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How To: Recover Windows XP from Windows.old

How To: Recover Windows XP from Windows.old

Postby kd1966 » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:34 pm

<img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/images/0113orb.JPG" align="left"> <img src="http://parcom.pro-networks.org/images/0113orb.JPG" align="right">

[align=center]PROnetworks PRO Guide:
How to Recover Windows XP from Windows.old
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<center><img src="http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/4936/windowsold7kd.jpg"></center>


[align=center]In the instance where Windows Vista has been installed on top of the Windows XP installation partition (not an upgrade installation but to the same partition as Windows XP), resulting in the Windows XP system files and folders being wrapped into a Windows.old folder on the Windows Vista installation, users may be able to recover the Windows XP installation using the procedure below.[/align]

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1. A very important first step is to make sure that one has the following files on the root of the system drive. It has been found that even if they are there, it is sometimes necessary to copy and paste them again (this can be done from within Windows Vista before continuing with this process):

boot.ini
NTDETECT.COM
ntldr


Copying the following XP original files over won't hurt either:

AUTOEXEC.BAT
CONFIG.SYS
IO.SYS
MSDOS.SYS


If these are you got from a friend from a different system, that is OK as one can edit the boot.ini file from within Windows Vista or from the command prompt later in the process using the boot.ini ATTRIB command.

2. Copy all the documents and pictures and any other files you want to keep and paste them into a new folder named say "Docs Transferred", as the default Windows Vista "Documents and Settings" folder will be removed in the process of restoring your Windows XP installation.

3. Install VistaBootPRO so that one has the bootsect.exe file available from the Program Files>PROnetworks>VistaBoot folder (or insert the Vista DVD and browse to the folder named "boot"). Copy bootsect.exe and and paste it to Windows\System32 on the Vista installation or to the root of the Vista installation drive.

4. Open the command prompt in Vista (Start>All Programs>Accessories) and type the command CD\ and Enter, to get to the root of the Vista drive and then type bootsect /nt52 all and Enter to reinstate the Windows XP installation as the one to boot to.

From there, it's a matter of following these instructions:

5. Boot to the Vista DVD and select "System recovery options" at the "Install now" setup screen, and then select the drive on which Vista has "overwritten" your XP installation and note the drive letter. Finally select the Command Prompt at the bottom of the menu you are presented with.

6. Enter the following commands exactly as indicated using the drive letter noted under Point 5. above if it is not C:\ drive:

C: (moves the cursor to the system drive)
CD\ (moves the cursor to the "root" of the system drive)
ren Windows Windows.vst (renames Vista Windows directory/folder)
ren Users Users.vst (renames the Vista Users folder)
ren "Program Files" "Program Files.vst" (renames the Vista Program Files folder)
rmdir "Documents and Settings" (removes the Documents and Settings folder)
xcopy Windows.old\* C:\ /E /C /I /G /H /R /K /Y (copies the files and folders from Windows.old back to their original locations)

boot.ini ATTRIB (to make sure that the partition and drive structure is correct in the boot.ini file. Go to File>Save on the notepad window that opened if it was necessary to make any changes).

7. Type exit, press Enter and reboot into Windows XP.


NOTES:

1. For an insight into the commands available from the command prompt, open the command prompt, type help and press Enter.

2. For an understanding of the application switches used, type xcopy /? at the command prompt and press Enter. Do not vary the application switches used as we have tested them all to work together as indicated in Point 6. above.


CAUTION:

This procedure has been tested and found to be effective in MOST BUT NOT ALL instances. Some system configurations may make this procedure unworkable. Be aware that if this process fails, it is likely that personal data and other valuable information will be lost. Making a backup of those items to external media is recommended PRIOR to initiating this procedure.

DISCLAIMER:

Data corruption and/or loss is always a possibility (as is the case when using any Beta software). PROnetworks cannot be held responsible for any damage to your system that may occur as a result of your choosing to use the procedures outlined in this PROguide.
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Postby imnuts » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:54 pm

Here is a batch file that should take care of most of the file operations that are needed. Just copy and paste it to a batch file and save it as a *.bat file to the root of the drive in Vista as something easy to remember and type.

Code: Select all
@echo off
REM PROnetworks Windows XP Recovery Script
REM Author: PROnetworks Betas Team
REM Version: 1.0 Beta
REM Use at your own risk!

REM Move to the the C: drive
echo Moving to C:
C:

REM Move to the root of the drive
echo Moving to C:\
cd \

REM Move the conflicting files and folders
echo Renaming Vista files and folders
ren Windows Windows.vista
ren Users Users.vista
ren "Program Files" "Program Files.vista"

REM Remove the "Documents and Settings" Junction that is set
REM This would cause an error in the later steps if not done
echo Removing the "Documents and Settings" shortcut
rmdir "Documents and Settings"

REM Copy the files over from Windows.old to restore XP
REM Will store a log file at C:\copy.log
echo Restoring XP files and folders
xcopy Windows.old\* C:\ /E /C /I /G /H /R /K /Y > C:\copy.log

echo Windows XP has been restored and a log of the
echo file copy procedure has been saved to C:\copy.log


To run it, from the command prompt in the recovery console, just type "C:\filename.bat" where you replace "filename" with the actual name of the file. Also, this script as presented will only work for recovery if the problem is on the C:\ drive.
Last edited by imnuts on Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby JabbaPapa » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:19 pm

Woh looks dangerous --- personally, except for some really, really weird disaster recovery purposes, I'd just clean install, then recover the needed data from the Windows.old manually ...
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Postby Grav!ty » Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:56 pm

JabbaPapa wrote:Woh looks dangerous --- personally, except for some really, really weird disaster recovery purposes, I'd just clean install ...


This procedure has been refined and tested many times by the Betas Team. It uses standard MS commands to undo the effects of installing Windows Vista to the same partition as Windows XP which is usually done in error. It is generally successful and safe to follow.

Some non-standard system configurations were found to present more of a challenge, hence our cautionary.

There are instances when a format and clean install are just not practical due to for example, large amounts of data being stored on the installation drive or the inability to create an additonal partition for a clean install.

So yeah it is dangerous, but the need for the process is definetly there as we have seen time and time again by requests for assistance to recover ones XP installation where the Windows.old file exists.
Last edited by Grav!ty on Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JabbaPapa » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:08 pm

Oh sure, there's definitely a need out there for XP recovery, no questions there :lol: :P

I just wish MS could have provided easier methods to perhaps dual-boot Vista/XP using the Windows.old folder :roleeyes
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Postby imnuts » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:39 pm

JabbaPapa wrote:Oh sure, there's definitely a need out there for XP recovery, no questions there :lol: :P

I just wish MS could have provided easier methods to perhaps dual-boot Vista/XP using the Windows.old folder :roleeyes


I tried that by editing the path to the location of windows in boot.ini and it doesn't work unfortunately :( That was also part of testing, at least I tried it out. Nothing I did would allow for Vista and XP to reside on the same partition. It would probably be possible for someone that has changed where Documents and Settings was changed to a different folder and the same with program files in one of the two installations, but that would be a pretty advanced thing to do.
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