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How to Install Windows XP without the Original CD

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Since back in December, off and on my computer has acted up, but I always manage to eventually fix it.  This past week it pushed me to the brink of having to throw in the towel as my bag of tricks was just about empty.  Again, at the last minute I appear to have fixed it.


However, I would like to explore my options for the next time my computer gets seriously out of line.


I have a Dell Optiplex 780 Desktop.  It has Windows XP Professional SP3 in it.


I do not have the original Windows XP CD for THIS computer and from what I can see, there is no Recovery Partition available.  Now ... I do have a Windows XP Home Edition CD from a previous computer.  I have read here and there on the Net that supposedly one can legally reinstall Windows XP without the original CD ... by using another Windows XP CD as long as one does have the official Windows XP Product Key for the CURRENT computer.  I do have the official Windows XP Product Key for this computer. 


So is this option true and legal?  If so, would it still work considering that the Windows XP version installed right now is Professional and the CD that I have is for Home Edition?


If that option is not true, not legal or just plain won't work, would the option below work?



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Hi , Unfortunately your Win XP Home version will not be any use for installling Win XP Pro


The wiki link you provided may work for you as long as your current Win installation has the correct files and they are complete and undamaged.


Here are some other suggestions for you.

You could borrow a genuine Win XP Pro installation disc from a chum ( for an hour or so) and use that for a fresh installation using your own Win XP product serial key.


The Win XP service pack 3 is avaialble for download direct from Microsoft here;

http://www.catalog.u...xp service pack


(Please note these files are for the Service Packs not the actual files for installing the operating system)


If your existing Win XP operating system is in good shape, working well and free from malicious or undesirable code then I would be inclined to make a disc image of it using something like Macrium Reflect Free, keeping it safe with several copies on external hard drives and using the Macrium wizard to create a rescue disc that will enable a repair to be made and or grant you access to the external hard drive where your disc images are kept.

This will enable you to completely replace your operating system at any time in future and taking less time than it usually takes to walk the dog!


Post back if you need extra information on this and how to isolate your machine from other sources of data and the Internet once you have a good working Win Xp Pro installation.



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Thanks for the reply, Paws. 


Okay ... QUESTION:  You mention that my Win XP Home Edition CD would not be of any use to install Win XP Pro. But, WOULD it go ahead and install Win XP Home Edition and would it be legal?  I don't have to have Win XP Pro.  That's just what this computer had when my sister gave it to me.  Win XP Home Edition would be perfectly fine with me.  Or would the installation process detecting the difference in versions via the computer's Product Key declare this a deal breaker and stop the install process right there?


As for borrowing a Win XP Pro CD from someone?  Wooooooo!  I don't know of anyone who still has Windows XP.  Heck, most don't even have computers.  Most now just have smartphones.  So that option is a no go.


I do have the Win XP SP3 Setup File.  I've used that one before.


Macrium Reflect Free HAS been recommended before.  However, the last time that I tried to download the setup file onto my sister's computer with High Speed Internet  (I have Dial Up), Macrium Reflect tried to install itself onto my sister's computer instead of just downloading the setup file.  I wasn't able  to figure out how to get the setup file to just download instead of installing itself.  So, that plan was aborted.  That was a couple of years ago, so I don't remember what source that was.  Do you know of a source from where you're pretty sure that I could just download the Macrium Reflect Free setup file without it wanting to install itself right then and there onto the computer doing the downloading?

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