Hi All,

This is just a short story on something I experienced today that might help out someone else in the future.

Being the IT Specialist for a small security company, I run into some unusual problems with Windows and SQL Express. And in most cases I have found it easier to do a repair install over the top of the already existing OS instead of trying to troubleshoot the actual issue.

I have found myself taking 6 hours trying to solve a problem only to find I have to re-install some windows component to solve the issue. When I could have done a repair install in under a hour on a fast machine.

Anyways, I was doing a repair install on a machine today and got to the point of activating windows. Was unable to do it over the internet so I tried by phone, but for some reason the Installation ID was not displayed on the screen. Microsoft Tech Support was of no help to me. Transferred around 3 departments in an endless loop about 6 times. I will never call them again.

Normally if my customer had a backup of the data I would just do a fresh install at this point, but they didn't, so after trawling forums online and coming up with nothing I decided to take a look at the documentation on this PC. Come to find out, it was installed using a Windows XP SP3 and I was using a Windows XP SP2 disk to do the install. Anyways, I found a SP3 disk and did the repair install yet again. And after all that it work.

Morals of my story:
1. Always check which version of Windows you are running before you do a repair install to avoid issues.
2. Always back up your data so if all else fails you can do a wipe on the hard drive and start over fresh.