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Recovering settings from an inactive WinXP installation

  1. Apr 7, 2004 #1
    Well, after spending 4 hours on my friend's computer, I managed to turn it into a lump of crap into a working machine. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to recover the settings into the active installation of XP. However, the previous installation's files still exist on the computer and, if possible, I'd like to get those over into the new installation so I don't have to reinstall a million things and reconfigure a second million.

    Some more information:

    The computer has two hard drives. Because of what I did to keep me from accidently killing all the important files, namely copy everything to one drive and use Norton Ghost to clone that drive, the two drives are identical in content except for the installation of windows. One has the old installation and one has the new, and it would be simple to backup the old installation files to both drives. So I'm not particularly afraid of experimenting with one of them. As long as only one drive needs to be wiped or something at a time, anything goes.

    There may or may not be old system restore points in the old installation. I'm not sure where they're located, but they're not in the same place as the new installation stores them, so I think system restore was disabled before the failure. Why it was disabled? I have no idea...

    There's a bunch of programs on the drives, so it'd be nice to have the old registry back.

    I tried to port the old configuration over by using XP's Files and Settings Transfer Wizard and treating the old installation's drive as a separate computer, but either XP doesn't like that or my infamiliarity with the tool screwed that up.

    The problem with the old installation is, at least according to XP's bootup, is a missing or corrupt %\system32\hal.dll (what a name...). I already tried replacing it, but it doesn't even like the new one. Afterwards I compared the new and old system folders and found that the new installation had some 4500 more files than the old installation. I'm not sure what to make of this.

    Anyway, there's probably more information that I'm forgetting to put in there, so just ask if you need it.

    Any ideas?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2004 #2


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    Staff Emeritus

    Upgrading isn't good for windows. Always do a fresh install. You'll just waste time fighting with the machiine to work properly. And even then it won't work properly. Also, windows isn't good at storing configuration files for backup. It wasn't designed with administrative ease in mind.
  4. Apr 7, 2004 #3
    Not worth the effort, huh. All right. It sounds like something Windows would be.

    I actually wasn't upgrading. My friend managed to cause a pretty catastrophic failure. He was deleting system files. The poor thing computer thought the hard drives disappeared for a while.

    Another question, just for future reference.

    Can a new installation adopt old settings from old system restore backup points?

    I appreciate the response.

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