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

Windows XP can probably be downloaded from illegal file sharing sites, but a) that's illegal and b) there's no product key. There's one alternative.

I have Windows 98 and want to upgrade to Windows XP, I have daemon tools and ultra iso but am trying to find a version of XP to download and mount. Please help if you can. My mom's computer and my sanity depends on it.

You can download Windows XP from somewhere, I'm fairly certain; you just can't do it legally.

And even if you did illegally download an image, you wouldn't have the thing you really need.

There's really only one solution.

Purchase a copy of Windows XP.

Microsoft has not made Windows XP available for download, and in any case it certainly isn't free. You must purchase a copy, which typically means getting it at your local or on-line retailer.

Yes, I'm certain that there are various places where you can illegally download a copy of Windows XP and probably many other software packages. But the key word there is "illegally". You would be stealing software almost exactly as if you walked into the retail store and walked out with a boxed product hidden under your coat.

That's what software piracy is all about.

Now there is at least one additional complication if you were to illegally download an image of a Windows XP installation CD. That image does not include the product activation code or "product key". The product key is printed on the box. The box that you didn't purchase. Even with an image, without a product key you won't be able to install Windows XP.

"... the right thing to do ... is to go out and purchase a copy of Windows XP."

Once again, I'm sure there are places where you can get a product key illegally. However each product key is supposed to be unique. If the key you get has been used by anyone else then it's possible, perhaps even likely, that it still won't work when you activate Windows. One of the whole points behind activation is to track which product keys have been used too many times or are known to be illegal and deny them.

Seriously, the right thing to do, the legal thing to do, and the most problem-free thing to do is to go out and purchase a copy of Windows XP.

And if that's something you can't afford, then perhaps looking into some of the free alternatives such as Linux might be a more appropriate - and legal - solution for you.

Article C3086 - July 15, 2007 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
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.

Not what you needed?

74 Comments
Murdia
July 21, 2007 2:59 AM

in India 80% of PC owners have pirated version of Window XP. Reason is obvious a middle income group person finds it difficult to dole out 200 to 300 dollers just for the soft ware. A pirated CD coast you just one or two dollars. And a pirated version except hurting your conscience it does all the routine functions. An original CD after it is burnt it can not be reused, if per chance there is an error in loading or a virus requiring to re-boot the PC you have to spend again Rupees ten to twelve thousnd. You may not agree but it is a big amount. So what the end useer does, he burns the CD and first make a copy of it on his flopy and keep on re using it. I do not think that even in USA a middle income group PC owner would like to dole out ten to twelve thousand dollars for an original XP. Microsoft is facing the problem of pirated CD's from China and other developing countries. So only solution is to seconds version of XP CD's which are being offerred in US markets too.

Debbie
July 21, 2007 8:19 AM

In regards to getting Windows XP:
You can go to MSN/Windows and request a CD, they will send it to you for FREE & at the same time you should also request a Windows sp2, because you will want to upgrade to sp2 eventually. But they are both free & legal. You have to download windows xp first, and the in a couple of days download sp2. I have requested the CD's to use if the worst happens. Really, they are happy to send you the CD's.

Ryan
July 28, 2007 11:49 AM

In his case, XP would be illegal to download since he has no key, but wouldn't it be legal if you had a key and had lost the disc? That way you are not actually stealing what the company values, the key. You are taking a copy of the disc.

Louis Brenner
July 28, 2007 3:12 PM

The only thing I liked about that response is the fact you said he should look into Linux, but other than that, I find it absolutely hysterical that you said 5 times that it would be illegal and never once told him that his PC is probably too old to even run XP. Or if it can, it would be so hard to use that he would be downgrading within a few days. Also, I HATE when people say that pirating is stealing. Yes it is illegal, but it is not theft. If I were to go in your home and steal your favorite piece of software, you would no longer have it, correct? Correct. If I ran in there, made a copy of it, and left you the original, would it be theft? No. I personally use Linux and would HIGHLY recommend PCLINUXOS 2007 - it runs fantastic on PCs that old and is, to my experience more user friendly than even Windows. Since we know you wonít be doing any gaming, it will fit all your needs. http://www.pclinuxos.com/ and a cd burning utility and you are well on your way.
I don't recommend pirating software, especially if there is a free alternative out there (which in many cases there is usually more than one) but it is NOT theft. It is copy right infringement - and considering most the price of XP pays for their legal and patent fees for their STOLEN code...I don't think they the little that they get.

Quilnux
July 29, 2007 6:30 AM

Debbie: I have contacted Microsoft about your question (also because I had a situation come up regarding the same) and per a Microsoft rep, if the Product key is not used or, is to be used on the same device it was originally used on you can use a copied version of the installation media (CD). They are only concerned with the license itself. They said if I wanted to make multiple copies of the installation media for my organization I could, I just cannot install it on any computers unless I have a product key for each.

jnhin: regardless of how you put it stealing is stealing. Whether you are stealing from a person from their house or stealing from a developing corporation (making a copy) stealing is stealing since you didn't pay for a non-free product. if you really want to get down to details thats fine as long as you understand both scenerios are illegal thats all that matters.

