In a recent article Reformatting a Notebook Computer’s Hard DriveI answered reader Ken’s question about reformatting his 4-year-old HP laptop computer. Unfortunately, Ken’s computer had not come with a Windows CD. So, he didn’t know how to get started.
Briefly summarizing, I wrote that, if Ken wants to reinstall the Windows XP (I assumed it was XP, although it could have been Vista) that came on his computer originally, he needs to contact HP to get a recovery CD/DVD. If he wants to install a different version of Windows or a version of Linux, the CD/DVD of the new operating system will include the necessary tools.
First, subscriber Ken Kennedy (a different Ken) offers this suggestion:
No need to have the original HP disk. You can use any legitimate Windows installation CD to install Windows, as long as you have a valid code for the particular computer (on a sticker attached to the computer — NOT the code that comes with the CD). The CD could be an OEM version, a brand new complete disk, or even an installation disk from another manufacturer.
IOW, if Ken borrows a CD from anyone, he can install Windows the usual way (after backing up, etc., as he will lose everything).
During the install, skip the validation page. Shortly after completing the install, Windows will remind him to validate. Pop in the code on the sticker and within seconds you are as good as new.
Of course, by not using the manufacturer’s CD, he will probably have to install a few drivers.
For the life of me, I cannot find the newsletter or website that put me on to this, but I have done this 3 or 4 times on hopelessly grunged computers, and I have had ZERO problems (using an OEM CD).
Thanks, Ken. That additional information may help the other Ken, as well as other readers.
Subscriber Harold had this to say about Ken’s need to reformat his laptop’s hard drive:
"Reformatting the Hard Drive in Your Laptop Computer" was straight and to the point.
Since I am a Linux convert going on 4 years, it might be a great time to switch over to Linux. I still run Windows XP so that I can use Quickbooks but do most everything else in Linux.
I really feel safer online when I am accessing the internet from Linux.
Thanks, Harold. I hear that kind of comment from many of my friends who have switched to Linux.
Some of them hardly touch Windows any more, if at all. One is actually allowed to Linux at work, despite most of the other employees computers running Windows — now, that’s amazing.
Linux has many programs that provide equivalent functions to those of Windows programs. Of course, changing from using a Windows program to a Linux program involves many of the same problems that occur when you change from one Windows program to another Windows program — file (in)compatibility, data transfer between programs, learning different menus.
In other words, Linux has grown from being a toy of geeks to a tool that’s available to the public. There are versions that you can try just by booting a CD, without even having to install Linux to your hard drive. If you install, you don’t have to wipe out Windows — Linux can co-exist and dual boot with Windows, too.