How to Make a Reinstall Disk for Windows XP

by Michael Dance

Many desktop and laptop computer sellers that bundle Windows XP with your computer pre-install it and have stopped giving you the actual Windows XP install disk. If your computer gets fried or if you just want to do a clean reinstall, you'll need to buy another Windows XP license. Creating your own reinstall disk avoids this problem.



Back up your entire hard drive. Find a list of free hard disk backup software at (see Resources).


Locate your Windows XP license key (or product key) number. Often, this number will be taped to the side of your computer tower or the underside of your laptop. If you can't find it, see Resources for a list of free Key Finder programs.


Download \"wxp10,\" a Windows XP boot sector zip folder that comes on Windows XP install disks, from one of the download mirrors at (see Resources).


Download and install the program ImgBurn at (see Resources).

Creating the Reinstall Disk


Navigate to your computer's C drive (which appears in the My Computer folder). Right-click on any blank space inside it, click New and then click New Folder. Name the folder \"reinstall.\"


Locate the folder \"i386\" in the C drive root. Right-click on it, then select Copy.


Open the \"reinstall\" folder. Right-click anywhere inside it and select Paste. After a loading period (which may be lengthy because the i386 folder is about a half of a gigabyte in size), a replica of the i386 folder will appear.


Open Notepad (which is located in Start Menu > Programs > Accessories). Type \"Windows\" (without quotes), then hit the space bar once, then hit enter once. Then go to File > Save and save the file as \"WIN51\" (this time, INCLUDE the quotes) in your reinstall folder. If your computer came with XP Home Edition, copy the WIN51 file and paste the copy in your reinstall folder under the name WIN51IC. If your computer came with XP Professional, do the same thing except name the copy WIN51IP.


Open the folder. Navigate to cds > wxphome > files > w2ksect.bin. Drag the w2ksect.bin file to the root C drive folder (not to your reinstall folder).


Copy the text below verbatim and paste it in Notepad. Save the file (anywhere you like) with the name \"XPSETUP.ibb\" (quotes INCLUDED).<br /><br />IBB<br />[START_BACKUP_OPTIONS] BuildMode=1 Destination=0 TestMode=0 Verify=1 WriteSpeed=0 Copies=0 FileSystem=0 PreserveFullPathnames=0 RecurseSubdirectories=1 IncludeHiddenFiles=0 IncludeSystemFiles=0 IncludeArchiveFilesOnly=0 AddToWriteQueueWhenDone=0 ClearArchiveAttribute=0 VolumeLabel_ISO9660=VRMHOEM_EN VolumeLabel_Joliet= VolumeLabel_UDF= Identifier_System= Identifier_VolumeSet= Identifier_Publisher= Identifier_Preparer= Identifier_Application= Dates_FolderFileType=0 Restrictions_ISO9660_InterchangeLevel=0 Restrictions_ISO9660_AllowMoreThan8DirectoryLevels =1 Restrictions_ISO9660_AllowMoreThan255CharactersInP ath=1 Restrictions_ISO9660_AllowFullASCIICharacterSet=1 Restrictions_ISO9660_DontAddVersionNumberToFiles=1 Restrictions_Joliet_InterchangeLevel=1 Restrictions_Joliet_AddVersionNumberToFiles=0 BootableDisc_MakeImageBootable=1 BootableDisc_MediaEmulationType=0 BootableDisc_BootImageFile=C:\\w2ksect.bin BootableDisc_DeveloperIdentifier= BootableDisc_LoadSegment=07C0 BootableDisc_LoadSectorCount=4 [END_BACKUP_OPTIONS]<br />[START_BACKUP_LIST] C:\\XPSETUP [END_BACKUP_LIST]


Open ImgBurn and select Mode > Build from the menu, then File > Load Project. In the box that pops up, navigate to the XPSETUP.ibb and hit \"Open.\"


Insert a blank CD or DVD into your CD/DVD burner. Wait a moment, then make sure the blank disk appears under ImgBurn's Destination section (which, depending on your version, will most likely be in the lower left corner of the window).


Click the Write or Build icon at the bottom of the ImgBurn window. If you get a \"You've only selected one folder, does it represent the root directory?\" warning, click Yes. The Windows XP reinstall disk will then be created.

Items you will need

About the Author

Michael Dance is a freelance writer and the owner of As a film critic for he has been quoted by and in national ad campaigns. He graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007 and currently lives in Washington D.C.

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