Jesse
January 14, 2008 9:37 PM

OK
So i have a legitimate copy of windows installed on my PC, with a XP serial, but i lost the CD .It would be stealing, if i download a pirate copy, and use my legitimate serial? Really all your paying for is the serial, i should be able to get a copy of the software anytime, from any computer.Take Steam for instance.If i ever need a copy of counterstrike,i connect to steam and download it to my computer. Actually , i have it on 4 or 5 computer's, just cant use em at the same time.So i dont understand why it would be illegeal to download software, for which you own a copy of.

Paul
March 19, 2008 12:34 PM

Getting a legit copy of XP is nearly impossible now that Vista is in every retail outlet in the world.

Many people do not like Vista because of the compatability issues - Vista simply does not like most programs over 4 to 5 years old, and sometimes getting a patch from the program designer is impossible.

I was really wanting a copy of XP Pro and found it impossible to buy - Vista would have caused too many problems wi th the system I needed it for.

I found a way to get a legit copy, but it involved using a non legit copy.

I installed a non legit copy, updated with a Genuine Advantage tool from microsoft, when the warnings came up on my system that it was not a genuine product, there was a little star icon in the l/h tray and when I clicked on it I was able to get a propper key from Microsoft - thus giving me a legit copy of Win XP Pro.

This cost me, but it was worth it to be able to get XP Pro.

You might like to pass this on to everyone pulling their hair out with Vista.

Leo
May 10, 2008 10:53 AM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Please see this article - it includes the links:
http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_get_windows_xp_sp3_on_cd.html

Thanks,

Leo


-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFIJeEhCMEe9B/8oqERAszzAJ9gBoyhM2ryRwL0jVT3Z1AZugIl8gCeKiEn
JR9VZZVL02F0s8n7kfmVnZY=
=lRQd
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Henry
July 9, 2008 7:51 AM

They have everything in Vietnam: Windows XP, Vista, even Microsoft Office 2007. Only 50 cents for 1 CD with the product key.

Wolfgang Krunse
July 11, 2008 3:06 AM

what if windows xp is not available to be bought because microsoft has widtrawn it from sale. And what if Vista won't run the university designed software for data analysis and oncology disease models. What if the customer does not want to buy a massive supercharged computer but is tied to windosw software because of its previous market dominance. Go to some countries where they cell reasonably priced computers with xp installed but illegally by US standards, or abandon Oncological research, Class action sue microsoft for hindering life saving research. There are no easy answers al long as microsoft want to dictate what software the customer is allowed to buy. Better a health consumer and AIDS activist law suit against the company than that we give up research.

Duane
September 3, 2008 3:17 PM

Simply downloading a copy Windows XP is not the issue. The issue is, where did you get your product key? I think Microsoft should make it available to download because all you're getting is the install media. You still have to activate it and that's where the issue of legitimacy comes in. I would guess that most people looking to download Windows are looking to re-install legitimate copies.

Kevin
September 25, 2008 5:35 PM

I have a Compaq computer that came with WINDOWS xp on it. Compaq and Hewlitt Packard do not send the install disks to their own product, This is a cost saving strategy that works untill you want to upgrade your hard drive. I had a puny 40GB hard drive, so I wanted to get a bigger hard drive to set my old computer up as music server.
Compaq won't send me the setup disk, even after I said I AM GONNA BUY DELL NEXT TIME!!! They don't care to much about my money, so Blank Em'. The problem is, my old computer is out dated, but as a music server, it will do just fine with 2 gigs of memery, and a 500GB harddrive(these are maxxed out) Now noone said anything about links to get a copy. The Computer came with Windows xp Home Edition, I have the Product Key, So lets have some
links people, If Microsoft won't help me out I will go get linux and work on my own patches to make Rapsody work with it!!!

my name
October 28, 2008 9:18 AM

Seriously, the right thing to do, the legal thing to do, and the most problem-free thing to do is not to use Windows.

Jason
November 2, 2008 6:09 PM

What if someone was dumb and partitioned their hard drive, thus destroying the restore partition? I had a legitimate version of Windows XP and I have the activation key pasted on the side of the computer. Where can I download the software to activate with my legitimate license?

You'll have to contact the manufacturer of your computer.
- Leo
03-Nov-2008

ruppert
November 16, 2008 7:25 PM

ok wise guy, answer me this i have a product key and it came with my computer which i paid for and windows xp was installed in this computer which I PAID FOR. and now the crappy windows OS does not fuction. you are telling me that i have to pay for the same product twice? mind you i didnt get the copy of windows os cd with my compy. but i do have my key. all i need is the stupid download of the cd. I can burn my own.

