[Legacy] A Clean Install of Windows XP

This is a Legacy Guide. Windows XP has no IE9/10/11, Office 2013 or later support and reached End of Life in April 2014. No new drivers are made for new hardware to support Windows XP.


If you are running Windows XP because you have Legacy Software or because you are trying to use Legacy Software with specialised Legacy Hardware you should consider virtualising.

If you are running Windows XP because you have an old computer and can't afford new hardware and don't care too much about the software, you might be better to install a 32 Bit Version of Lubuntu.

Part 1: Virtualisation of Windows XP

There are different reasons for using a Virtual Machine. One of the reasons is just to run Legacy Software. If you have the setup files for your software you can copy then over to the VM and install your legacy software.

Part 2: Windows and Office Licensing and Obtaining Installation Media

This section talks about obtaining Windows and Office installation media and their product keys. If you already have all the media and product keys the bulk of this section can be skipped. You will still need to download the standalone updates and system drivers however.

Windows License

Gathering System Information

Note: The Dell OEM version of Windows XP will have a SLP key.

Obtaining Installation Media

Downloading System Drivers [Part 1 Downloading]

At this stage you should download the System Drivers and copy them in a folder to a USB external hard drive. If unsure of hardware variants check the ahrdware IDs and make a new post on the Dell Community – Microsoft OS Forum stating your version of Windows, model and Hardware IDs.

Part 3: Backing Up Data

This section talks about backing up data, if you have no data to backup then this section can be skipped.

Follow Backing Up your Files unless your installation can’t boot in this case follow Data Recovery Using Fedora.

You may also want to backup your entire old Windows installation in some cases:

Part 4: Updating the BIOS and Hardware and Preparing the System for Windows Installation

This section takes you through upgrading some hardware which will optimise your systems performance. It also takes you through updating the BIOS and making some changes which may or may not be necessary depending on your hardware configuration. Finally it takes you through preparing the hard drive before Windows installation i.e. securely wiping it.

BIOS Updates

  • The BIOS Update – Theres no need to right click and select run as an administrator for Windows XP

The latest BIOS Update is recommended to be installed before Windows Installation however requires a working Windows installation. If you cannot update the BIOS from the old Windows installation then update it after installing Windows.

BIOS Settings

Hardware Upgrades

Ensure that you refer to your Service Manual (older systems) or Owner’s Manual when adding/removing hardware.

DDR2 RAM is quite expensive now and the best performance from old systems will be from a SSD. Its not worthwhile upgrading if your system only has an IDE harddrive connector.

To be honest its probably not worth spending cash in upgrading a Windows XP system. Newer hardware will not work with Windows XP.

Preparing your Hard Drive

Securely wiping your system with DBAN is recommended if you want to remove any personal information or you suspect you were infected by Viruses/Malware.

SATA drivers generally only need to be loaded if the installation cannot detect any hard drives or reports later during the setup that it can’t configure your hardware.

Part 5: Windows Installation and Driver Installation

This part takes you through the actual Windows installation aswell as updating it and installing the system drivers.

Windows Installation

System Drivers Download and Installation [Part 2 Installing]

This is listed twice as you need to install the drivers after installing Windows. This guide recommends downloading and saving the drivers to an external hard drive before Windows installation however acknowledges that many users will attempt to download drivers only after Windows is installed.

Additional Microsoft Services

The latest version of Microsoft Office for Windows XP is Office 2010.

Windows Update

It is recommended to only use Windows XP Offline as it has reached End of Life and is no longer updated and is more likely to be insecure.

Part 5: Dell Preinstalled Software and Third Party Software

This gives some notes about additional Dell software and other Third Party software.

Dell Preinstalled Software


Support for Windows XP is eventually dropping with mainstream security vendors.

The Royale and Royale Noir Theme

Adobe Software

Other Software

Backing up your Clean Windows Installation

These steps are highly recommended as it gives you a means to quickly restore your clean Windows installation if something goes wrong. I recommend making one before any software is installed and maybe another one once you have installed all your desired third party software.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.