Reinstalling Windows XP Upgrade On An Old Computer

Subscriber Louis Zarowin wrote this week to ask for some guidance. Louis needs to reinstall Windows XP on an old computer that had been upgraded to Windows XP.

At a time like that, we always worry about whether we’ve found all the needed disks and files, so we can make sure that all our software and hardware works again.


I have a somewhat older computer I still use (Dell Optiplex GX-110) and I recently was told by "Dell Tech. Suport" who was on line screen sharing with me that I need to re-install the operating system on it all over again.

It originally had a "Windows 98 S. E. on it" then before I actually got it, it was upgraded somehow to "Windows XP Professional" but the problem with just going ahead and re-installing the "Windows XP Professional" all over again is that the "Drivers/Drives" aren’t directly there, so I was advised that if I can re-install the "Windows 98 S. E. again" then "Upgrade to Windows XP Professional" this would be fine as the "Drivers/Drives" for that older operating system can simply be downloaded from the "Dell Website" as they still have them for that older operating system, but they don’t have them for "XP Professional" from what they told me already.

Microsoft will be sending me the "Disc to Upgrade to XP Professional" shortly but I need the "Windows 98 S. E. Original Disc" and that may be difficult to find right now.

Do you have any further information and/or possible suggestions that can help me?

I trust that you will reply to me about this issue when you have a chance and thanks for the assistance in this.

Yours Very Truly,

Louis R. Zarowin

I wrote back to Louis to suggest that he try to get a replacement Windows 98 SE cdrom from Dell. That’s his best bet if he can’t find his original Windows 98 SE cdrom…

Whether you have to install Win98 before installing WinXP or not (and with a standard Windows XP Upgrade CDROM, you don’t have to install Windows 98 first), the WinXP Upgrade cd will require that you either have Windows already installed or have the CDROM.

Unfortunately, if you choose a fresh install, the first thing that happens is that the Windows XP installation will delete the existing partitiion – so it won’t be able to find the existing Windows installation. In that case, you must have the CDROM for an OS that qualified for the upgrade.

I also agreed with Louis that a Win98 SE original CDROM will be difficult to find, unless you can locate your own. Dell, except for a short time, included an OEM copy of the WIndows CDROM.

Even if he located some other OEM Windows 98SE installation CD, he could have the problem that OEM cd’s from manufacturers like Dell and Gateway were "locked" to only work with their hardware — and possibly certain specific models of their hardware. He would need the type OEM cdrom that small PC shops used.

Louis wrote back to me for some more suggestions — read more in this week’s online Terry’s Computer Tips newsletter

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