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Archived Legacy Notes:
This page contains rough notes to document how I did something in the past. As such they will not be updated or corrected.

Mint 13 Xfce: VirtualBox Windows XP Pro Install

The Needed OEM Windows XP Pro COA

End-Of-Life does not change the fact that Microsoft Windows XP is Licensed Software! A “Good Faith” effort does still need to be made to respect the Operating System License. As such, doing a (very) limited reinstall of the Licensed and installed Operating System that was already on a Computer is the only thing advocated by the below notes.

That Said, that Windows XP is now End-Of-Life is the only reason I now advocate a “Good Faith” effort to respect that License instead of strict compliance. For anything that is “still supported” software, know the License for your product, and abide by what that License does and does not permit!

I happened to need this because I have a small Laser Printer that the Windows XP driver actually handles doing duplex printing. (The printed pages are put back into the paper tray, then a button is pushed to print the other side.) I also know of other people who need to still run a Software Package that requires Windows to run. (Will not run using something like the Linux Wine package.)

Legacy hardware that requires an XP driver to run, or needing to run some Legacy Application – until that can be migrated to using something else– are the only good reasons I can think of for doing this.

Finally, an OEM License belongs exclusively to the system/hardware that the sticker was put on that case– and it cannot be transferred to run that on another/different set of hardware. So creating a VirtualBox XP machine does require running that only on the system with the COA Sticker used to create it.

To do the below requires an OEM Windows XP Pro COA (Certificate Of Authenticity)– with many business PCs that have that COA, ending up in the used computer market as “Off Lease” equipment.

So when doing the below, I always use the OEM Windows XP Pro COA that is on the case of that PC, to activate the installed copy of Windows XP. Legally, the sticker from another computer case cannot be used.

If the computer I am currently using (to run the above printer) were to die– so that I needed to run a VirtualBox XP machine on another PC– then changing the Windows XP Product Key to what is provided by the OEM XP Pro COA on the case of the new system, is the only way to properly move that VirtualBox XP machine from one PC to another. As using the Product Key from the COA on the new system would Reactivate Windows XP using the License for the hardware it is now running on.

Instructions to change XP Product Key from Microsoft: (as of July 2014)
To update your product key
  1. Open the Windows Product Key Update Tool.
  2. When prompted to run or save the Windows Product Key Update Tool installer, click Run.
  3. Follow the instructions in the installer.

After updating your product key, you will be required to activate Windows XP. If you still have issues after running the tool or with activation, visit the Windows XP Solution Center on the Microsoft Support website for additional assistance.

Update as of 2015 March 10:
If the above will not change the COA try:

The "Two Methods" to Install XP on a Virtual PC

Using the Correct OEM Install Media

The “Conventional Method” – which is the way that this is supposed to be done – is to use the correct OEM CD or install media that goes with the OEM COA on the computer case. When using VirtualBox – at least under Linux – that means using an .iso file instead of CD/DVD media. This is because booting a Virtual Machine to install an OS is the one way in which VirtualBox is not able to use a physical optical drive.

There are a couple of very serious “issues” with trying to load Windows XP in this manner – both of which relate to getting the correct/original OEM media to use with the COA that is on the computer case.

The most serious problem – for any system that does not come with an OEM Install disc – is that trying to download an .iso file using torrent sites, or any other “untrusted” source, can and does result in people getting a file that has Malware added to it. That if the install media you will use to load Windows did not come directly from either an Official Microsoft Source (a Microsoft Site), or directly from the Computer Manufacture, then it is very possible the media obtained in any other manner could have a virus or other malicious software added to it.

The other problem is where the media used to reload a “limited install” of XP using VirtualBox results in the Product Key on the COA being unable to activate the just installed XP operating system.

I ended up in an “Activation Loop” – where I could not login for the 1st time until the product was sucessfully activated– when I was trying to install XP using VirtualBox for a friend.

  • The trusted .iso file for the Generic OEM XP CD that I was using should have been exactly the correct thing to use with the Generic Windows XP Pro COA that was on that computer case. (The same .iso file that I had successfully used with my own system.)
  • Going through the full (automated) phone activation procedure did not successfully activate this product – even with my listening to the provided activation number twice, and taking extreme care to type everything in (both on the phone keypad, and on the computer).
  • Following the Microsoft Knowledgebase procedure to (manually) remove corrupt activation files and deactivate XP – so that it then could be successfully activated – also did nothing to resolve this situation.

