Topics Map > OS and Desktop Applications > Operating Systems > Windows

Guys, in the original Windows XP SP3, if you click 'computer' with the right-click and properties, originally will say that is from 2007 (Windows XP SP3 has released in 2007 including a pack for download of XP SP3), And it has no OOBE, Normally it was supposed to have, but, if you can only to play something or get nostalgia, this is a good iso for you. To use the Windows Setup Manager included with Windows XP, you must install the Windows Deployment Tools from the Windows XP CD while logged on as a user with administrative rights to the machine. Download Windows XP SP3 ISO Full Version Free download via our direct link. It includes original SP1 and SP2 in the official ISO CD download. Windows XP SP3 ISO Full Version Download Overview. Windows XP Home and Professional editions were major releases at the year of 2001 that defined the Microsoft’s way of welcoming the 21st Century. To install Windows XP SP3 from the Microsoft Download Center, we recommend that you have a minimum of 1,500 megabytes (MB) of free space on the system disk. To install Windows XP SP3 from a shared network folder, we recommend that you have about 1,100 MB of free space. To install Windows XP SP3 from a CD, we recommend that you have about 1,765.

If you cannot boot into Windows (normal or safe mode), it may indicate that the file system on your hard drive, or the hard drive itself, is damaged. Microsoft provides a disk utility, CHKDSK, that can help determine the state of your hard drive.

Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista

NOTE: Windows 95/98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista are no longer supported by the Help Desk. We can only provide best effort support. If we are unable to resolve your Windows 9x/2000/XP/Vista issue, you may be able to find help in Microsoft's Knowledge Base.

These products are no longer actively supported by Microsoft. No further development will take place on these products and security updates are no longer issued. It is highly recommended that you upgrade to Windows 10 or 8.

Note: Running scan disk can take several hours. It is recommended you run this scan overnight, or at a time when you won't need to access your computer.

Running CHKDSK from the Windows CD

  1. Insert your Windows XP CD into your computer's CD-ROM drive and restart your computer. If your computer is not booting into Windows, you will still need to have your computer powered on to open the CD-ROM drive and insert the CD before restarting.
  2. Many newer computers are set to boot CDs by default or have an option to temporarily change the boot order. Look for one of these messages as your computer starts:
    • F12 (or another key) = Boot Menu
    • ESC (or another key) to select boot device
    • Press any key to boot from CD
  3. If you needed to press a key for a boot menu or to select a boot device, you should now have a menu of the devices your computer can try to boot from. Choose your CD-Rom drive and press Enter.
  4. When you see the 'Press any key' message, your computer is ready to boot from the Windows XP CD. Just press Enter. Your system will load files and bring you to the Windows XP Setup screen.
  5. At the Windows Setup screen, press R to enter the Recovery Console.
    • NOTE: If you are unable to access the recovery console, your CD may be damaged, or the problem could be more severe and require professional system recovery.
  6. You will enter the Recovery Console and be asked to choose which Windows installation you would like to log into. Most users will only have one choice.
  7. You will be prompted to enter the administrator password. This is the password set for the user Administrator. You may have set this password when you first were configuring your computer. If you are uncertain what password to enter here, try leaving the line blank and just pressing ENTER.
  8. You will be presented with a C: prompt. Type the following:

    and press ENTER.

  9. CHKDSK will now run. The scan may run for several hours.
  10. When the scan is complete, a report will display.
  11. To leave the Recovery Console and reboot your computer, type exit and press Enter. Remember to eject your Windows XP CD before your system tries to boot off of it.

Running CHKDSK from the Windows Desktop

  1. Click on the Start Menu then Run.
  2. Type in cmd and click OK
  3. You will be presented with a C: prompt. Type the following:

    where volume is the disk you would like to check. Most users will probably need to scan the C: drive, however, the volume you scan depends on your computer's configuration and the problems you are experiencing. Press ENTER to initiate the scan.

  4. CHKDSK will now run. The scan may run for several hours.
  5. When the scan is complete, a report will display.

Helping people with computers.. one answer at a time.

If you don't have your Windows installation CD there are still a few things you can do. If you have an image of your CD, you may be able to do more.

by Leo A. Notenboom, © 2003

I have no CD - how do I get at Windows XP setup?