Wise guy? Hey, I don't make the rules. You need to contact the place you got your computer from. To the best of my knowledge that's the only way to get a legal copy of the OS that should have come with your computer in the first place without paying for a new copy. And that's why I keep harping on people to insist on getting an install CD when they get a new computer.
- Leo
17-Nov-2008

Libbie
November 17, 2008 2:09 PM

You can buy a copy of Windows XP at most Staples stores for $99.

Ben Lee
November 23, 2008 1:28 AM

I have two working computers and one dead one.One of my computers came with Windows Vista and the other 2 came with Windows XP Home Edition(Only one of them has a revoery disc).Im wanting to downgrade the Vista to XP,my question is,would I be able to downgrade to XP using the disc from my working PC and then use the COA or Product key of the dead PC to activate Windows?...Would this work?..The dead PC is a desktop same as the other PC but the Vista is a Laptop.

Nothing wrong with transfering the installation - meaning using the product key - of Windows XP from your dead PC to the Vista machine. However you will need an installation CD, not a recovery CD. And depending on the installation CD, it may not accept the product key you have.
- Leo
23-Nov-2008

Ben Lee
November 23, 2008 2:07 AM

PS..Continued from above...Would it matter if the Operating Systems were different "SP" versions?...I think the dead computer was Windows XP SP1 and the one with the recovery disc is SP2.Thanks...

Ben Lee
November 24, 2008 4:37 PM

Hi..me again,I was wondering if you've tried the free program "Xp-ISO builder",apparently you can convert a recovery disc into a full installation disc.Have you any experience with this or know of anyone who has succesfully used this program?...Thanks for your reply!

John
November 29, 2008 6:09 AM

Hi, Leo, you're *slightly* wrong on a couple of details.

First: on the 23rd, you told someone that there's nothing wrong with transferring a purchased XP Home license from one machine to another. This is actually *wrong*, if the copy of XP came with the machine. OEM licenses allow installation only on the computer they were purchased for - and you can tell you have an OEM license by the sticker. If you have a license sticker? That's an OEM license, and you CANNOT transfer it to another machine.

If it's a retail license, you'll have a separate folder with the license key *there*. Those are legal to move from one machine to another, but also cost more than twice as much.

Second: there is nothing illegal about distributing the windows disk itself. Since all Microsoft-created Windows XP disks of a given flavour (Home/Pro, OEM/Retail/Volume) are identical, it doesn't matter where you get the CD as long as you have your own personal legitimate key. Even better, even "Branded" XP disks like Dell's are just normal disks with a different loader - so, even if you don't have the Dell disk that came with your Dell computer, you can still use a normal Microsoft disk, and the only difference will be that you won't have some of your drivers. You'll have to install them manually from the internet.

But yeah. You're wrong about the legality of moving a copy from one machine to another, and you're wrong about the legality of redistribution of the media itself, as long as you're not modifying the disk, bypassing the protection, or distributing the keys.

Barry
January 11, 2009 6:29 PM

@JC WATTS google wga activator and download and patch yur OS i did and my copy of XP pro is genuine now lol i have like 7 types of pro 4 vistas and windows 7 beta cracked all downloaded, i guess im good for a while

stef
February 13, 2009 8:45 PM

okay, so the disc drive on my computer is broken or disabled or something. i bought it seconed hand . i cant install software from a disc so how do i update my computer to window xp. i have windows ME abd cant do jack with it.

Cameron
March 4, 2009 4:13 AM

Hi Leo, I did read the above and I may be foolish for thinking my situation is different somehow..all this gives me a brain-ache I really don't deserve.
I bought a 2nd-hand Compaq presario w/ XP pro on it (it has the product sticker proving it's a licensed, not pirated version)~ I don't know the original place of purchase ~ the PC itself is in bad shape and I've been building a new tower (just needs the new hard drive connected) ..I'm disabled on a fixed income,It's taken forever to just get up and running online ..so I cannot just prove/verify to Microsoft that I bought (not pirated) their OS from the product sticker serial code # and re-burn a new installation disc ? I understand needing to pay for upgrades to VISTA, but if you already paid for the current version ..why is this hard ?? (There MAY have BEEN discs with the computer originally ~ I don't know ~ but it seems ridiculous that if I can show 'authentication'of ownership I should have to re-purchase XP pro ..a small replacement fee for the new discs (or download) *with product code of course ! seems fair and reasonable enough to me ..all I wanted was to get/burn a replacement disc so I would have it for emergency purposes and to hopefully just re-install the OS I've already paid for onto this newer,better tower I've stuggled so hard to build ...Is there no hope for my plight? I'm no techie ..just where would I look for this 'magical' file which might contain the 'retail license' (does it have a common name I can do a file search for?) Please Leo, If you can spare a minute I'd be greatful !!

