Windows XP operating system has been around for nearly a decade and along with Windows 2000 is the most popular OS in use today.
Although hard drives are now very reliable, they are still the only computer component with moving parts (apart from cooling fans) and eventually wear out and crash.
Most computers were delivered with Windows XP pre-installed. Very few computers were supplied with an original Windows XP CD-ROM with key code attached but the owner has every right to a CD as they have paid for the operating system when buying the PC. It was a saving of a few dollars and cents for the supplier not to provide the CD.
Having XP pre-installed and backed up on a partition on the hard drive is not much use when the drive stops working.
Being offered Windows Vista, now that XP is no longer for sale, is not much consolation when it is found that the old computer is not powerful enough to run Vista and your scanner, modem, printer are not compatible with Vista and would also need to be replaced. A big cost to replace everything!
So the scenario is that you were working on your PC perfectly happily one day, with it doing everything that you want it to do, when it dies. On investigation, the hard drive has stopped working.
Replacing the drive is very simple – four screws and swap over the data ribbon and power cable. A new ATA hard drive is quite cheap now, even for one several times the capacity of your existing drive. It would be easier to stick with an ATA drive rather than the newer SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives as the data and power connections will be the same.
But now you need to re-install XP. A few stockists still have some copies but they will run out soon. Anyway, you have already paid for XP and it is a bit unfair to have to buy it again! Enter MicroXP!
Overview of the Work to be Done
Use another computer to download MicroXP un-pack it and burn it to a bootable CD.
Change the boot sequence on your PC’s BIOS to boot from a CD drive first.
Load MicroXP and then any drivers that your motherboard and peripherals need.
Re-load software you were using on your old drive (anti-virus, Office, camera, Skype, etc)
Download MicroXP from any site that shows up with a Google search for ‘Direct Download : – Microsoft Windows MicroXP v0.82 – eXPerience’ to download the files X0P.M1cr082_downarchive.part1.rar and X0P.M1cr082_downarchive.part2.rar which are 51Mb and 37Mb files respectively so it will take a while to download on a fast connection. Some sites may offer the 102Mb .ISO file which the .RAR archived files above produce.
If you don’t have software to un-pack a RAR format archive then you can download a freeware program called 7Zip (Google for a download) which will do the job.
Once you have the .ISO file then you can burn an ISO Image to a CD which will be a bootable CD. If you don’t have burning software then you can get Free Easy CD DVD Burner v3.8 from Koyotesoft here http://www.koyotesoft.com/indexEn.html
Change the Boot Sequence on your PC
Normally your computer will boot from your hard drive first, then maybe a floppy and then a CD. You will need to change it to look at the CD drive first. There are many different makes of BIOS so my comments here are general.
Switch on your PC and start tapping the Del key. This opens the BIOS screen of most PC’s but look at the screen carefully as it may require the F2 key to be pressed. In any case, it will tell you which key to press to get into BIOS on one of the first screens to flash up – you have to read quickly!
Once you are in BIOS look for an option called Boot Sequence or Boot Order or similar phrase. It may not be on the first page and you will have to hunt for it. As the mouse driver is not loaded yet you will have to use the arrow keys, Page Up and Page Down keys as indicated on the screen to move around and make changes.
When you find the place, change the boot sequence to CD first, Hard Drive second and any other options for the rest, like floppy. F10 key is usually the one to Save Changes and Exit.
Pop your new MicroXP CD into your tray and quick format your hard drive and load XP as usual following the on screen instructions.
When you start MicroXP set up your broadband or dial-up connections.
You will be able to load Firefox or Google Chrome internet browsers, your anti virus software like the free AVG and email client like the free Thunderbird and all your other programs. You may need to find some drivers for some of your kit but the drivers that come with MicroXP are comprehensive. Load the backups of your old data – you do make regular copies of your My Documents folder, don’t you?
MicroXP is much smaller and quicker than XP Home but comes without Internet Explorer and Outlook Express and several other small programs. There are free equivalents like Firefox, Thunderbird, 7Zip, FreeEasyCD and others to do the job as well if not better.
Once you are happy with the installation of MicroXP you can go back into your BIOS and change the boot sequence back to hard drive first.
I have tried MicroXP on an old PC with a 400MHz Pentium III processor and pulled out the RAM chips till there were just 32Mb left and it still ran Office 2003 programs easily.
Some programs may not work with MicroXP. If that is the case then you are stuck with finding a CD of XP or buying another PC with XP working on it. But working for how long…….?