I have my CD-key sticker with me but don't have the CD anymore. Is there anywhere I can download Windows XP SP3 installation disc from?


If you have a sticker that is on the side of a computer, it is an OEM licence and only valid for the machine it came with. Contact your system builder who should be able to order you a new one for a minimal charge + shipping.

If you have a fully packaged product and can not find the CD, contact Microsoft, who again for a minimal charge + shipping should be able to order you a new media kit. Alternatively, if you have a MSDN or Technet Subscription, you may get lucky (but not always) and download a version from there and using your serial key.

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    "Minimal charge" is a relative statement. Fees can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, and some companies that issued the OEM license no longer exist. Some manufacturers have very friendly policies about OS discs, but not all of them. – Zoot Oct 20 '10 at 17:34

Obsolete answer retained for historic reasons. All links are now dead, unfortunately.

In case the ISO is needed to create a virtual machine, there is legal download links for ready to use VMs for different IE and OS versions for different hypervisors at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/.

Windows XP virtual machines were once legally available there too. While they were hidden from combobox now, the download links are still live:

https://az412801.vo.msecnd.net/vhd/VMBuild_20141027/VirtualBox/IE8/Windows/IE8.XP.For.Windows.VirtualBox.zip https://az412801.vo.msecnd.net/vhd/VMBuild_20141027/VMware/IE8/Windows/IE8.XP.For.Windows.VMware.zip https://az412801.vo.msecnd.net/vhd/VMBuild_20141027/HyperV_2012/IE8/Windows/IE8.XP.For.Windows.HyperV_2012.zip

I was able to recontruct them via hint at https://github.com/magnetikonline/linuxmicrosoftievirtualmachines.

| improve this answer | |

Microsoft provides a Windows XP SP3 download for virtualization:

Windows XP Mode

Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 makes it easy to install and run many of your productivity programs that run on Windows XP directly from a computer that runs Windows 7.

Windows XP Mode provides a 32-bit virtual Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (SP3) environment. This download includes a virtual hard disk (.vhd file) with Windows XP SP3 preinstalled. Client virtualization software, such as Windows Virtual PC is required to use Windows XP Mode.


The "Windows XP Mode for Windows 7" download will give you a WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe file.

To isolate the virtual hard disk, use an archiver app such as Keka. Right-click any .exe file and Open With to extract it.

  1. Download WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe, extract to WindowsXPMode_en-us
  2. In the sources folder, rename xpm to xpm.exe and extract it.
  3. In the resulting new xpm folder, find the VirtualXPVHD file.
  4. Rename VirtualXPVHD to VirtualXP.VHD by inserting a period before the file extension.

VirtualXP.VHD is the Virtual Hard Disk that can be loaded by a Virtual Machine.

| improve this answer | |
  • The issue here is that it will not activate and you can not enter a licence key. – James Newton May 18 at 4:18

If you don't have any MSDN, TechNet or similar subscription I don't think there is any possible way for you to download MS software legally.

The other thing is you may as well have an OEM version, which is usually branded and follows different key patterns than regular retail version. If your case is about an OEM version, you could contact your local retailer of your particular brand and see if they can provide you with an OEM installation CD if they have it at all. As much as I know, most brands these days already pre-install OS on the installed hard disk.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Just found an OEM version on torrent thats specifically upload for those who've lost their CDs – Nimbuz Dec 28 '09 at 11:52
  • 2
    If it's on Torrent it's high probability that it's not legal. – Robert Koritnik Jan 4 '10 at 10:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.