That in the end, using the second (below) method to install Windows XP was the only way that I was able to get XP using VirtualBox installed onto that system.

The "Windows XP Mode" VHD File Method

The other way to go about doing this is a “really outside the box” method. That essentially, Windows 7 provided a Windows XP Mode, that was a full copy of Windows XP running in a Microsoft Virtual Machine. So the file for this “XP Mode” can be downloaded separatly, then from that a Virtual Hard Drive (.vhd) file can be extracted, that finally can be use by VirtualBox as the XP Pro install media.

To be blunt, the original article that described doing this (in very general terms) contained some “Red Flags” that had me looking into this more carefully than I otherwise would have. However, any “issues” in that original article could just as easily occur using the “OEM Install Media” method. So how some people are making use of this does not change the technical merits of this method to get XP installed using VirtualBox.

There are 2 extremely important advantages to using this method:

  1. That the file to do this is downloaded directly from a Microsoft site/server makes it possible to ensure that the install media used to load XP does not contain any Malware.
  2. This seems to be the always works method to install XP Pro on a VirtualBox machine. That even when the “OEM Install Media” method ended up in an “Activation Loop”, this method was able to install XP – using the same Product ID from the “OEM Window XP Pro COA” on that computer case.
When using the .vhd file as the Windows XP install media, Windows still must go through the final stages of setup, and it also must be sucessfully Activated – just like would happen using an OEM Media install. So within the context of “ The Needed OEM Windows XP Pro COA” section, and with the advatages of using this method, the .vhd file install is what this document will provide instructions to use.

Obtaining the Image to Load from Microsoft

Start by downloading the “Windows XP Mode” file that has the needed .vhd file buried deep within in, from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Using this page for the Windows XP Mode at Microsoft, download the appropriate file.
    • For English in North America, the file I am checking in the download pop-up is “WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe
    • Clicking the “Next” button should then start the download of this 470MB file.
Next insure that 7zip is installed, as that is the tool that can be used to repeatedly extract the contents of this downloaded file. It should be noted that the p7zip package integrates itself into the existing Archive Manager – so it is the Archive Manager that will actually be used to open and extract the below files.
  • Menu » Software Manager
    • Search for “7zip”
    • Uninstall “p7zip” (if that is installed) → Install both “p7zip-full” and “p7zip-rar”
For other versions of Linux, what you select to install the full version of 7zip, using your system's Software Manager, may be different.
Now in the “Download” folder, repeatedly extract the file that was downloaded from Microsoft, to obtain the needed VHD file.
  • In the Download folder, right-click on the downloaded file (WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe) and select “Archive Manager”
  • In the Archive Folder “sources” → select then right-click to “Extract…” the file “XPM
  • Again in the “Download” folder, right-click on the just Extracted “XPM” Archive → select “Open With Other Application…”
    • Now from the pop-up list, select “Archive Manager” (The “Open files of this type” box can be left checked.)
  • Finally, right-click on the “VirtualXPVHD” file, then select “Extract…”
  • The needed 1.2GB “VirtualXPVHD” file should now be found in the “Download” folder on this PC.
    • Right-clicking on that file, the calculated MD5 checksum is: 5189623a8e5c6ff518cdd4759037f109
If this is done on another version of Linux – or even using 7zip on a Windows PC – in the above steps, take note of what files should be opened, and what in each archive should be extracted.

Install VirtualBox and Create the Virtual PC

Full Procedure to Install VirtualBox on Mint 13 Xfce

  • Menu » Software Manager
    • Search for “VirtualBox”
    • Install “virtualbox-nonfree”
  • Now add the current [user] to the vboxusers group ← account login name – not a person's (full) name
    Menu » “Terminal Emulator” → run the following comand (with the proper user account)
    sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers [user]    # replace [user] with user account name
    • Repeat the above for the [user] of any additional accounts on the system that would also use VirtualBox.


