Software & Apps Windows Can You Download Windows XP? Is Windows XP available for download? by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on May 29, 2020 reviewed by Chris Selph Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Chris Selph is a CompTIA-certified technology and vocational IT teacher. He also serves as network & server administrator and performs computer maintenance and repair for numerous clients. our review board Article reviewed on Apr 18, 2020 Chris Selph Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email If you need to install Windows XP but you've lost your original XP Setup CD, downloading Windows XP is tricky, since it's no longer available from Microsoft. Downloading Windows XP for 'Free' There are many places online to download Windows XP, but there probably aren't any legal sources. Windows XP is not distributed online so there isn't a legitimate way to get a Windows XP download, even from Microsoft. No matter where you find it, be it through a torrent website or some other software distribution website, any XP download you come across online is probably not legal. The only guaranteed legal course of action when you need a copy of Windows XP is to buy one. It's really that simple. Lifewire / Grace Kim An important downside to a free Windows XP download is that it's too easy for it to include malware or other unwanted software bundled in with the operating system. On that note, if you manage to get a hold of a Windows XP ISO, it would need valid license information in order to activate the software, and most OS downloads come with crackers and keygens that attempt to authenticate the software illegally, which you should avoid. Even if you did download Windows XP, what you would get is an image of the Windows XP Setup CD. For example, you would probably download an XP ISO file like windows-xp-pro.iso, or something like that. You would then burn that ISO image to a CD that you would then use to install Windows XP. It's the Windows XP Product Key That's Valuable In many ways, what you actually pay for when you legally purchase a copy of Windows XP is the product key (sometimes referred to as a CD key or key code, or incorrectly as the serial number). This unique number is required during the installation of Windows XP. So, even if you did find a Windows XP CD download, you would still need a valid XP product key to install and use Windows. If you do have your Windows XP product key but you're missing your Windows XP CD, you could argue that, since you did actually purchase XP and you have a valid product key and should be able to legally download a Windows XP CD image from anywhere. Microsoft isn't on board with that argument, though. At this time, the only legal way of obtaining a Windows XP CD is from a legal purchase of the operating system. Contact Microsoft for a replacement Windows XP Setup CD, assuming you can show proof of purchase. If you own a major-brand computer, you could also have luck contacting them directly for a replacement Windows XP disc or restore disc. Another way to get a copy of Windows XP is to purchase it online. You can order Windows XP on Amazon from limited third-party sellers, and possibly other websites that offer older software, such as eBay. If it's just your Windows XP product key that you're looking for, you don't need to download XP or purchase a new XP install disc. See How to Find the Windows XP Product Key for help doing that. Do You Really Need to Download XP? Windows XP is an outdated operating system. Since its release in 2001, several newer iterations have succeeded it, all of which have introduced newer features and better security. If you want to download Windows XP so that you can have a fresh copy of Windows, you're probably better off downloading Windows 10 instead, which is the newest version of Microsoft Windows. In fact, you could even purchase Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista, all of which replaced Windows XP. On the same note, Windows XP is no longer updated by Microsoft but still possible to "revert" to. That is, new features and security updates are no longer released via Windows Updates. If you're looking for the latest and greatest version of Windows, you should avoid downloading Windows XP and instead just upgrade to a newer edition of Windows.