How to Download and Install Windows XP for Free
Windows XP is one of the most popular and nostalgic operating systems ever made by Microsoft. It was released in 2001 and discontinued in 2014, but many people still use it for various reasons. However, finding a copy of Windows XP is not easy, and neither is finding a compatible hardware to run it on. That’s why the best option is to install Windows XP on a virtual machine, so you can always keep it on hand.
In this article, we will show you how to download and install Windows XP for free using a virtual machine software called VirtualBox. VirtualBox allows you to create and run virtual machines on your computer, which can run different operating systems like Windows XP. This way, you can enjoy the old-school features and nostalgia of Windows XP without affecting your main system.
Step 1: Download Windows XP Mode Virtual Hard Disk
The first thing you need to do is to download a Windows XP Mode virtual hard disk file. This file contains the pre-installed version of Windows XP that you can use on your virtual machine. You can download it from this link[^1^]. When it completes, don’t install it yet!
Instead, browse to the executable file, then right-click and select 7-Zip > Open archive > cab from the context menu. This will open the file in 7-Zip, a free file archive tool that you can download from here. You will see three files inside the archive:
Open Sources to reveal another three files:
Double-click xpm. This is the XP Mode virtual hard drive folder. It should look the same as the image below:
These are the files you need to create the XP Mode virtual hard disk. Unfortunately, they are archive files and not executable files, meaning they are currently read-only. You need to extract these files to a new folder.
Select Extract from the toolbar, then press the ellipsis icon next to the address bar. Browse to where you’d like to extract the filesâyour C: drive is fineâand select Make New Folder. You can name your folder “Windows XP Mode” or anything else you like. When you’re ready, press OK, then OK again to start the extraction process. This can take a minute or two.
Head to the folder you created when the extraction process completes. You’ll see the same list of files. The difference is that you can now edit these files as you see fit.
Select the file named VirtualXPVHD. Press F2 to rename. Insert a period between the “P” and the “V,” and press Enter, now reading VirtualXP.VHD.
Step 2: Create a New Virtual Machine in VirtualBox
The next thing you need to do is to create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a free and open-source virtualization software that you can download from here. Install it on your computer and launch it.
On the VirtualBox main window, click on New. A new window will open, asking you to name your new virtual machine. You can name it “Windows XP” or anything else you like. Make sure that the Type is set to Microsoft Windows, and the Version is set to Windows XP (32-bit) or Windows XP (64-bit), depending on your downloaded version.
Click Next to continue. You will be asked to allocate memory (RAM) to your virtual machine. The recommended size is 192 MB, but you can increase it if you have enough RAM on your computer. However, don’t allocate more than half of your available memory to avoid performance issues.