How to download a windows XP recovery disk

Updated February 21, 2017

If you're running Windows XP and Windows crashes or becomes unusable, you may have to run a Windows XP recovery set-up disk to make your computer usable again. When purchased, many computers don't come with a Windows XP recovery set-up disk, but you can download one for free from Microsoft. The Windows XP recovery set-up disk holds the computer software and files that you need to assist you in rebuilding your operating system.

Place a formatted floppy disk in your floppy disk drive. You will need six formatted floppy disks. Visit Microsoft's Download Center and download the version of the set-up disk for your version of Windows (see links in Resources). Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition have their own recovery set-up disks and you must use the correct disk for your version of Windows. Click "Download" and then "Save." Find your floppy drive or optical media drive on the menu and click "OK." If Windows isn't functioning at all, you will have to perform these actions from a working PC.

Remove the last floppy disk when the Windows XP recovery disk download is complete and place it in the computer on which you need to use it.

Shut down your computer and then turn it back on. If your computer prompts you to boot from the disk, press Enter. If it doesn't, you'll have to go into your BIOS to set the computer to boot first from your disk drive. When your computer boots from disk it will automatically start running the Windows XP recovery set-up disk from which you can then set up Windows XP.


Consider whether it's necessary to download a Windows XP recovery disk. Microsoft, the manufacturer of the Windows XP recovery disk, insists that downloading such a disk is only necessary if you're installing a Windows XP full retail version, if your CD drive works, if you can't boot your computer from your CD-ROM drive or if you're able to start your computer from a floppy drive.

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