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I have hp pavalion with no boot disk. All of the hard drive programs are erased. Can ubuntu help? If the answer is yes would you give me steps for the installation.

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What is your intent? If you want to install Ubuntu go right ahead, install instructions are on the download page. You mention the computer has 'no boot disk', you probably mean no internal hard drive, right? Just install Ubuntu to the USB drive. –  Tom Brossman Jun 25 '12 at 20:10
    
Is the hard drive fully erased, or just Windows' ability to boot? Do you need to recover what is on the drive (data, documents, images), or just load an OS (eg. Ubuntu Linux) so the PC is again usable? –  david6 Jun 26 '12 at 9:15

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Sure. Ubuntu could download an XP image, and burn it to a CD. It could even create a bootable USB stick with either XP or Ubuntu on it, so you could use it to repair the XP installation.

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Directly install Ubuntu on your system. Then you can use it to access your hard disk. Using software center you can use different bootable USB or cd/dvd creator. Remember while installing make sure you have grub installed. This bootable will help you repair or install new copy of the XP OS.

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