  • Menu » System » Oracle VM VirtualBox
    • CLICK on “OK” for the “there is a new verson” pop-up. (XP runs fine using this version of VirtualBox)
    • top menu » Help » About → Ensure this is version 4.1.12
    • top menu » File » Preferences » Extensions → Select blue/yellow “Add package” symbol on right side
      • The just downloaded Extention Package file should be listed & highlighted in the pop-up window
        • Select “Open”
        • Select “Install”
        • Scroll down to the bottom of the Agreement → then Select “I Agree”
        • Enter the user account [password] to install this → then Select “OK” once installed

Create a Virtual Machine for Windows XP

  • Before creating the XP Pro Virtual PC, setup the Virtual Hard Drive file to be used.
    • Copy the “'VirtualXPVHD” file to the “VirtualBox VMs” folder, in the [user] home directory
    • Rename this copied file to VirtualXP.vhd
  • Select the “New” Virtual Machine icon → Select “Next >” to the New Virtual Machine Wizard
    • Name → Enter “WinXP”
    • Leave “Microsoft Windows” & “Windows XP” as the Operating System & Version
    • Select “Next >”
    • Set “Base Memory Size to about 1024MB (assuming at least 2GB RAM in the physical PC)
    • Select “Use existing hard disk” then use the yellow/green “Choose a virtual hard drive…” icon
      • in the [user] home directory, select the “VirtualBox VMs” folder, then the VirtualXP.vhd file
      • Select “Next >” then “Create” to finish creating this Virtual Machine
  • With the Virtual PC “WinXP” highlighted, Select the “Settings” Icon.
    • “System” » the “Motherboard” tab → UNCHECK “Floppy” in the “Boot Order”
    • “Shared Folders” → select the blue/green “Add Shared Folders” icon
      • And the [user] home “Public” folder as “Read-only” (for Hardware Driver or Software Install files)

Installing and Updating Windows XP Professional

Installing & Configuring Windows XP Pro

  • Still with the Virtual PC “WinXP” highlighted, Select the “Start” Icon.
  • When the “Windows XP Professional Setup” window finally appears:
    • For the License Agreement page:
      • Use the TAB key, until “I accept this agreement” is highlighted → then press the SPACE BAR to select this.
      • Use the TAB key until the “Next >” button is selected → then press the ENTER key
    • For the Regional and Language Options page:
      • Use the TAB key until the “Customize” button is highlighted → then press the ENTER key
        • In the “Regional and Language Options” window that opens:
          • Use the key until the (already) highlighted box says “English (Canada)
          • use the TAB key until the Location box (that says “United States”) is highlighted
            • Use the key until the highlighted box says “Canada
          • Use the TAB key until the “Apply” button is highlighted → then press the ENTER key
          • The “OK” button will now be highlighted → so press the ENTER key again
      • The “Next >” button in the “Windows XP Professional Setup” window will now be highlighted → press the ENTER key.
    • for the “Computer Name and Administrative Password” page
      • In the selected box enter (type) a Computer Name of “WinXP” (without the quotes)
      • Using the TAB key to select the Password boxes:
        • enter then re-enter an Administrator Password of “EOL” (without the quotes)
      • use the TAB key to select the “Next >” button → then press the ENTER key
    • for the “Date and Time settings” page:
      • use the key to select “(GMT-5:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
      • use the TAB key to highlight the “Next >” button → then press the ENTER key
    • A “Network Setup” page will be seen, while XP continues installing.

Due to the installed Microsoft VM extensions in this image, the install is going to hang … so go get a coffee, to make certain it has finished whatever it is going to do.

  • Using the “WinXP [Running] - Oracle VM VirtualBox” window, RESET the WinXP VM
  • On the Reboot, I got a “New Hardware Found” window:
    • use the TAB key to select “Yes, this time only” → press the SPACE BAR to select this
    • use the TAB key until the “Next >” button is highlighted → press the ENTER key
  • On the next Screen “Install the software automatically (Recommended)” is already selected → so press the ENTER key
  • On the “Not Found” screen that follows the “CLOSE” button is selected → press the ENTER key

POWER OFF the Machine

  • Again with the Virtual PC “WinXP” highlighted, Select the “Start” Icon.

Enter the Administrator Password

  • in the bottom right VirtualBox Icons, CLICK on the “Capture Mouse” icon, so the arrow goes from Green to Yellow
  • then when moving the mouse pointer over the Window screen, when a window pops up, select to capture the mouse pointer

In Windows XP

  • go into the Control Panel, Add / Remove Programs
  • REMOVE the (Microsoft) “Virtual PC Extensions”

Once done, keep tapping CTRL and ALT together, unto VirtualBox releases the mouse pointer back to Linux.

