Help with Recovering Windows XP

#1
I was following your guide to revert back to XP from vista when I ran into problems trying to rename the files to .vista. The system couldn't find the boot, Config.Msi, Documents and Settings, MSOCache, and Recycled folders. Also, when renaming * to *.vista it didn't take any time like the guide said it would. Since I didn't want to mess things I reverted the names of the folders I did rename back to normal and used the startup repair to get back into vista. I'm lost and would like some advice, thanks.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hi & welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

Can you give us a description of your hard drive layout and partitions.
 
#3
My hard disc is divided into three partitions. One's 55mb and in EISA configuration. The second is my C: drive; it is 144GB in NTFS and a primary partition. The third partition is 4.77GB and a primary partition. The only partition I have access to is my C: drive. Hope that helps, and thanks for the quick response.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
Hello & welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

Can you please describe your current situation in greater detail? You need to recover XP because _________. At the moment, your computer does _________ instead of booting into XP. This happened after you tried to ____________, and you've already tried to ____________ to get it to work, but it didn't work.

Thanks :smile:
 
#5
Sorry, I need to recover XP since I'm not satisfied with vista, and it caused some problems with my graphics card and monitor so I lost my favorite screen resolution. Right now I'm running Vista instead of XP. Sorry if I didn't make it clear but I was following your guide http://neosmart.net/blog/2006/so-you-overwrote-your-xp/
and when I got to the command line where you rename files to add .vista at the end it couldn't find the files I listed in my first post. Since this didn't match with the guide I stopped and then had to use the startup repair option so I could boot vista since an earlier step in the guide disabled the vista boot. I hope this makes things clearer and sorry for the confusion.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
Oh... I'm sorry, I somehow forgot about the first post >.< (it's 2AM :tongueout:)

I think you should be safe to follow those instructions despite not finding the files - at any rate, if it doesn't work, you can always revert using the same steps you did earlier... You won't be deleting anything, just renaming stuff.

If that doesn't work, please post back and we'll take a closer look at it :smile:

Sorry again about the confusion earlier.
 
#7
Ok, I followed the instructions in the guide but when I restarted it wouldn't boot from the hard drive. This is the error message I received: "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt <Windows root>\System32\hal.dll " When I tried to repair it using the Vista DVD it had problems and had to use a recovered version of vista. When I restarted vista it couldn't find my user info and had to use a default profile. I looked at the folders in C: and noticed two big problems right off the bat. I have two Program Files, one containing my vista program files and the other my xp program files. The other problem is that I can't find Documents and Settings. Hopefully this is helpful for you and you can figure out what's wrong.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
Sounds like some folders weren't properly renamed - if they were, Vista repair would have failed. Windows Vista doesn't have a "Documents and Settings" folder, it has a "Users" folder instead.

Those folders mentioned in your first post should be in the Windows.old folder that was created when you installed Vista to that partition..... assuming you didn't perform an upgrade install.
 
#9
That's right, I couldn't rename the folders I listed in my first post. Also, I can't find those folders in my Windows.old folder, although that has been renamed Windows.old.vista it still contains the same folders as before. All that's in there is my Documents and Settings, Program Files, and Windows. Besides that I just have the files the guide told me to put in there (excluding boot.ini since all I could find was boot.ini.saved). I hope this helps.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#10
It sounds like you're mixing some steps up.

The contents of Windows.old need to be moved to c:\ and the old contents of C:\ need to be renamed - if they exist.

Basically - old Windows XP is stored in C:\Windows.old. Windows Vista is stored in C:\
You want to rename/move Vista and bring XP back.
 
#11
Doesn't this step: xcopy Windows.old\* c:\ /E /C /I /G /H /R /K /Y do that though? I did that. Also how does that explain the original error message I got: "Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt <Windows root>\System32\hal.dll ". Right now vista is having a lot of problems and keeps crashing so would it be better for me to just clean install Vista again and try to switch back to XP from that since I still have everything from the Windows.old folder, it's just Windows.old.vista now. Please let me know what I should do, thanks.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#12
Yes, that might work.

The original error message is basically trying to boot Windows Vista as if it were Windows XP - meaning you didn't properly move the stuff from Windows.old to \
 
#13
Okay, I'll reinstall vista then. Do I need to rearrange or clean anything up before I do that, like deleting one of my Program File folders, or is should I just let the reinstall sort everything out?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#14
Shouldn't need to, but it's probably better if you did that, especially given how "involved" what you're doing is...

Goahead and delete the Program files, Users, and Windows folders form the root.
 
#15
Ok, I reinstalled Vista and everything seems to be back to normal, although I'm having problems deleting the Program Files.vista and Windows.vista folders. Before I try and switch back to XP what should I do to make sure that I don't have the same problems I had last time I tried to restore XP?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#16
OK, here's what I want you to do.

Can you verify that C:\Windows.old contains a
Program Files
Windows
Documents and Setting

If that's the case, you have nothing to worry about.

If you're having trouble renaming the existing contents of drive C:\ (Windows.old) excluded, feel free to delete them if that is any easier. You can also stick the drive in another PC and move the files from there if you prefer instead of doing it from the bootable CD environment.
 
#17
My windows.old folder has all of those in it, but the problem is that I can't rename or delete Program Files.vista or Windows.vista since it says that I don't have permission. I've already tried going into the properties window for them and set permission that way, but it didn't work. Do you know how I can fix this and how I can make sure that I don't have the same problems I had last time I tried to restore XP?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#18
You can do it from a boot CD, but not from within Vista. It's part of the new security measures, I think even with UAC disabled.
 
#19
I tried deleting them from the boot CD and it seemed to work, but when I restarted vista and looked in My Computer it showed them still there and I still couldn't do delete or rename them. I can apparently cut and and paste them however. What should I do with them?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#20
Cut and paste to the trash?

You can revert to XP even with the *.vista files still there....