I discussed in a prior article what to do if you have no installation CD for Windows XP. But now onceyou've found your CD image - where's the setup?

What you need will depend on what you're attempting to do.

If you want to make a change to your system configuration - perhapsadding an accessory that you neglected at the original setup - then theplace to go is not setup, but the control panel:

  • Start
  • Settings (if you're using classic start menu)
  • Control Panel
  • Add or Remove Programs
  • Add or Remove Windows Components

That will bring up the dialog that's extremely similar to setup in whichyou can select the optional Windows components to add or remove.

If you're looking to reinstall system files because you suspectcorruption what you really need is the System File Checker. Thisutility validates that all of Windows' system files are correct andfixes those that are not:

  • Start
  • Run
  • Type: 'sfc /scannow' without the quotes followed by Enter

sfc may ask for your installation CD-ROM. (Seethis article if you don't have one.)

Finally, if you really, honestly and truly want to re-install windows,the first step would be to run your installation CD.If you don't have one, you may havean image of the CD on your hard disk. In the I386 directory are twofiles:

  • winnt32.exe is the '32 bit' version of the charactermode Windows setup. You may be able to run this from withinWindows.
  • winnt.exe is the '16 bit' version of the character modeWindows setup. Why a 16 bit version? If you can't run winnt32.exe andare able to boot from an MS-DOS floppy or are able to boot to Win9xDOS mode, then this setup program will work for you.

WARNING: character.exe and winnt32.exe are the 'start-from-scratch', 'do-it-all-over-setup' programs. Use them only if you want acomplete re-install of Windows - possibly losing any prior customconfiguration changes you made, depending on whether setup isinstalling on top of and can understand a prior installation.

Article C1875 - December 31, 2003 «»

You may also be interested in:

  • Why can't I activate Windows XP? I tried to activate Windows XP Home and it didn't work. Thus began a phone saga with Microsoft support, ending in failure. Until I fixed it myself.

  • Can I revert from Windows XP and NTFS to Windows 98? Reverting to Windows 98 from Windows XP and NTFS can be done, but it's a lot of work and not recommended.

February 22, 2004 8:41 AM

can i copy win xp home from image file on my hard drive?

February 22, 2004 4:48 PM

Not exactly sure what you're asking. Certainly you can copy the files from the image - what tools to use will depend on what kind of image file it is.


Dsvid Ryce
April 6, 2004 2:03 PM

After rebooting,I recieve this error message : Could not execute the main:The system cannot find the file specified. After I close the window my system seems to run normally. I occasionally get a message that some function is unavailable as I play on my desktop. I`m running Windows XP on 128mb`s 800 series duron processor. thankyou, David Ryce

April 6, 2004 3:17 PM

I suspect some spyware or other malware has tried to add something to your startup and failed. I would check what's attempting to start when you start or login to Windows (this article will help: ), and then I'd make sure to run a good spyware removal tool like Ad-Aware or Spybot Search & Destroy (links here: )

Good luck!


Cristobal Leon
April 9, 2004 4:27 PM

Hi Leo, my name is Cristobal. I would like you to help me, find out a way to restore Windows XP Help and Support Center 'index' I'll be waiting for your helpful anwser, and I think you in advance.


Cristobal Leon.

April 9, 2004 4:33 PM

I'm not exactly sure what you mean. Do you not get an index when you press the 'Index' button in Help & Support? Do you get an error, and if so what?



Cristobal Leon
April 10, 2004 1:08 PM

Hi, Leo that's exactly my problem; the 'index'. So I would like to know how this can be fix or restore, because I noticed that in the help and support center, most subjects are linked to many other programs and applications. Even the IE's Help is not working properly because, I'm getting an error message, which says that there is a script problem, so it also ask me, if a wish to continue working with it, and it says YES or NO. I'm sure that this has to do with the main Windows XP Help and Support Center too. So Leo please help me, in order to get it fix, as soon as possible. Once again thanks.



April 10, 2004 3:44 PM

Have you tried the System File Checker? (Mentioned in the article above, and at )


June 1, 2004 11:49 PM

ok what could I do if I accidently erased the boot section and now XP won't start and I have no inbuilt CDrom or Floppy to boot from?

June 2, 2004 8:29 AM

So you have nothing that the machine can boot from? Then I'd guess you're out of luck until you can attach a boot device such as a floppy disk or CD-ROM drive.

