Author Topic: Reinstalling WindowsXP  (Read 2211 times)

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BillB

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Reinstalling WindowsXP
« on: January 25, 2009, 02:28:08 PM »
Question from a user:

A good friend of mine has had his two computers rebuilt and now needs the Windows XP Home Edition Operating System software for both of them

He asked me where he should get it for the best possible price - and I wanted to be sure to point him in the right direction (so he doesn't spend his money for an unauthorized copy, etc.)


BillB

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Re: Reinstalling WindowsXP
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 02:35:48 PM »
If the rebuilt computer had an OEM installation of Windows, its license is still valid. Just read the key off the sticker with the hologram on the side of the case.

There is no current source for new WinXP except a few OEMs like Dell, which will only sell it if you're buying a new computer from them. However, there are always dealers who overbought retail boxes and either the dealer still has; or sold to other dealers; legitimate, never-opened licenses. Unlike cereal, these old licenses are still good as long as they are retail, not OEM, and have never been used. (Actually, if they were retail licenses, I think you could transfer them from a scrapped computer.)

The trick is finding these classic licenses. Start with a search engine or eBay. Then research your dealer carefully. There's a lot of legitimate product out there, but most that you'll be offered is OEM. Though Microsoft probably won't bounce you for using an IBM OEM on a rebuilt Gateway, many manufacturers modify their CDs so they won't run unless they detect their own hardware. Be sure your seller guarantees that the OEM discs will work with a generic computer.

Vista Business or Ultimate licenses can be downgraded to any version of XP. I have seen instructions on this and it is tedious, but should not be beyond the skills of anyone who would rebuild a computer and reinstall an OS without the OEM’s correct support.

Once you have your licenses, you just have to find some media. This should be easier as you can use any CD that installs the version you want. That means borrow a buddy’s, beg a copy off a dealer, or order one from one of the services that sell authorized discs to businesses. Any disc you buy won't have any drivers to support your motherboard. But that's a problem with retail Windows, too.

Before you go online looking for drivers, install antivirus software and turn on the Windows firewall. Then be sure you hit the Windows updates as soon as you have a connection. Depending on how recent your media are, install the 3 Service Packs in order and then let Windows do its update. This will probably take several hours and multiple reboots; each of which may require a manual intervention.

Now you have an older computer that probably has inadequate memory and video system running a 7-year-old operating system. You might get better performance out of it by installing a current Linux version (Ubuntu is considered one of the most appropriate for home use). That should use more generic drivers and be very happy with 512 MB or even 256 MB of RAM. It’s great for online activities and software is available for most applications a general user might want, most for free.