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I bought a netbook with XP Home SP3. I am trying to upgrade/downgrade to an earlier version of XP Pro Sp2.

When I try to install, it says cannot upgrade to earlier version.

Is there anything I can do to be able to do this?

Thanks for your help.


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migrated from Nov 27 '09 at 15:52

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

Do a fresh install of XP Pro SP2 -- generally this means formatting your system drive before installation, to get rid of the old installation's files.

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Service Packs are basically one-way installs - they change/modify too many things to be undone safely.

If you do not want SP3 (don't know why, but if) - you need to install an earlier edition of XP (either one with SP2 slipstreamed, or install SP2 on its own).

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I think you're missing the relevant part... he's trying to install Pro, it's pre-installed with Home. – ThatGraemeGuy Nov 27 '09 at 7:07
ahh - I did miss the home vs pro part. Switching between the two still requires a reinstall, though – warren Nov 27 '09 at 12:33

You can't use the lower SP media without updating it to the same SP.

Depending on how you're licensed with Microsoft, your options are:

  • Download an ISO for XP Pro SP3 via MSDN/Partner sites
  • Download SP3 seperately, then 'slipstream' it into your XP Pro media

There's a guide for updating an XP install media here:

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Remember if you're doing a clean install that'll you'll need device drivers for the various pieces of hardware that were released after XP, as they won't be on the XP install CD. That probably includes Network, Wireless, Graphics Accelerator etc.

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If SP3 is in your Control Panel's "Add and Remove Programs" when "Show updates" is checked, then you can uninstall it.

If not, this means that XP was installed from an SP3 boot media, so you need to follow ~quack's advice.

If you have a full SP2 CD, you might try to "repair" the system back to SP2, but this is risky business, and if it fails then a reinstall will be required.

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