Use the Repair Installation option on the XP disc to salvage data.
The Windows XP operating system installation disc has a special feature called a Repair Installation. This type of repair replaces the system files on the computer without destroying any of the user’s settings or files. This allows you to repair the computer without having to worry about losing your data.
First, you have to boot the computer wiht the winodws XP cd in the cd tray. You will see a black screen and it will ask you to press any key to boot from the cd so press the spacebar and your computer will boot from the CD.
Second, After a moment you will be taken to the Windows XP Setup screen. Though the second option says to repair do not press R. Instead press enter to select the setup for Windows XP.
Third, you have to accept the license agreement from windows. Once you’ve done that it will search for you existing installation of windows.
Forth, Once it has finished detecting the installation you need to select the XP installation you want to repair. You can repair the installation by pressing R. If you don’t see the repair option you will need to do a clean installation. Your version of windowsmay have been damaged in a way that it cannot carry out a repair.
Fifth, Setup will then copy the files it needs to hard drive and reboot the computer. A message will come up asking you if you want to boot from the cd. Don’t press any keys and just let the timer run out. The set up will comtinue and look like is doing a clean install but all of your applications and settings will be intact when it finished.
An important note is to bot activate your windows over the internet right away. Always enable the XP firewall to protect yourself.