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There are some steps to try if you need to install hardware and do not have your Windows XP CD.

I bought an HP 854n media center computer with Windows XP pro. A year later I had to give it to a friend to clean it out, totally, and he said that he could give the comp back to me, but with no sound. In order to get sound, I would need an installation disk. I do not have any "winnt32.exe" like you suggested I look for in an I386 folder. Nothing is there, so what can I do to get my sound back?

The good news is that there are some steps to try. The bad news is that you may need an installation CD anyway. The good news is that it may be OK to borrow one.

These are the steps I would try:

  • Run that add hardware wizard. There is actually a possibility that the software required is already on your machine and that "it will just work". Admittedly a small possibility, but worth trying.

  • Update the drivers. Or rather, pretend that the hardware was already installed, go visit the manufacturer's site for updated drivers, and follow their installation instructions. In this case, I'd visit either the HP website or the website for the manufacturer of the sound card.

  • Borrow an installation CD from a friend. Presumably you already have a licensed and working copy of Windows XP and all you're adding is support for additional hardware. There's no piracy involved here; it's quite legitimate to borrow an installation CD and use it when the hardware installation process asks for one.

The moral of the story is simple, though:

  1. Insist on getting a valid Windows XP Installation CD when you purchase your system, even if Windows is already installed.

  2. Save that disk in a safe place. You'll need it in the future. Make a copy to your hard drive if you like, but save the CD.

Article C2104 - July 8, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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27 Comments
matthew
July 18, 2004 10:09 AM

i am having the same problam i have the windows xp disk but it is scrached and have just downloaded a film and i would like to watch it with sounds so all day since 10 o claock am i have been trying to get my sound on so please can you help me ps this site is the best

Leo
July 18, 2004 10:51 AM

Two approaches come to mind: first borrow an installation CD from a friend. I'm assuming you're trying to install drivers to make your sound work, so I'd visit the web site for the manufacturer of the sound card or system and see if the drivers can be downloaded and intalled. Sometimes that doesn't need the instllation CD.

Samuel Ntekim
October 15, 2004 2:46 AM

I recently restured my computer to the original factory and as a result lost my microsoft word.

Someone has taken my word installation cd but I do have my Product key no.

What do I do to install microsoft word?

Leo
October 15, 2004 8:56 AM

Borrow an installation CD from someone for the same version you had, and use your product key when you install.

Jessica
May 6, 2005 9:45 AM

Yada, yada, yada! Okay, I'm not "tech literate". I searched and found the I386 file, but don't know what to do with it.

The "Tech Guy" at my former job (also a FORMER employee) upgraded my computer. I hounded him for the XP installation CD but he never gave it to me. There is no "contact" (phone/address, etc.) on him.

I don't have other tech friends, nor, do I, believe it or not, know anyone with a computer, let alone WinXP (not everyone has joined the computer generation!) they use the computer at work.

I need the CD to to install my printer/fax machine.

My thoughts: Go to ADD/REMOVE and remove winxp from my computer; and PURCHASE a copy of Winxp and install it; or call BestBuy or CompUSA, GeekSquad, etc, and have them "fix" my problems.

What is my best option?

Thanks.

Leo
May 8, 2005 3:36 PM

If you found the I386 directory (not a file, but a directory full of other files) then to install your software just enter the location of that directory (for example, c:\i386) when you're prompted for the installation CD-ROM.

Rasiq
December 25, 2005 10:03 PM

I have multiple windows XP OEM CD's when i got HP desktops. I kept all the CD's together, the problem know is one of the PC's OS is Corrupt and i want to install it again but i am not sure which CD belongs to paticular workstation the CD-key is on the desktop itself. I just want to know how can i find a CD-KEY under windows XP i386 directory in the CD.

Please help.

Reagards
Rasiq.

Leo
December 26, 2005 7:39 PM

Actually the CD key isn't stored on the CD: http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_find_the_windows_cd_key_from_the_cd.html

Chances are any of the CDs will do.

Romeyrome
March 26, 2006 10:41 AM

A friend of mine inherited a virus on her computer. She has an Emachine T184. She's also lost her installation CD. I'm trying to perform a clean windows xp installation by using the cd I received from the purchase of my dell computer. When I use it, I get the error message: ".SIF file missing or corrupted. Value 0 ....

I've also tried using another Windows XP Home Edition installation disk, but I get this on the Windows XP Home Edition Setup screen: Setup could not read the CD you inserted, or the CD is not a valid Windows CD. Please insert you Windows NT 3.51 Workstation, etc., etc. Please help me? Thanks!