March 31, 2005 9:30 PM

When I open my computer the Windows does not load. It used to have Win98. It says that it is missing a file that is needed to run windows. All I can do is write stuff in front of c:/ . I have bought a new XP CD and would like to install it on the computer. It is suppose to run the CD after I put it in and restart the computer but it doesn't.
Any Help will be appriciated.

Paul Soper
May 30, 2005 10:44 AM

Hi Leo,

I have a Time 8375 which refused to boot my Windows XP Professional CD. With computer corrupt and Time's restore discs not working, I set about installing using your winnt.exe hint.

1. Booted from Windows 98 CD and selected 'Start Computer with CD-ROM Support'
2. Put in Windows 95 CD, moved to win95 folder (cd win95) and typed smartdrv and pressed Enter.
3. Inserted Windows XP CD, moved to i386 folder (cd i386), typed winnt and pressed Enter.
4. Setup copied files to the hard disk
5. Message informed me that the MS-DOS part is complete and to press enter to restart
6. Ejected CD and pressed Enter
7. Machine rebooted from Hard disk and 'normal' setup commenced!

I just wish I'd found your site earlier. Thanks!

June 11, 2005 2:50 AM

actually my system has windows 98 as os.but i want to update windows xp without disturbing other files how can i do there any websites available for updates or d i have to go for cd?if so where can i get it?

June 11, 2005 11:40 AM

You can purchase Windows XP at many computer stores, both online and off, and then just install from the CD .. it will upgrade your existing installation.

July 26, 2005 9:15 AM

plesa answer this;

Can i burn the i368 file from my laptop on to my pc,which recently crashed and lost it's operating system, and install Windows XP? I contacted Microsoft and they said I need a restore cd from my manufacturer(eMachines) which was going to cost me 80 dollars. Anyway I have a c.oa. and just need a copy of Windows XP, and wanted to know if my computer, which has an empty hard drive, could have xP with the i368 if i use my own c.o.a. from the o.e.m.

July 27, 2005 6:09 AM

Hi Leo,

Please respond to this. I don't know too much about computers, but i tried you i386 method. The i386 file is over 1 GB in size so i can't burn it on a single cd. How do i split this, or do i do something else. PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS.


July 30, 2005 4:35 PM

Masoum: I don't have an answer yet. I noted that my own I386 directory is over 800Meg, so I'm looking into solutions, but I don't have one yet.

August 8, 2005 8:48 AM

Sir, I want to know, how can one get the corrupt data recover from a corrupt compact disc.
Please help me sir, I have a cd which had my most important data in it.
Thank you
Imran Shaikh

August 8, 2005 9:18 AM

The best approach is to try different machines. CDs that are unreadable in one machine can sometimes be read by another. Otherwise I'd simple copy the entire CD to my hard drive, making sure to ignore any errors that come up. You won't get ALL of your data, but you should get most of it. If the errors are in the directory area of the CD, you may be out of luck.

Paul Bergeron
September 28, 2005 7:07 AM

I bought a Laptop from emachine, they only gave me a recovery CD (3 of them) which are exact image of the configurated system made using Symantec Ghost software, not copies of the actual operating system windows XP, this is unfair since when I bought the machine, I already paid for the operating system, that I don t even have it!!
In the light of the above, I want to know how to make a windows setup CD from the already installed Windows XP on my computer; I hate to pay twice for the same thing, that is why I am not paying more money to Bill Gates.

Thank you.

September 30, 2005 10:47 PM

Eelco: Check for setup.exe in the i386 directory also.

Mary Smith
October 10, 2005 2:54 PM

Leo - In regards to copying the i386 file (or any file larger than the usual 700mb on a CD), why not use a DVD-RW which usually stores 4.7gb of digital info. The DVD-RW doesn't have to be used for video.

October 10, 2005 2:57 PM

Certainly. Though not everyone has DVD writers.

ashley hoffman
December 6, 2005 5:43 PM

hey leo,
um i have a problem see i have got msn and it dont work any more suddlny i like redid every thing i deleted itr repaired it everythin but it still say this this service is temperaly unavible and my freinds can get on and it makes me really mad so plz hhwlp

December 13, 2005 9:39 AM

I just need a little clarification. If I use the image on the hard drive to fully reinstall windows (because no cd was sent with the laptop), will the reinstalled version automatically copy the image to the hd again? I guess to get to the point, will I always be able to reinstall then at some later date reinstall or repair again with the same trick?

