Windows XP Warnings

Warning! #1

Should you do a repair install and is it the best choice?

A Repair Install is not foolproof and should not be considered the cure-all fix for non-boot situations.
Manually delete the Undo_guimode.txt file from the Windows\System32 folder before you perform any of the actions that are listed in the "Symptoms" section of this article. To do this in Windows XP, type the following command at a command prompt:
del /a /f %windir%\system32\undo_guimode.txt
  1. From the Start menu, click Run
  2. In the Run dialog box, in the Open text box, type: cmd. Click OK.
  3. Delete the undo_guimode.txt file. In the C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe dialog box, type: del /a /f c:\windows\system32\undo_guimode.txt. Press the ENTER key.

Also as a precaution the windows\system32\WPA.DBL  and WPA.BAK should be copied to a floppy before doing a repair install. For more information see Alex Nichol's  article on XP activation.
More articles to help prevent data loss.
Additional tips to perform before initiating the Repair Install.You should complete the basic requirements of backing up all files and folders that cannot be restored from other media. This includes passwords, applications purchased and downloaded from the internet without CD support, financial records and folders, digital images that cannot be replaced...............
Backup copies of your registry files (in the %systemroot%\Repair folder) are also replaced after the in-place upgrade is complete.  Copy these registry backups to another location before you perform an in-place upgrade/Repair Install.  You may need to use them after the in-place upgrade is complete.
It would also be a good idea to run the Files And Settings Transfer wizard F.A.S.T located on the XP CD.

If you made unorthodox registry changes with third party software, there is the potential of data loss from a Repair Install. Another consideration of concern would be a power failure during the repair install could render your system un bootable and result in loss of data.
The likelihood of you losing the files and folders is probably of minimal risk, but you have to expect the worst and make sure you are prepared for recovery.
If you are sure you have explored all other troubleshooting avenues, then proceed with the repair install.

If you get a warning message: "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD."
You get this message when you use a pre-SP 1, SP2 XP CD on an XP installation that has been updated to SP1, SP2.
You have the options listed below.
  1. Remove the SP 1, SP2 update if the option is available from Add/Remove.
  2. Create a slipstreamed XP CD merging the SP1 or SP2 update.
    2a Autostreamer for creating a slipstreamed CD the easy way.
  3. Purchase an XP CD with SP2 included.

Warning!! #2

If the Repair Option is not Available

What should I do? Most important do not ignore the information below!
If the option to Repair Install is NOT available and you continue with the install; you will delete your Windows folder and the Documents and Settings folders.  All applications installed that place keys in the registry will need to be re-installed and will require the original install media.
You should exit setup if the repair option is not available and consider other options. I have found if the Repair option is not available, you have a few paths I have listed below to try before XP  requires a Clean install.

Another option to consider (since the cost of 100 + gig hard drives has dropped to well under $75) would be to disconnect the current hard drive and install a clean XP from retail disks or restore media to a new hard drive. You can then connect the original hard drive after configuring the jumpers to a slave drive. You can retrieve important files. One thing to remember, if a hard drive has not been formatted or written over by reinstalling, the data is accessible. The less you access a hard drive after a non-boot episode; the better your chances of retrieving your data.
Very important!!
If you still have the ability to access the Windows XP installation, backup all important files not restorable from other sources before attempting any recovery console or other trouble shooting attempts.

Possible Fix by reconfiguring boot.ini using Recovery Console.
 1.Boot with XP CD or 6 floppy boot disk set.
 2. Press R to load the Recovery Console. 
 3. Type bootcfg
 4. This should fix any boot.ini errors causing setup not to see the  XP OS
 5. Try the repair install.

One more suggestion from MVP Alex Nichol
"Reboot, this time taking the immediate R option and if the CD letter is say K: give these commands

copy K:\i386\ntldr C:\
copy K:\i386\ C:\

(two other files needed - just in case)
1. Type: attrib -h -r -s C:\boot.ini del C:\boot.ini
2. Type: BootCfg /Rebuild

which will get rid of any damaged boot.ini, search the disk for systems and make a new one. This might even result in a damaged windows reappearing; but gives another chance of getting at the repair"

Try the link below if the repair option is not available.

Warning!! #3

Updates must be applied before connecting to the internet after a repair install.

Reapply updates or service packs applied since initial Windows XP installation. Please note that a Repair Install using an Original pre service pack 1 or 2 XP CD used as the install media will remove SP1/SP2 respectively and service packs plus updates issued after the service packs will need to be reapplied.