Windows installation disk needed

Here’s the problem.

A couple of years ago I purchased a computer with Windows XP pre-installed. There was no disk supplied to reinstall it, but there was a recovery disk that would reset the computer to factory settings. I’ve used it a time or two. I recently had a bad crash, and corrupted my hard drive. The recovery disk does not work. I need an installation disk to reinstall my system. Can I get one from somewhere?
As I understand it, if I go to a shop and buy a Win XP installation disk, I’m really paying for the licence. The disk itself is a trivial expense. I have already paid for a licence for XP. But I don’t have the disk to install it. I don’t want to have to buy a new copy and pay for a licence which I already own. I have kept the receipts, BTW.

First question : am I right about the above paragraph? Is it legal to get a copy of software when you already own a valid licence?

Second question: where can I obtain a copy? Assuming that it is legal, of course. Only answer this question if it is legal, and keep the mods happy.

I live in the UK, near London.

Either go back to the company where you first bought the computer, or ask Microsoft about getting a new copy of the OS.

      • You are correct in assuming that you can reinstall from any copy, as long as you are still using the same serial number. The problem might arise that the serial number you have is a brand-specific one and there was something on the recovery disk that tied into that. At this point there’s not much harm in trying however, I would say more but your private messaging is not enabled. PM me.

If it is HP or Compaq. you can order them from their website. Enter your model number, then search on keyword, “recovery Kit”

I would imagine most other major manufacturers (Dell, Gateway, eMachines, etc.) will do the the same thing.

“The recovery disk did not work” needs elaboration. If booting from CD is the problem, try a XP boot floppy.

No PMs on this board, but I’ve sent you an email.

There’s a 2GB hidden partition on my hard drive containing setup files. There’s a utility which can be run from a floppy disk that uses these files to restore the system. But it’s not working. It pops up a message telling me to insert the master CD. I think the files on the hidden partition must be corrupted.

I had a similar problem. I got an XP disc that was severly scractched somehow and it would not install. I called up MS (finding the phone number, by the way, was nearly impossible,) and they asked for both the CD key and the serial number along the inside edge of the disc. Odds are, they’ll do the same and send you a good install CD that might even be specific to your brand of PC.

As far as I understand it (and IANALawyer), you can (legally) reinstall from any suitable installation source covered by your license - if your license (the tangible part of which is the authentication sticker placed in an awkward, hard-to-read position on the case of your computer) is for XP Home, then you can borrow an XP Home installation CD from a buddy and reinstall, as long as you activate it with your own license key.

Now Microsoft may have taken steps to make this impossible - for example, by ensuring that a given batch of license keys only work with a given batch of install CDs, but I’ve yet to see this.

Sounds like the ‘rescue disk’ is actually just pointing to this partition, which containts the setup files.

Go with bouv’s suggestion - if it’s a legit copy, then part of the licence is access to Microsoft’s technical support.

Ahhh… that may not actually be true; with OEM products, the support responsibility may well have been assumed by the system vendor.

Gorillaman Yes, I think the floppy does point to the hidden partition, that’s what I meant.

Mangetout Yes, it came pre-installed, its OEM so I have no support, or key number.

Unless it’s an illegitimate copy (which it won’t be if you bought it from a fairly reputable system vendor), then there will be a product key on a greenish label on the case somewhere; don’t try to peel it off as this will destroy it and render it (even more) unreadable.

Ah, yes, I think I’ve found it.