Dell Windows Xp Installation Cd Download

December 15, 2005 9:55 PM

No - the installation simply sets up windows. NO installation, CD or otherwise, copies that image you might find. That was a manual, or separate, step someone did separately.

December 27, 2005 9:58 AM

I read your prior article on this, but my situation is little different. I received a few computers from a company as a result of an office closing. The computers are currently running Windows 2000 and require a valid login account to accese (I don't have a valid account). There is a Windows XP Professional product key sticker on the side of the machine. I would like to install a fresh version of XP Pro using the key but I don't have a disk. What are my options?


Leo A. Notenboom
December 27, 2005 10:26 AM

You'll need a CD. You can use the one CD and use each machine's product key as found on each sticker.

March 17, 2006 11:36 AM




I have no CD - how do I get at Windows XP setup


March 18, 2006 5:31 PM

If you can't even boot into safe mode or the recovery console, then you need a CD of some sort.

Bill Gates
April 20, 2006 8:51 AM

Buy The xp disk

April 26, 2006 7:22 AM

Ok i am running windows xp home i made a back up copy of my windows but when i turn on my computer i have no log on screen so i cant even get it to run if it does not load it self (ps for all u ppl that just want to get ur computer back to how it was when u turn on ur dell after u see dell loading first thing and the screen goes black hold crtl and f11 at same time and it should take u to a restart place to get it back to when u first bolt (ps it works some times other times it just fixes some things u had wrong ( i cant get it to give me back my log on screen thow)

July 25, 2006 4:56 AM

Just to let you know i managed to figure it out.
I had to change the sourcepath AND move the 1386 directory as sfc would not locate it EVEN though the path was correct.
Sfc has since went from start to finish WITHOUT once asking for cd..Even though you did`nt get round to replying it was still this site that got me going in the right direction(eventually)Good stuff!

December 13, 2006 10:06 AM

If you have the i386 directory then you should check out a program called nLite. You put the i386 path in nLite, make any tweaks you desire within the program, then it can create a burnable cd image for you. Using this method you can make a new XP cd. I do recommend, however, to make a copy of the i386 folder and use that as the path since nLite makes the modifications directly to the folder you provide. So if any mistakes are made you will still have a clean i386 directory to work with.

January 5, 2007 12:22 AM

my hard disk crushed i dnt have back up what i do?

Leo Notenboom
January 5, 2007 9:55 AM

Get a new hard disk and learn the lesson: always back up.

February 5, 2007 6:02 AM

I have the same problem at Kevin reported to you on 1/14/07. It seems that alot of people have the same issue and no answer is attempted. Would anyone like to try? I've changed the registry in OE, restored to an earlier point, downloaded windows defender and latest versions of IE and OE and OE 6.0 STILL not responding. Please help! Thanks!

February 5, 2007 7:43 PM

Mindy It Looks Like To Me, That No one Has The Answer To The SFC Problem, This Question,Please insert the Windows XP Professional CD2 into your CD-ROM drive
This Is A real Pain In The Butt , My Brand Ne H-P pavillion DV 9033CL lap top has the same problem , H-P Is No Help At All They Say To Go To Microsoft, ha ha ,Microsoft Tells Me To Go To H-P What A joke, I give up

Al C.
July 25, 2008 2:15 PM

Why is it that years ago they would provide a hard disc of the Windows system..but now they only supply a card with the key code written on it? I would like to get an original hard disc of my operating system - Windows XP home edition. How can I go about getting one without having to go to a computer store or other sales venues and buy one? I've paid for it once when I bought this why can't I get one free????

You mean a CD, not a 'hard disk'. A hard disk is what's installed in your computer already.
This is a choice that manufacturer's make to save money. You should contact the manufacturer of your computer and insist that they include a CD of the OS when you purchase your machine.
July 27, 2008 10:16 AM

Hi Leo,
when I try to run the system file checker my system says 'windows cannot find sfc/scannow. Make sure..'
I went through START and RUN and followed your instructions. Any ideas?

There needs to be a space between 'sfc' and '/scannow'.
July 31, 2008 8:35 AM

Misha - You should look here..