Michelle
March 6, 2009 7:52 PM

Hi Leo,
A week ago, my brother told me to install Vista Black Edition on my Mac computer. The mac computer came with both Windows XP and well, Apple. It is a MacBook laptop. I had commented on his computer, which he installed Vista on, because it looked more 'stylish' and easier to use. He gave me the download link and I downloaded it. It took about 2-3 hours, and when I went onto it, it said something along the lines of "Warning : Jack 80 could not be registered" or something. I didn't pay attention to it, and I realised later that it meant the AUDIO. I don't have any sound at all and my headphone jack is glowing red. I searched it up on google about how to fix this -I tried flipping the switch inside the jack with a toothpick- , but it didn't work. It is very inconvient without sound because I was working on a project on Sony Vegas and I am unable to continue due to this problem. I checked to see if the Apple version of my computer had sound, and it did. Which means the problem is Vista, not my audio jack. I want to switch back to Windows XP, but, like you said, it is illegal... Advice, please?

elphie
March 7, 2009 4:59 AM

Hi Leo! I just wanted to say thank you. I just got my new iPod Touch and it said I needed to have Windows XP sp2, Windows Vista or later. So I thought it might be easy to just go download it. But then I asked myself something. 'Is it even legal?' So thank you for helping me not get into legal trouble at the age of 11. Yeah, Im 11, lol.

Sal
March 9, 2009 4:09 PM

I have windows 98 on my computer. Can XP be installed and replace 98? (I cannot afford a new computer right now.) If so, how much would the software cost?

I am also having trouble with my CD drive. It will open 2007 software for my digital camera. Would the drive: Allow me to install XP & reinstall my AOL software?

Carl
March 13, 2009 7:54 AM

Leo, I purchase a pc with Windows XP home new, then I went online and purchase two Windows PX Professional upgrade new in the box and had ship to me. I had problems installing, anyway this went for some time.Come to fine out my disks are bad.I try contact the dealer, no longer there,I contact Micrsoft,they make me give them all these little bitty numbers all over the disks,Then said YES there real but your screw.You have to go to your dealer and get them .I explain this is your dealer and he is out of business.Please help Carl

Charles
March 15, 2009 7:08 AM

my XP displays that its not my genuine XP and now i have a original Key how to re-register with out reinstalling the windows

Burpus Meow
March 17, 2009 11:18 AM

This thread reaises a number of questions. Acquiring a working copy of XP without paying the richest man in the whole world still more money is technically illegal; but then we all know that the lawmakers in Congress are a bunch of bagmen and if you pay them enough money [ooops, sorry, "campaign contributions"] you can practically write your own law and have it passed. That's how Hollywood, the MPAA, does it. Illegality aside, let's turn to ethics. Microsoft is hardly an ethical company, it is, in fact, a convicted monopolist, with a history of trying to destroy any competition. If it was a proper software company it wouldn't be yanking XP off the market arbitrarily, determined to bully the whole world into buying Vista and soon, Windows 7. It should keep XP available permanently for those who like and want it; ought to be available off-the-shelf at Newegg, Walmart, or other stores for about $50. And at this point they could charge for a service pack 3 or 4... and many would buy it. XP is a "legacy" operating system very stable and proven, and it's going to be around for at least 20 years. But, since this rich and greedy monopolist does only what it thinks is good for it and doesn't care about anybody else; as far as I'm concerned it doesn't deserve any consideration. I make the decisions on what sw is used on 500+ computers, and there will be nothing past XP unless the work a particular person does requires sw that has to have Vista to run. For most office grunt work, the free Open Office is all anyone needs, and that's on 400+ computers now.

Thanks for reading.

Andrew
March 23, 2009 6:12 PM

Download Azureus this would be the way to find a copy . Also remember that windows XP/Vista can be activated on another pc after 120 days.

Tien Nguyen
March 25, 2009 7:01 AM

I am a firm believer in buying what is valuable to you! It is a small price to pay for such a useful product.

kevin
April 3, 2009 8:09 AM

Hi Leo, I bought windows XP and lost power at home when power came up and rebooted windows XP was not on my desktop and my product key number is not takeing. Microsoft will not issue a new product key since ii was a 3rd party softwear, is there anyway to correct the issue!

Scott
June 11, 2009 7:59 AM

Stupid. Of course downloading illegally is morally wrong and abstract, but most people here will be traffic from search engines, searching "how can i download..." etc. Only to come here and find you telling them to go buy it. Legally, yes, good answer. Realistically, no. Everyone knows how to buy a product, you don't need to tell us the intricacies of purchasing items. Cheers, Leo.

Oliver
July 25, 2009 11:32 AM

I have a Thinkpad notebook. It came with XP Home installed but no installation CD because of the Access IBM. That hidden partition has long ago been deleted and I don't have XP boot CD to install it.
Instead of XP HOME(for which I have license key) I am using XP Pro illegally. I would like to download XP Home and use it instead of XP Pro but there aren't any available.

marcus
September 18, 2009 8:08 PM

Many people such as myself already bought xp when it first came out and if you think 50 dollars is bad now it was 300then. Cds do not last forever and it is NOT illegal to download if you already bought it and have your own key. Its like downloading a nes emulator not illeagle to download if ALREADY OWN IT. Go out and buying it is a stupid answer for many people such as myself. Thank god for torrents and smart people. Go out and waste your money if you want but I refuse.

