Windows XP WinXP install issues | New hard drive


New Member
I'm a computer noob.
I have a 12 year old retail-purchased PC that came with WinXP Home pre-installed on the 160GB hard drive. The original OEM hard drive squeals terribly loud and sounds like it's going to die. I'd like to replace it, but not sure how to get WinXP installed on a fresh hard drive (that doesn't contain any OS software).
I don't have any Recovery discs, but I do have in my possession a copy of WinXP Professional Corp Edition (with a registration key) that I inherited from an old co-worker.

I'm having issues getting this WinXP cd installed onto a new hard drive.
I took out the bad/dying drive and put in the fresh hard drive without any OS software installed on it. I made sure the jumpers were set to master on this new hard drive.
I've gone into the BIOS numerous times and carefully configured boot sequence so the CD player boots first yet, I keep getting the following error message "Insert Boot media in selected Boot device and press a Key".
I know the cd works, because I was able to launch it when the PC was configured with the bad/dying drive running in a normal working Windows environment. I'm beginning to wonder if the cd is designed as an "Upgrade" version, rather than a "Full" version, thus requiring an earlier version of Windows to exist on the hard drive. I honestly don't know since the disc was given to me years ago by a co-worker. I also know the boot sequence is correct because I was able to get the cd drive to launch my genuine 64 bit Win7 OS software cd that I own for a different PC. Naturally I got error messages preventing Win7 from installing, but at least the cd drive recognized the cd.

So, what am I doing wrong?

Anyway, I'm at a loss to what to do and now scouring Ebay for "full" versions of Windows XP Home for purchase.
Btw, I have no desire to upgrade to any other Windows OS for this PC. I just want WinXP installed on a new hard drive, so I can run music software built for the XP platform.


Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
Hi HelpMeMsft,

I understand your frustration. I repair old computers for a living. A 12-year old XP computer is definitely a challenge due to the aging hardware. As you know, XP is no longer supported and any computers over 10 years old are pretty much relics. I have several laying around; some work and some are just used for parts.

If the XP corporate CD you got is indeed for an "upgrade" not an "full" version, it will not work on an OEM PC that came with XP originally installed as you said. You will need to purchase a new retail boxed version of Microsoft XP (whatever version came with the PC originally is best) which you can still find on ebay for $20-$80 or so. This will most likely still require that you download and install drivers and utilties from the PC maker's website (if OEM; Dell, HP, Gateway, Acer, etc.). This will take you an additional 1-3 days to do. It would be helpful in any circumstance if you would be so kind as to post back the EXACT Make/Model of your computer. And please also tell us if it's a desktop pc or a laptop.

While you are considering this purchase or shopping for the best price, I urge you to do some hardware testing. The fact that your hard drive is squealing is a pretty sure indicator that the hard drive has failed, and could also be the cause of your XP install disc failing to work.:waah:
I suggest that to start with you test both the Hard Drive and the RAM memory with the following free tests:
If that still doesn't resolve the problem, there's a good chance that your hard drive in that machine has failed. You can easily test this by downloading the free SEATOOLS drive test program from Download the SEATOOLS program on a different working computer or laptop you have; don't use the desktop that is having the Skype & SP3 issues. Then google the free IMGburn program and download it. The SEATOOLS program will be in an ISO image file format; the IMGburn program will let you burn that file to a blank CD or DVD disc that will be bootable. I recommend you test this out on the working computer you created the SEATOOLS boot test disc on. If it works take it over to your parent's PC and try it. Make sure to run BOTH short and long tests. If SEATOOLS returns any errors, that hard drive has failed and must be replaced! :waah:

Next, download the free MEMTEST program (you can google), and create a bootable disc with IMGburn in the same fashion you did with SEATOOLS. Run MEMTEST on each stick of RAM that your have individually; in other words, remove all RAM sticks and test with MEMTEST1 stick at a time for a minimum of 8 passes. Repeat for each stick. If MEMTEST returns any errors, that stick of RAM has failed and must be replaced. Finally, reinsert all RAM sticks back into their Motherboard slots (1-4 slots typically) and run MEMTEST 1 more time for minimum of 8 passes. If MEMTEST returns any errors; you could have mismatched speeds or types and will need to replace your RAM sticks in matched pair sets. Continue to run MEMTEST until you have all sticks running for 8 passes without error. **be aware that if you have 2GB RAM sticks or larger it may take 12-24 hours to achieve the full 8 passes. Of course longer with all your RAM sticks installed on the Final test; so be patient**

These 2 tests won't test everyting in your PC. But, that's a good start as those 2 items (Hard Drive & RAM) are the cause of a failed XP install about 70% of the time. And that's assuming your XP installation media is ok and is a "full" version as I stated above.

If you do replace the Hard Drive and any bad RAM sticks; then reattempt your XP install. Set the failed drive aside for future data recovery of stuff you want from it; such as your Music, Photos, documents, Emails, etc.

Let us know if you run into any difficulties and we can advsise you further.