August 3, 2008 4:04 PM

I was trying to re-install windows xp and it didn't complete. I want to reformat my harddrive and cannot do so because windows setup application temporary files are still in use somewhere and I'm not allowed to delete everything off of my c:NTFS partition. How do I get rid of these files so I can wipe the slate clean? I have Generic Host Process win32 errors and svchost.exe errors that are haunting me. I have tried everything out on the interenet suggest to remove the errors but nothing works. HELP!!!!

Boot from your Windows installation CD and you can reformat the main drive.
September 15, 2008 4:32 PM

Hi, if I re-install Windows will I lose the files that I have saved to my laptop?

It depends on *how* you reinstall Windows. You should do a full backup first anyway, so no mater what you do you'll be able to recover anything.
Margery Greene
September 22, 2008 11:14 AM

I have no Windows XP CD and the jerk who built my PC did not image the I386 on my hard drive. All I want to do is change a system configuration option, but when I try to do this from Control Panel I get prompted to insert CD/give path which I don't have at all. This is a pc with Windows XP Pro. I do have another CD with Windows XP Home from a different PC. Can I borrow this one or will the Home/Professional difference nix this?

I'd give it a try. If it works, it works. If it fails, it won't harm anything. I'm guessing you'll have to get or borrow an XP Pro CD
Glenn P.
October 7, 2008 1:11 PM

I'm in the same position as everyone else here. I can't even install the Recovery Console, for F's sake!!!

Is there noplace you can BUY a stupid Installation CD for your system somewhere??? Sheesh!!!

Depends entirely on where you got your computer. You can always purchase a retail copy of Windows from Amazon or other places.
November 7, 2008 1:06 PM

I have found i386 folder in C:windows incase it helps anyone.

November 30, 2008 5:09 AM

i have lost my windows xp detup disk and i want to format my laptop (which already has win xp sp3 on it) then reinstall win xp to speed it up a bit

i dont have the i386 folder on this laptop either so i cant get the installation files

Contact the manufacturer or wherever you purchased your computer and get a Windows Installation CD (not a recovery CD). You need one.
Diane lee
December 17, 2008 2:53 AM
Windows xp setup disk download

Hello, I hope you can help me! I bought a laptop for my b-day, it was used with new hard drive and with xp windows. Now microsoft is telling me that my windows is not legal, after 7 mos. of owning it. My computer has a product key for windows and say's it's right but microsoft say's not. So now I am to buy a new xp windows cd and re-install windows and loose every thing on my computer that I installed. I thought that you can only put xp on once, how is this legal for people who is just making it by, I am a mother of two and single and on a budget that I can't go and spend 150.00 so I can use my computer. Is there anything I can do? Thank you Diane

Reinstalling Windows certainly doesn't imply you need to lose your data or everything else you've installed. Backup first to save your data, and reinstall all your other applications once the Windows reinstall is complete.
If someone sold you an illegal copy of Windows, you're kinda stuck. Depending on your usage, you could investigate Linux (free), but likely you'll need to bite the bullet and purchase Windows.
December 21, 2008 4:27 PM

I want to upgrade my pc from windows me to windows xp. Is it anywhere I can download the xp setup disk?

That would be illegal. You need to purchase one.
Zita Shuffield
December 27, 2008 10:26 AM

my computer says low disk space. I do not know what to remove. I have tried removing old security updates but it also says that removing them may cause the computer to stop working. What do I remove safely? Thanks

It would be better to start by understanding just what's taking up all that space, and the deciding from that what could be deleted.
February 13, 2009 8:57 AM

Hi, I need to format my hard drive and start fresh. I am currently running Windows XP. How do I get to format my computer? Also, the PC I am formating does not have a A: drive. Is there a way to format the hard drive without having the Windows XP cd? Please be gentle with me in your replies.
The reason I’m trying to format my computer is because is been acting unstable lately and I know I have viruses. This is our only computer and I need it for school can you please advise me the best thing to do.
Thank you.

You do need a Windows Install CD to format your computer. Formatting erases Windows and everything else, and you'll need the CD to put Windows back on your machine.
Myrna Taylor
March 27, 2009 7:38 PM

I have no setup CD or i386 directory. I want to make a boot CD. Can I use i386 from another source?