Unless you're making up your own laws, yes - even downloading it is illegal, whether or not you have a license key. Whether or not you'd be prosecuted for what's clearly a "good faith" effort on your part to restore something you already own is up for grabs, but don't let that fool you: downloading the image is illegal.
Leo
19-Sep-2009

muhammad
September 24, 2009 4:35 PM

download the newest version of windows xp 30 days .after 30 days windows xp is expired. please makes clarify the place for down load windows xp 30 days

Dubby
October 19, 2009 12:07 AM

My father purchased XP professional quite some time ago, my problem is - he purchased an upgrade. He no longer has the earlier OS discs that this xp disc needs to install. My computer has suffered a serious setback from an infinite reboot loop (bad SPTD.sys) error that forced me to attempt to reinstall windows via that upgrade disc. This fixed the infinite reboot loop, but I am now *U*N*A*B*L*E* to install ANY of the XP service packs, let alone run windows update OR internet explorer. I'm a student in college, and I NEED a working computer or I will fail my classes. I've already spent 60$ on fancy PC/Windows repair type programs, to no avail. No stores sell XP anymore, windows 7 is coming out in a few days, and I refuse to touch vista with even a 10 foot pole. I'm left with a few options.

1) Wait for windows 7 and spend 350$~
2) Download an illegal copy of Windows XP and use my legal serial number to repair this installation
3) Purchase Vista _now_ for several hundred
4) Buy a legal copy of windows XP via amazon/ebay/etc. and hope it arrives quickly

Either way, I am going to fall behind in my classes because of this issue. What would *you* do, Leo?

johnno
October 20, 2009 12:04 AM

Leo, I admire your honesty and principles,it's a shame the companies you are defending don't apply the same.

mike
November 1, 2009 9:34 AM

IT is NOT illegal to download any copy of software full stop what is illegal is using a fake key that in the end is what you pay for the key to activate it hence all the 30/60/90 day evaluations then you can purchase online a key to permanently activate it all software companies usually do this I use allot of Autodesk software you can download all there software which runs in to the thousands of pounds for a free 30 day trail direct from there site its not piracy! and again I have a similar problem I have a laptop with a genuine key but the partition where the back up was kept became corrupt all Iím after is a downloadable copy then I will activate it with the key on my laptop more than likely it will ask me to contact Microsoft because it has already been activated which i have done before on other instillations and all will be sorted! Why should I have to fork out for something I already paid for???

Microsoft
November 13, 2009 4:02 AM

XP can be downloaded freely, each CD image or Physical CD is identical, what Microsoft ask of you to pay is the License Key. In downloading the software you are doing nothing illegal, if however you are using another key (i.e sharing) it is. Though this is quite tricky, unless you wish not to ever use the internet on it, from my understanding. This however could change as hackers beat Microsoft.
The above comment is very true.

P.s Leo please correct your false information on downloading is illegal!!!!!!!!!!

I stand by it. The contents of the media are copyright by Microsoft and I do believe illegal to copy / download. Yes, you're right in that it's kinda pointless without product keys, which are most certainly illegal to copy, crack or give out. But that doesn't somehow legalize the download of the media itself. Personally I think it would be in Microsoft's best interest for formally support, allow and provide downloads of the product, but it's their choice not to.
Leo
13-Nov-2009

Kim
November 14, 2009 11:41 AM

I have Vista and I hate it, I want to go back to my XP, but the key I have is a 2004 version, how can I load it after I already have Vista

David W. Binko
November 15, 2009 7:50 PM

I'm no expert on copyright law so it never occurred to me there would be no LEGAL WINXP O.S.
downloads. Saved me wasted effort and needless hassles. Now it's just a matter of finding the best price on legal O.S. software. That's another issue.

Neal
November 21, 2009 6:29 AM

Here is my issue. I bought a Dell desktop a few years ago which came installed with Windows XP Home. After a year or so, my motherboard went out, and a friend of mine rebuilt the machine. However, its not a Dell anymore, just a regular no-name computer. So, my Dell Windows XP Home CD that came with the original computer, obviously won't work anymore.
I didn't know what else to do, and didn't want to fork out a bunch for another CD, so I borrowed my girlfriend's Windows XP Media Center CD, installed it, and was given the 30 days to activate. Well, I have to keep reinstalling it every 30 days.
I moved, and the computer was in storage for a few weeks. Now, when I turn on the computer, it goes right into "Do You Want to Activate Windows Now?" Well, I don't have a CD, and I can't even get past being asked this question, to do anything else.
I have Googled a lot, and have seen ways to get into Windows without a Product Key, but those talk about clicking on START, RUN, etc., but I can't even get to the desktop, so I don't see how this can be done.
I have called Microsoft, but I always end up getting pissed off at them, because their tech people are so clueless and pathetic. Both of my copies of XP were legal copies. I am so desperate, I don't give a damn if I download it illegally. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

Pookey
November 24, 2009 4:38 PM

The downloading of Windows XP was tested in an Australian Court earlier this year. The defendants were making hundreds of copies of the XP disc's and distributing them without profit. Microsoft claimed that it was a breach of copyright, but the judge ruled that as they were making no money out of the exercise and were only distributing discs and not product keys, that it was perfectly legal to do. The judge ruled in favour of the defendants on the same grounds that others have listed: What you purchase is the product key and you cannot be restricted from downloading/copying the disc. The judge slammed Microsoft for hypocrisy as well saying that the fact that ISO's of XP, Vista and 7 are available through MSDN and Technet to anyone who pays means that Microsoft are responsible for the downloading of their OS and are doing nothing to prevent its spread through downloads.

