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Home > Upgrade paths to Windows XP
September 1, 2015

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MS-DOS, Windows <3.0, 3.1, 3.11 Windows For Workgroups, Windows 95 Retail, OEM Windows 95 (A,B,C), OS/2, BeOS, Solaris (Intel), Linux, xBSD

An upgrade is not possible from these operating system to Windows XP. You can't use upgrade media to perform a clean install with any of these operating systems (excludes Windows 95). Backup any important data you have on the machine to floppy disc or CD-R, then restart with a Windows XP full version CD in. You will need new drivers for your hardware, you also need to check your machine is capable of running XP, most running these operating systems will be below the minimum requirements for Windows XP (with the exception of BeOS, Solaris (Intel), Linux, xBSD).

To run Windows XP you need a 233Mhz Intel Pentium Compatible with 64Mb Ram (128Mb Recommended), 1.5 Gigabytes of hard disk space, A Super VGA display (800x600), Keyboard, Mouse and a CD or DVD Drive.

* Windows 95 Official Retail and OEM CD-ROMs are taken as qualifying media for use with the upgrade version of Windows XP Home or Professional.

Windows 98/98SE and Millennium Edition

All three of these operating systems can be upgraded to XP Home or Professional using Upgrade kits. From these operating systems its also possible to uninstall XP. You may require updated drivers for your hardware devices if updated versions are not included on the Windows XP CD-Rom (See the update advisor at the bottom of this page), also you may need to upgrade utilities like Norton Antivirus if you have the Windows 9x version. Disk tools designed to work in MS-DOS may not work with Windows XP. Such applications should be removed before upgrading to Windows XP to ensure the upgrade process is as trouble free as possible.

Windows NT Workstations 3.51

You must upgrade to Windows NT4 Workstation Service Pack 5 (Service Pack 6a recommended) before you can upgrade to XP (XP Professional Only on upgrade). You require updated drivers for your hardware devices if updated versions are not included on the Windows XP CD-Rom. This version can be used with the upgrade version of XP Home or Professional to perform a clean install.

Windows NT4 Workstation

Install Service Pack 5 (Service Pack 6a recommended, see before you try to upgrade. You can only use Professional to upgrade NT4 to XP. You should aquire updated drivers for your hardware devices if updated versions are not included on the Windows XP CD-Rom, in addition to this you might require newer versions of software (Antivirus and DVD Players as an example) run the update advisor to locate which items require this.

Windows 2000 Professional

Windows 2000 Professional, SP1, SP2 and SP3 can be upgraded to Windows XP Professional only. The windows 2000 professional cd-rom is taken as valid install media to do a 'clean' install using an upgrade version of XP Home.

Windows XP Home and Professional Edition's
(Including Beta Versions/120 day trials/OEM)

Beta and trial editions can be upgraded to the final version of Windows XP if they are builds 2505, 2526 or 2600. To find out what version you have go to start > run and type winver
The product type you are running will be shown in the banner at the top of this page, the build number is indicated on the line which starts 'Windows 5.1 (Buildxxxx'. On beta versions of Windows this information will also be shown in the bottom right corner of the desktop.

If you are running Home Edition of the above builds you can upgrade to the home or professional final version. If your running Professional of the above builds you can only upgrade to Professional without reformatting your machine.

If you have purchased an OEM copy of Windows XP Home or Pro (this is the type normally shipped with new computers, without retail packaging) this cannot be used to upgrade any previous version of Windows. You would need to perform a clean install of the new operating system.

Windows XP Media Center Edition and Tablet PC Edition

These editions of Windows XP are provided only with new approved OEM hardware of as part of an MSDN subscription. OEM editions are designed to be used with the system they are sold with and cannot be used to upgrade a previous install of Windows. The MSDN editions will allow upgrades from earlier Windows versions. To upgrade to Windows XP Media Center 2004, contact the vendor of your Media Center PC or download the update from MSDN Subscriber downloads (US/UK).

Windows 2000 Server, NT4 Server/Terminal Server, NT 3.51 Server

Server OS's cannot be upgraded to Client (Professional/Home) operating systems. A clean install of a Full XP Home or Professional is required.

Windows Server 2003 Standard/Enterprise/Web Server

Your operating system is newer than Windows XP, if you want to install XP Home or Professional follow the instructions above for Windows 2000 Server.

If you do decide to upgrade run the update advisor first, it will tell you of any detectable problems you need to sort out before you upgrade such as drivers or known application compatibility. It is also recommended that antivirus and firewall software is disabled or uninstalled before upgrading.


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