March 30, 2009 2:35 AM

Hi! I have an slip-streamed xp which basically needs to me to boot from that resource. However, the slipstream xp in on the hard disk. Any Possible ways for me to access it from boot directly? Thank you v much

March 30, 2009 9:34 AM

Hey leo i have a windows xp pro and i have found it on the side of the street and it boots runs and everthing but i want to reinstall it but i dont have the disk and also the drives dnt work can u help me out

March 30, 2009 6:57 PM

A friend bought this dead HP pavilion 364n desktop for pennies(I don't buy used computers) and asked me to help fix it. It has product key for Windows XP Home Edition label attached to the case.I replaced the PSU, then I was able to boot the computer. However, I can't do anything with the guest account and the admin pw is unknown. I will like to do Recovery. The Recovery option F10 during booting process is not responding though I see the recovery partition present. What are my options? If I call microsoft and give the product key will they send me win xp cd? Or is there any other means to access recovery partition?

April 17, 2009 11:15 PM

..i believe my 'friend' installed a bootleg version of windows on my i have lost capability to be computer administrator and i have been attempting to become this do i go about doing this OR will i have 2 purchase a legal copy of windows to do so???..thanks.

April 22, 2009 11:29 AM

Hey there! I was wondering if you had any thoughts.. My Sony desktop was running an antivirus software program when XP Media Edition decided to automagically reboot. When the desktop came back around, I tried to log in. When I went to log in, the computer said, 'welcome' and then 'logging off' and took me back to the user screen. I've tried entering all of the accounts (range from user to admin) and haven't been able to get in.

Is there a way for me to reinstall XP - Media Edition on the computer without losing all of my information and applications? Or, Just putting regular XP - SP3 on it? I've looked it around but haven't found any real help.. thanks.

You might consider a 'Repair Install' of Windows: How should I reinstall Windows?
thomas navolt
April 25, 2009 5:13 PM

i have 2 window 2000s and 1 laptop windows 1995 my sister worked for a company that expected her to buy the computers and of corse when she left she took them with her the company loded there own software on them with codes to break ive got one of the 2000 done ive teried to load wireless internet on this computer the stick is not recognized to be istalled what to do. tom

May 3, 2009 4:21 PM

ive lost the disk but i have the product key. I hit reboot not knowing what it ment and am still not sure. now my computer wont do anything unless im in safe mode help!!

kevin suttling
May 25, 2009 12:46 PM

Windows Xp Setup Disk Download

i seem to have had my ntldr deleted or something my desktop comes up with ntldr is missing press ctrl,alt and delete to restart and i have no installation discs at all not even back up discs is there anything i can do to get my pc back online, the deleted files should still be in the trash can is there any way to restore them, please help

June 24, 2009 4:25 PM

hi I'm trying to install east asian language files and it's telling me I need the xp cd. how should I solve this issue? thanks

Ruben Muniz
November 29, 2009 12:07 PM

Hi Leo,

Look I have a HP Laptop with Xp Pro like 3 years ago. I have varius problems with the system so I tried to restore my computer with the recovery partition included in my HP laptop but seem that is a problem with that partition, so I couldn't restore my Laptop. What I should do.

January 4, 2010 9:17 AM

I'd like to run sfc on a Gateway tablet PC for which I have no installation disk. I can boot to XP, but the computer logs off shortly after the Personal Settings are loaded. Is there a way to run sfc from something like the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows?

There is a recovery partition on the computer, but I presume that this would only permit a clean install of Windows. Also, I presume that an upgrade install of a tablet PC using just a XP Pro disk will be of no avail.

January 4, 2010 5:41 PM

After I tried to reinstall an old VGA Driver, when I boot up my PC, and after showing the Windows XP Loading screen, there's a black out in my screen. But when I tried to log in by using my keyboard, I can log in.. What can I do?

M Lansaw
January 10, 2010 6:25 PM

I deleted the files so my computer wont start and I dont have the xp disc it says corrupt or missing file

Yep, that's a problem. There's nothing I can add or help you with. You need a Windows Installation CD.

January 14, 2010 12:21 PM

I have the same issue as JP and I was also wondering if I can get the east asian language files

I do have windows XP But, I lost the cd and it tells me I need it .