Curtis
February 22, 2007 3:14 AM

I can't get on my computer at all. My gateway won't let me past the windows activation screen and I don't have the cd or activation id. I need to know how to download this information to my pc somehow and transfer it to another pc.

harry
March 4, 2007 3:04 AM

my friend asked me to fix his kids computer hmm simple virus no...well it had the blue screen and no installation cd it has a serial on the side for windows xp home edition and 256 ram. Ever try to download an xp installation cd impossible 24 hours later mininova no, ares no, help!! When i swapped hard drives for an old 98 i have the drivers would not recognise the ethernet card so I cant get onto internet that way. After one full day by now i will pay for another upgrade !!!!!

harry
March 4, 2007 3:10 AM

I have a pc that needs a fresh installation cd.
Has anyone any recommendations for where do we get them?
Any links etc would be appreciated.
Also some knowledge on Iso image file as i believe in order to make it bootable it must be an iso?

lookingATlinuxCosWindowsIsAscam
April 13, 2007 2:35 AM

See this is all fine and well unless your replacing the motherboard and memory.YES replacing the memory not adding some.The recovery cd/dvd you make, when your factory made scam machine with OEM windows tells you to, when you turn it on, is not a windows installation cd/dvd.It only installs based on the factory registered memory, if your memory is changed then you need to borrow someone elses full version cd with there key, to install, then change it back to your key.
With a most likely illegal however totally nessacary program, before getting updates or you wont get em.Why should we buy windows again?We paid for it with our pc, if we decide to upgrade the memory then we have to pay off more of bill gates yacht?I dont think so.....

Alex
April 25, 2007 9:05 AM

Hi.I have a home pc and a laptop.I done a stupid thing when i was restoring my laptop and pulled the battery off as the restore was taking to long and now i keep getting a message saying "STOP: (unable to locate commane)
This application has failed to start because winsrv was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem".what does that mean and both computers came with windows xp installed on them so what am i too do?????Please help me as i need my laptop for tafe and it has all my disabled daughters information time tables on my laptop as we use it for the pediatrician visits and speech therapy.

mersault
June 6, 2007 2:29 AM

My problem: I deleted the content of folder c:\windows\driver cache\i386 and now (after some time) I accidentaly uninstalled my printer. Now I installed printer back (from my original CD) and the instalation process went without problems. But when I print a document, the printer doesn't print it. I managed to print test page directly from printer, but not from my PC.

Could this problem be connected with my deleting of i386 folder? How to fix it (I don't have the XP CD)?

wayne
December 31, 2007 10:11 PM

I have a satelite Laptop (L15 S104)and windows xp home edition was preinstalled on it. My computer crashed and states the following; Windows could not start because of an error in the software. Please report this problem as: load needed DLLs for kernel. Please contact your support person to reprort this problem.

Can you please tell me how to resolve this problem without a cd rom?

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Steffanie
September 28, 2008 4:09 PM

I have an old computer that broke one day,i got an Windows Vista,but i want my XP back,i need to reinstallation Windows Xp on the old computer,but i don't have an CD..and i don't have the file backed up anywhere,so i Do need an Cd..here is my question,Where do i get one? i don't have an "friend" to get one from,i looked around on the web and i see some for $100.00 or $50.00 but i'm not sure if that is the right price..do they really cost that much? and were is the best place to get on? Thank you

Betty C
October 22, 2008 9:53 AM

Hi, I need to know if any one can tell me is A Gateway ATX Tower BRO Essential 566c can handle Windows xp, Mine has Windows 98 right now the system has never been upgraded, I would like to put Windows xp on it but do not know how to do it or where i could find the hardware to upgrade it, ANy advice??

nedim
December 19, 2008 7:34 AM

I reinstalled my Windows XP and i don't have sound. I can't install drivers of my soun card. Why? Thx

ira
March 11, 2009 11:20 PM

I can't get on my computer at all. My gateway won't let me past the windows activation screen and I don't have the cd or activation id. I need to know how to download this information to my pc somehow and transfer it to another pc.

Carl
April 26, 2009 11:29 PM

i have connected my flash disk, and my computer detected it, but i can't have any access to it, even in MY COMPUTER, there's no, removable disk inserted, and i looked in the address bar, but there's nothing in there. it always happen in any of my flash disk, please help me with this.. thanks a lot..

Mack
January 14, 2010 4:41 PM

I've got a bit of a situation here. After an update from microsoft my HP windows xp media center refuse to start anymore, I can see the window with xp logo and am able to run the "restore system" at the startup ( I have run this several times and it seems to work) but the computer keep restarting. Research has showed I could try to reinstall windows but, I lost access to both digital drives.(cd and dvd drives)long ago with the update to service pack 3. Since I can enter the bios through f1, I see them present there but the won't work at all. This eliminates for me the possibility of starting the computer from the cd with a boot cd or even with the reimage service boot cd. I connected a cd rom from other computer and it runs but the never shows anything on the screen. What are my options?

Kathy
May 11, 2010 5:02 AM

On my computer when I reboot it,a error comes up. It says That the isass.exe was not located and the LSASRV.dll was not found."What can I do to fix this problem,please help me.thank you

DON
October 7, 2010 9:32 AM

On my Dell Computer, I am trying to enable the fax services. I clicked the box under fax services then it prompts me to insert windows xp cd. I am not sure if that meant the operating system cd.Thanks

It means your original Windows XP installation CD.
Leo
09-Oct-2010

spanish
June 29, 2011 6:37 AM

hi i have the same problem when i start the computer after it has been clean because i dont have sound a windows comes saying something abaut the hardware and i need a cd in order to get saund

strini
October 13, 2011 9:14 AM

Hi i have a 1 windows xp disc i deleted the old xp that was installed on the pc i only have 1 disc and i lost my product code when i turn on the pc comes up to the F1 set up menu and then the main mEnu when disc is inserted it requires a code which i dont have how do i unistall this program do i require another windows xp disc pls help

Mark J
October 13, 2011 12:56 PM

@Strini
It seems like your XP disc isn't the problem. Windows requires the product key for installation.

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