I managed to get a recovery disk, but how can I use it to sort out my computer. The problem is that when my computer starts up it gets to the windows xp logo screen it turns off and restarts. If I used a recovery disk to repair the files will this delete all my files? Is there any way of getting a program to boot from a USB which will get rid of any viruses. Also I cannot start my computer in safe mode.
Before reformating (which will wipe your data), if you have a working machine, try downloading windows xp recovery console, then put that on a disk. Boot to this disk on your broken comp and then run chkdsk /r which will repair any bad sectors on your hard drive, which might be why you can't finish loading the OS. Windows XP Recovery Console can be downloaded from the Microsoft website, and further instructions can be found there too.
If that doesn't work, or you don't have a working machine, then you will have to use the recovery disk. If your OS boots from C drive, and your data is on D drive for example, then you may be able to specify that the recovery disk reformats the C drive. But otherwise reformatting your hard drive will mean you lose your data.
(Original post by Jake9)
No it will not delete your files, when starting up hold down F8 and select your CD/DVD drive. That will boot the recovery disk, for specific instructions on using it, have a look on google.
I don't think F8 will works on XP, only on Windows 7.
But what you could try on F8 through XP is the "last good known configuration", which will revert back to a time when it did boot. This probably won't fix it, but worth a try before reformatting.