A Lee
January 16, 2010 9:21 AM

Hi Leo, just a quick clarification (thanks for doing this site btw) - if you have an infected computer and you're attempting to do a fresh install from a CD image on that infected computer, don't you run the risk of keeping the virus on the system even with a fresh install? Or have virus not yet figured out how to corrupt win32nt.exe? Just wondering, thanks..

When you do a reformat and reinstall you're erasing all files (including viruses) from your hard disk, and reinstalling from the original CD which could not have been modified by a virus.

January 17, 2010 1:24 AM

My Pc has this virus file, it reboots nomally, bu makes this laggy sound. I can't access anyfile or program even the internet. I ntried using some virus delete program which gave no use. I downloaded the Installation Cd, but when i press enter it says that thre is no liscene agreement and then it reboots. please help.

Carol J
January 21, 2010 6:18 PM

I need to reinstall no Cd ok now I want to know
can I take everything off and buy another Xp or 7 How would I do this? tell me in detail

Rollin Kiefer
February 6, 2010 2:58 PM

Hi Leo, have a dell 8200..losn story short has viruses and other problems..want to reinstall windows xp..found in xp setup folder..ran winnt32 in prompt and it wont continue with windows install because the version on pc is newer..blah know of a workaround? have the sticker on side of tower with cd key..replaced the hard drive last year or so nad had no problem once rebooted it went to windows setup screen cant reformat drive..maybe because it is one running windows? (primary) any help would be great..
great site Leo you're providing na excellent service


February 28, 2010 6:43 PM

HI Leo, pls help me.the anti-virus deleted my files and now my computer is running too slow.i cant copy,cut or search files.i want to reinstall windows without losing my programs(is that possible?).i am using windows xp,i have no cd and i can't find winnt.exe.

March 2, 2010 4:32 PM

I used the method shown here for completely reinstalling windows but once it had all finished and loaded, my computer was still exactly the same. All my files and stuff are still there. What went wrong? Do I now have a second windows installed somewhere? Lenovo charges $60 for XP discs so I need to find some way to make this work.

March 3, 2010 2:35 PM

I had Windows XP on my system that was built for me by a friend, and it was format inadvertently with windows 98. I don't have a recovery disk. How can I obtain an installation disk that will boot from the CD drive and install windows XP again?

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March 4, 2010 7:04 AM

Help me the anti virus deleted my desktop my computer is slow . I want to reinstall windows xp without losing my programs I'm using xp have no cd please help.

March 4, 2010 7:58 PM

hey im running windows xp and need to reformat it, (start from scratch like if it were just out of the box) but when i ran winnt32 it went through the process but once it loaded it was still the same as before, nothing changed. Please someone help me i need to start over since his setup is already screwed over.

March 13, 2010 11:22 PM

I'm trying to reinstall system files on my XP system. When I run sfc /scannow, it asks for my installation CD (which I never got), but doesn't offer me a way to specify the path to the image (which I found, thanks to your other article).

March 20, 2010 7:10 PM

I don't know how to setup windows with romovable.

michelle collins
March 23, 2010 7:56 PM

I have a e machines computer and I've made a set of 4 recovery disc's and one doesn't work so what can I get to get my computer back to normal and up and running the cheapest way possible?

March 28, 2010 2:04 PM


April 9, 2010 6:10 AM

i've lost my cd.but i have the 25 character pass

April 12, 2010 12:31 PM

i have the file named i386.
i have also found the file within called winnt32.
when i click to install it says preparing for setup then it comes up with error
what do i do???????????????

April 16, 2010 9:33 AM

I'm running CFS and it's asking for the disc for WXP SP3! There never was such a disc.. where would I find those files?

April 21, 2010 5:39 PM

I have windows XP GX150 and I don't have the CD, when I start my computer it says /System32/ntoskrnl.exe missing file please reinstall adove, what can I do? I can't get in at all. Thanks

Eric Prunty
May 6, 2010 9:30 PM

You will want to go to Microsoft website and search for the following article 'Windows XP Service Pack 3 - ISO-9660 CD Image File' From there you should be able to create a CD.

May 18, 2010 2:54 PM

i don't have my window's startup cd and my computer won't boot it keeps saying the following file is missing or corrupt windowssystem32configsystem

tina chambers
June 3, 2010 9:23 AM

hi my boyfriend has windows 98 and i was wondering if i could install windows xp on to the laptop without using a CD? please help

June 14, 2010 4:46 PM

Help!!! I open the winnt32.exe and it first working well until it says it needs to restart the computer and then the computer said 'A disk read error occurred. Please press Ctrl Alt Del restart.'
Then what should I do?