Ron Barker
November 25, 2009 8:46 AM

Well it would be unlawful to copy Windows XP in England or Wales. See:

http://www.wikicrimeline.co.uk/index.php?title=Copyright%2C_etc._and_Trade_Marks_%28Offences_and_Enforcement%29_Act_2002

Charles Tilley
November 25, 2009 7:57 PM

Kim, if your system is a Dell, and you have the reinstall disc (the green labeled one), you're in luck, as long as you have the original COA attached to your system. You just press F12 prior to booting, and you're given the option to boot from CD, take that one, and the rest you'll see. If you have another brand, I don't know what to tell you.

Him
November 28, 2009 11:25 PM

So if I have a license for Windows XP Home and the CD is bad I am out of luck? I know I am not the only one in this position, could a class action lawsuit be created over something like this?

JP
December 9, 2009 4:04 PM

If you have honestly paid for a genuine copy of Windows, you hold a one-computer license to use the software. If you have paid for it, you can technically download it under any condition, as long as you install it on only one computer.

samual
December 27, 2009 9:36 AM

messed up my acer as5610z(came with vista home premium), after formatting left only C:
Now I intend to load in Window Xp, please advise me . highly appreciated. P/s a)Dont know what is the BIOS password either. b) no recovery disc since new.

babQ
December 30, 2009 6:07 PM


Hi

Got a pc second hand with a running windows XP professional 1985-2001 version am trying to upgrade to windows IE8 XP I keep getting the following message;

update\iesetup.exe is not a valid Win32 application

Need to upgrade for better protection please help

Jonathan
January 11, 2010 8:02 AM

While downloading XP from a torrent is illegal, it is not the same as stealing from a shop. It is, instead, more like using the photocopy machine in a library full of books which are, like software, copyrighted. This was recently recognised in Canada in a court ruling.

paul
January 15, 2010 2:34 AM

So what if like me you have purchased a computer that came PRELOADED with xp as 20 or so of our office computers did.
These computers date from 1 to 5 years old. Over time several have had drive failures and DELL are reluctant to send out replacement software for machines out of warranty.
We PAID for the software as an extra. The Licences are stuck ON the side of the machines. Its not our fault that drives fail and reinstallations need to be done.
Dell say use the drive restore available on bootup but when a HDD has to be replaced thats not an option.
Are you telling me its illegal to DOWNLOAD a copy of XP and use the licence key we PAID FOR to reinstall it on the new drive?
After all, according to microsoft we are PAYING for a LICENCE to use their software. If I have a LEGAL licence then Im entitled to use it regardless of how I obtained the software itself.
Surely?
Licence to USE the software.
Nowhere does it state 'Licence to only use the software on that particular disk' that I can find.
So ANY copy of XP (as long as it matches e.g. OEM version, Retail version etc.) should be licenced to be installed as long as its being used as per licence (on one machine for example).

My understanding of the licence agreement is that it should not be illegal to download a replacement installation CD copy. ONLY illegal to use it other than its intended purpose. (with a key crack or on multiple machines, say).

Or am I missing something in the licence agreement that says your licence only extends to the original copy on the CD (or HDD as in preinstalled machines)?

Would like to know as I fully intend to download a matching copy and use it within the terms of the original licences I PURCHASED if I cannot find a valid argument not to.
If i bought a LICENCE agreement to use their software I am going to use it. Regardless of how the software was obtained or installed I PAID FOR ITS USE.

thoni chan
January 21, 2010 9:54 AM

I bought emavhine from circuit city they don't come with cd installation two week latler it driver fail i go back to ask for they say download from website i go through all the emachine website there is nothing about restore cd download why would they sale stuff that not provide what they made i have to buy them from emachine cost me more then the computer i paid for. that is very suck . i don't need it now just want to tell you guy to fix your broplem

Nick
January 26, 2010 5:28 AM

You can download windows XP 9 in 1 XP3 fully at
http://www.megaupload.com/?f=F43G3PON
Download and burn to a blank disk, you can have either 9 current version of XP from home to professional SP3

Petey101
February 8, 2010 1:46 AM

Ok heres a good one. Been through all these comments and found nothing on this. I have am about start a business in computer repairs. I will be taking computers from people, and in some cases formating there hard drives. If I have burn't copies of all the different windows versions, can I then, in theory, use the product keys of there boxes if they want to use the same version of windows on that pc? By all this do you mean that if you do not have the original disks for windows and you get a computer from somewhere, you have to re-purchase a key for that box because you wont have the original disks??? If so I will have to be making people repurchase there operating systems, or even worse be asking them to provide me with all the disks that came with there computer? what kind of business plan is that? If you could give me some insight and perhaps a QUOTE from somewhere that says I can't do this, you could be saving me from being sued... haha

digitaljesus
February 10, 2010 9:10 PM

Petey101 -- In response to your inquiry, here is the answer that you seek, although it might not be what you've been expecting to hear.

