet backed up your documents, do so now! If you make a mistake on the next step, you could lose some of your documents. If you need backup software click here to get WinBackup. If you need a place on the web to back it up, click here to get a free XDrive account .

16. Recall the folder of the “bad” or “old” installation of XP from step 11. This installation is no longer used, and the duplicate Windows files are simply taking up space on your hard drive. Since you are now using a different installation, you are free to delete these files.

17. In step 11, I removed the line that pointed to the “\WINDOWS” installation location. Note that this may vary for you. At this point, I can delete the “Windows” folder since I am now using the “Windows2” folder for Windows XP. This will save a fair amount of hard drive space.

18. Once you've done this you're done.

GOOD LUCK!

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Author

Posted by Kisha of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on June 3, 2005

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