June 21, 2010 3:54 PM

Ok, I am extremely computer (and spelling) illiterate so sorry. I was recently trying to install windows pro updates, do not remember which ones but there were 12. After the updates started I noticed I had forgot and left a mmo game running. I shut the game down. Within 10 minutes the first 3 updates failed so I tried to cancel the update process. Which resulted in the program not responding message. I manually shut my system down and went for a smoke. When I came back and started comp up it goes from a screen with my comp info and the hit f8 page to a smaller hit page. If I do nothing it endlessly loops til I manually shutdown. When I hit crtl+s I get the screen to load from various options. None of which work not even safe mode. Since trying to fix this an even bigger dumbbut of a friend tried to install xp home in a seperate location which when it restarts to finish setup results in endless loop. I would like to know if I am up the creek or would a reformat fix it. Problem is my EX brother n law gave me thgis comp that he built w/o cd and I have no way of getting it from him. Any suggestions besides expensive paper weight would be GREATLY appreciated. As I can find no help for my exact prob. on any forum. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully care about a wanna be techie. :)

July 17, 2010 5:09 AM

My PC recently had a second hard drive installed so that the original is now running as a slave. My problem is that in its older configuration the PC would display Japanese characters in documents and web pages. Now it won't.
I don't have a Windows XP disc as the machine had it installed from the start.
I followed your guidance but I can't find the correct 1386 folder anywhere, and a search using the Windows search tool can't find any Winnt32 file (exe or otherwise).
Can you give me some advice?

October 22, 2010 12:00 AM

my comp wont start windows xp a windows 7 backup disk was put in the com by ma mistake i have a product key but no disks where can i down load xp to reload my comp

November 2, 2010 1:54 AM

i dont know what i delete untill i cant see graphic and imej at mozila firefox and ie 8. only the original imej are disaplay. only i use google chrome that all i can see graphic and imej. Please help me because i like to use mozila firefox

November 7, 2010 1:55 AM

I searched for Winnt32.exe and found it. However, when I open it I cannot continue the process. Error message appears reading: Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD. What do I do?

February 5, 2011 2:19 PM

Leo, I bought a used laptop with Win 7. However looks like it is a trial enterprise copy. There is an XP COA on the bottom. How do I go back to XP with no CD?

You need a CD. You'll have to purchase one.

February 23, 2011 8:23 AM

For Iain (Jul. 17):
You do not need to re-install Windows. Just go to Control Panel>Regional and Language Options>Languages. Check 'Install files for East Asian languages'.

For Randy (Oct. 22):
Looks like you need to buy a new copy of XP.

For Cebastien (Nov. 7):
Ask someone who knows how to slipstream Service Pack 3 to a copy of the setup CD to do it for you. 'Nlite' is a good tool for doing that.

March 27, 2011 4:44 PM

Hi Leo, I can't find winnt.exe or winnt32.exe. I have searched all folders and files (and hidden). How can I proceed?

You can't. It really depends on whatever it is you're attempting to do. Those files aren't guaranteed to be there - often they are when an install CD has been copied completely, but they're not required for normal operation.
July 14, 2011 5:40 PM

I was wondering if there was a way for me to repair my windows setting without removing everything from the hard drive because I don't have the Windows Setup CD it said this: Windows XP could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: WINDOWSSYSTEM32CONFIGSYSTEM
could I still use this?

September 29, 2011 10:33 AM

I'm sorry, but I don't think sfc /scannow will correct system files since this command stores drivers etc in a system CACHE folder not in the currently one being used by Windows. By the way, I've used this command and I'm still getting BSOD . It didn't fix anything.

Faisal 97
November 10, 2011 7:54 PM

my netbook was damaged and need to install window xp in cd but netbook did not have cd rom.please help me!

That's this article that was referenced above: I don't have an installation CD for Windows XP - what if I need one?
December 20, 2011 4:06 AM



December 20, 2011 8:18 AM

Here is an article the Leo just wrote on repairing Windows:
How do I repair Windows 7 with a Re-Install?

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