Last week, I dialed-up my sterling dial-up connection, to discover that for some reason, the sasser worm, which I had long ago been infected with and i THOUGHT that I had properly cleaned up, firewall and all, was back. My system was being shut down, with the authority of the filthy little sasser.dll file or whatever it was named. Well, being the level-headed individual I am when it comes to sudden and unexpected computer problems (heavy sarcasm), I marched right into my Windows XP system folder (as the clock was ticking, mind you) and just simply deleted the .dll culprit. And I emptied the Recycle Bin, just as the clock ran out. :o Stupid? Very. And I knew it at the time. So now, when I go to start my computer, I get all the way up to the point where XP is about to boot up, and then nothing happens. I have a pitch black screen, and I have a cursor, but that's it. I can do nothing. Can't reboot in Safe Mode, can't run System Restore, can't even Ctrl+Alt+Delete, nothing.

To make matters worse, I have no clue where my installation CD is at. I have just about EVERYTHING else I could possibly need, including the serial number, but not the damn CD. I'm running XP Professional, but I figured I'd be able to install Home Edition over it, so that I wouldn't lose my files. But when I go into setup, and I get to the screen that asks me which partition I want to install XP on, I select the partition that already contains XP Professional. Well, it tells me that it's a bad idea to install an ADDITIONAL operating system on the same partition (no kidding). But I'm not given the option of overwriting XP Professional with Home Edition. This, I just can't understand. It almost seems as though the Home Edition setup isn't properly identifying XP Professional, and only sees it as "an additional operating system," as opposed to a Windows operating system, that it should be able to overwrite.

I've tried a lot of things, and I'm getting nowhere, so I'm desperate at this point. I really don't care what operating system I end up with, I just need to salvage most of my files. There's some really important stuff on my hard drive, so saving everything is my top priority. Anyone have any ideas or advice? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Buy a second hard drive. Fit it as master, and alter the configuration of your original hard drive to 'Slave'. Install Windows XP Home to the new drive, then copy across your data files before dealing with removing the borked Windows install from the original drive and formatting it for further use. You would onl need to purchase an inexpensive drive for the purpose, and you would end up with valuable additional storage capacity as a result.

Alternatively, fit the drive as slave in a different system, and lift off the wanted data to make backup copies.

Try booting from a diskette. If you're hard drive is formatted in NTFS then download NTFS Reader DOS Boot Disk and back-up all your files. After that, you can reformat the hard drive and do a fresh install of your Windows XP Home. This might be cheaper than getting a new hard drive... :)

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