It is a violation of the EULA agreements that you inevitably agree to during the installation of Windows. For example, you mentioned taking people's computers & formatting their hard drives. If what they are asking you to do does NOT require an upgrade of any kind -- then simply using their product key (usually tagged on the bottom or side of the machine) would not be a violation of the EULA. However, if what you are implying is that you'll be collecting computers for purchase & resale, formatting the disks, using burnt/downloaded installations and other people's product ID's that have been stuck on the sides of their old machines......then my answer would hold true.

As I work in an IT-related field, I can tell you that your answer is incredibly simple. Your version of windows matters less on the physical title, and more on your product key. If you'll be installing this software multiple times, you'd be better served calling Microsoft & purchasing a Corporate/Unlimited key. Basically? You're telling them that you sell computers, and that you need to be able to install this software as many times as required for maintenance purposes. Problem solved :)

Through the MSDN program it would've run me about $50. That was when I was a student. ;) Hope that helped.

Richard Foreman
March 6, 2010 8:18 AM

To Paul with the dell computers, to start off with, if the computers came preloaded and have a restore partition then you should hve made backups of everything (including the restore partitions) if it didnt come with a restore partition Id of still made an image of the drive before using it.

Next, those product keys pasted on the side of the computer wont work with just any old windows disk (even of the same version such as windows xp pro), quite a few times you have to reinstall with a disk from the same oem vendor that printed that key. (I know you cant use a microsoft supplied disk with a dell supplied key).

Personally, Ive had no problem with dell, I work on them all the time for people (that statement isnt intended to make dell sound bad, I actualy like em) and as for the restore disks, they have sent me (free of charge) a half dozen or so restore disks for various computers of theirs, including computers that havent been warrantied in quite some time.

pearl
March 9, 2010 3:18 PM

how do i do a system recovery on a dell desktop...i read the instructions , to hold the ctrl button then press the f11 release both same time, but it is not doing anything ...

Andre
June 25, 2010 12:52 PM

need new cd windows xp help me pleas

Thomas
July 24, 2010 8:34 PM

I had just reformatted my hard drive which is not the original drive that came with my dell. This is the second time I've done this using the windows xp disc that came with my computer. The first time I had no trouble with the product key, but now I try to use it and it won't work. Any ideas as to why this is?

kgb
September 9, 2010 3:51 AM

I had purchased HCL a branded computer along with licenced windows xp. During the course of time my OS many a time corrupted and could recover with the Recovery CDs provided by HCL. But I observed in recent times that CD is not able to recover not it installing the Windows XP on my computer though I have the product key with me. What must be the reason? As I have purchased a licenced software I am unable to restore the same? Please help me in installing my windows XP without recurring my expenses.

tobias
October 18, 2010 12:34 AM

for kjell if you turn on your computer and while windows is booting up hold the power button it will turn off and if you turn it back on it might say something like windows had an error or something anyway it will let you choose between run normally run in safe mode run in safe mode with networking or run in safe mode with command prompt choose run in safe mode with command prompt and it should let you log in then with the command prompt type in explorer and press ester and you should have the start button and a desktop then use another computer to download a windows update and put it on a flash drive install it on your computer and restart and vol-la you don't need a reg key all you have to do is say im a genius haha jk

tobias
October 18, 2010 12:35 AM

i mean for tommas

Lorri ann
October 20, 2010 9:58 AM

I installed a new hard drive on my puter, I do not have windows disk as I believe myine was pre loaded or the disk was lost, however, I do have my product key

Sasha
November 10, 2010 5:30 AM

Sorry, but this article is stupid. There are about 10 billion windows XP keys floating around out there. Just find any dead PC that has the sticker on it. That license is not longer being used, and it fair game.

The reason people find this article on search engines, most likely, is because their XP was destroyed by viruses or due to hard drive failure, they need to reinstall their legally purchased and paid for copy, but M$ doesn't provide any .isos even if you can demonstrate a valid key.

Fail.

Rick S
January 11, 2011 11:19 PM

First thing I must tell you is that I DO NOT know what I'm doing but in some areas I found some handy things to know.

I have about 30 old hard drives and some of them have XP on them. I looked into them and found the product key or got it off the tag on the old computer. I moved the systems onto bigger HDDs and put them into newer comps. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. So it's worth paying 10 bucks at a flea market for and old comp. You don't lose much.

