How do I do an "Archive and Install" of XP?

OK, let me say right off the bat that I use Windows only under duress, and support it only upon pain of death.

Unfortunately, I’ve been threatened with the latter unless I can get one of our office machines up and running. It has some sort of nasty malware on it (surprise, surprise), and now does an immediate logout upon login. I’ve tried some suggestions I’ve found on the web (booting from the XP disk, running repair console, etc.) but I was unable to get it to boot. I tried to do a “Repair Windows” installation, and after activating it over the phone (thank you M$ for your 54-digit activation codes), found it does the same thing. So, what I would like to do is what we in Mac Nirvana call an “archive and install.” This preserves all of the user settings, backs up the old System, and installs a fresh System. Is there a way to do this with XP, or do I have to wipe the disc?

I suggest you

[li]Use a Linux CD boot disk to start the machine, and copy the entire contents over to an external hard drive (under Linux).[/li][li]Use the Window XP disk, wipe the hard drive of everything and install from scratch.[/li][li]Use a Mac or Linux machine to locate the user preference directories and files on the external drive and burn them to a CD.[/li][li]Use that CD in the clean XP machine.[/li][/ol]

Yes, it’s long, tiresome and a Royal PITA. But it will guarantee you a clean machine.

And if you are not careful…you just hauled the virus over to the new install.

Virus scan the recovered docs folders before returning them to the new load.