The other thing I do is install Linux, there are many different Linux OS out there and some are better than others. Just go on Google and burn it on a disc. It's free. Take care of the disc because they use a different lingo for the same thing and reinstalling is easier than fixing what you screwed up. And you will.

Try to have as much ram as possible, 1 gig is nice. I just found a nice OS two days ago and it seems to do everything well. PCLinuxOS is what it's called it comes with a Firewall and you don't need anti virus. Click on things till you find Firefox then make google your home page or leave it or whatever and your away.
It will do everything XP will but you need a case of Prozak before you find out how to use it. Lots of friendly support on the net. Most geeks are friendly and willing to help so have one check your comp out first. It may save you a lot of problems. Some of those guys have magic. lol. Try to save your XP first don't give up to soon. You won't like Linux. It took me a year. Hope this is helpfull to some of you folks with no money.

Rick S
January 12, 2011 4:10 AM

Couple things I forgot to mention in my last comment. To the folks that are lacking money and your XP comp broke down. If you have an older comp laying around with a very small HDD Linux have some very small operating systems that work okay for getting your emails and such. At least you won't be completely without communications.

I have installed ( PCLinuxOS 2010 ) in a computer and it works good as a replacement for XP once you learn how to run it. Read my previous post for pitfalls.
When the dollars are there check out winows 7 before buying the older XP. My friends like it and even though I'm not an expert I can break into an XP computer in about a minute but I had a hard time of it with Windows 7. Much more secure. Please remember that I'm learning and you should run my info by an expert before acting on it.

user
September 28, 2011 6:15 PM

Posted by: Sasha at November 10, 2010 5:30AM
"The reason people find this article on search engines, most likely, is because their XP was destroyed by viruses or due to hard drive failure, they need to reinstall their legally purchased and paid for copy" That's my case.

I do understand that. Nonetheless (and unfortunately) downloading Windows XP for free remains illegal, even if you previously owned a copy. As I understand it that's the nature of the law (though I'm no lawyer) and Microsoft's distribution decisions. That's why recovery discs and original installation media are so important to have and to keep.
Leo
30-Sep-2011

Mickael
September 29, 2011 6:36 PM

The download of an operating system is not actually illegal - the cracking of the installation and activating it illegally is, of course, illegal. Another thing I want to add is that; if you do find a copy of windows XP and/or download a copy, try to make sure it is an OEM version, as OEM versions of XP can be installed without a Prod. key...the down side is that it will keep bugging you and asking for a key (it gives you like a 30 days trial - after that, you won't be able to receive updates etc...)

Mark J
September 30, 2011 1:25 AM

@Mickael
There are no legitimate sources for downloading Windows XP. Microsoft has never made downloading XP legal, therefore, it is illegal and a violation of their terms of service. Many people feel this is unfair, especially if they have a license key and have lost the original copy, but fairness and legality are two completely different issues. As for OEM versions, there's always the risk it won't be compatible with another machine than the one it was intended for.

alisha brown
October 14, 2011 6:55 AM

anyone i have an ibm laptop older one i need to install windows xp on it i understand the product key if i do download it off the internet i also understand try on oem version of xp and that it is a possibility that it might not work with my laptop. i read that u dont do passwords but the screen is locked and i cannot remember the password is there a way of retrieving it or is there a backdoor i could use to get in so i can fix the password.Also if i do download xp off the internet do i use a rewritable dvd or cd to burn it to? thank you so much any answer i can get to any of my questions. Alisha Brown

This article shows how to reset that administrator password on any Windows machine you have access to: I've lost the password to my Windows Administrator account, how do I get it back?

Leo
14-Oct-2011
romeo
January 12, 2012 9:31 AM

I had windows xp professional with keys, which i had bought before. But now the CD had got broken. how can i download from microsoft to get the CD.

Connie
January 12, 2012 12:16 PM

@Romeo
Here's another article on Ask Leo! about what to do if you have a legal install but no CD:
I don't have installation media for windows, what if I need it?

Anthony
January 12, 2012 5:45 PM

ive downloaded windows xp media edition and got it to install without a pro. key,

first off, why.

because my parents pc got a very very bad virus, i couldnt right click on anything, a program was shutting down and disabling alot of stuff, the only way i could copy and past it to a drive on a network or on a flash drive was "ctrl c" and "ctrl v", took me several hours to do all that it was over 10 gigs of coping,

2nd off
we did not recieve any disk for a Dell Demension e510 and didnt no way back when that we were so post create one our selves.

they had to use my pc wich was slower than shit half the time. 1ghz with a gig and a 1/2.

took me 2 days up to a week to find online with the same windows version and i actually got it, without using or asking a product key.

my parrets had a windows xp home media center

and thats what i gave them.

then several months later i gave them windows 7 ultimate for free with a good key i found online..

you could say half of it was ilegal but didnt know what to do. i was the one with the brains and getting around without paying anything...

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.