POWER OFF the Machine

  • Again with the Virtual PC “WinXP” highlighted, Select the “Start” Icon.
  • From the top menu » “Devices” » Insert Guest Additions CD image
    • In the VirtualBox Guest Additions window that pops up → select the “Next >” button
    • On the Choose Install Location screen that follows → select the “Next >” button
    • On the Choose Components screen that follows → select the “Install” button
    • On the Software Install window that pops up → select the “Continue Anyway” button
    • Again, On any further Software Install windows that pops up → select the “Continue Anyway” button
    • Finally select the “Finish” button to reboot the WinXP VM

Using the Administrator Account is a BAD idea, so …

  • Control Panel » Users and Groups
    • Create a new account
      • Type a name for the new account: → sohouser
      • Please Note: NOTHING is entered for a Password!
      • select the “Next >” button
      • leave “Computer administrator” selected → select the “Create Account” button

from Windows XP ⇒ RESTART SYSTEM

in the login window that appears

  • User name: → enter sohouser
  • select the OK button
  • Control Panel » Users and Groups
    • select the “change the way users log on or off” link
    • When the “User Accounts” Fast User Switching window that pops up → select the “Cancel” button
    • SELECT the “Use the Welcome screen” option → then select the “Apply Options” button

from Windows XP ⇒ RESTART SYSTEM

now sohouser account should auto-magically log in when WinXP is started. :)))


  • Right-Click on the selected WinXP VM → select “Create Shortcut on Desktop
Normally, when a new VM is created by VirtualBox, a Dynamically Allocated .vdi file is created in the folder for that VM.

To change to a .vdi file in the WinXP folder:

  • File » Virtual Media Manager
    • Right-Click on “VirtualXP.vhd” → select Copy
      • “VirtualXP.vhd” is already selected → so select the “Next >” button
      • “VDI (Virtual Disk Image)” is already selected → so select the “Next >” button
      • “Dynamically Allocated” is already selected → so select the “Next >” button
      • BACKSPACE “_copy” so the new Hard Drive name is WinXP
      • using the folder icon to the right of that → select the “WinXP” folder
      • select the “Copy” button
    • Close” the Virtual Media Manager window
  • with the WinXP VM still selected → select the “Settings” icon
  • from the left list select “Storage
  • Right-Click on “VirtualXP.vhd” → select “Remove Attachment
  • Select “Controller: IDE” → select the “Add Hard Disk” icon
    • select “Choose existing disk
    • in the WinXP folder → select VirtualXP.vdi
  • select the “OK” button
  • Again with the Virtual PC “WinXP” highlighted, Select the “Start” Icon.

Activating and Updating Windows XP Pro

Activate Windows XP Professional

  • on the bottom right, click on the keys icon that is saying 30 days to “activate Windows”
    • SELECT “Yes, lets activate Windows over the Internet Now” → select the “Next” button
    • SELECT “No, I don't want to register now, lets just activate Windows” → select the “Next” button
    • Enter the COA key → then select the “Retry” button
  • select the “OK” button to close this window

Windows Update

  • Internet Explorer - Security Warning” pop-up → select the “Install” button
  • In the “Windows Update” window:
    • select the “Install Now” button
    • select the “Custom” button
      • To the Internet Explorer pop-up → select to continue
    • select “Download and Install Now
      • select “Close” on the “Install Complete” pop-up
    • select the “Continue” button
    • UNSELECT any/all updates for Windows Explorer 6 updates (as IE8 will be installed)
    • UNSELECT the “don't show this update again” for “Windows XP End of Support Notification” (we know it's EOL)
    • select the “Install Updates” button
      • on the License Agreement pop-up select “I Accept
      • for the Windows Genuine Advantage pop-up:
        • select the “Next >” button
        • select “I Agree” → then select the “Next >” button
        • at the end, select the “Finish” button to close this pop-up window
    • select the “Restart Now” button to finish updating the WinXP VM
  • Run Windows Update yet again
    • leave all of the new High Priority updates selected
    • select the Software, Optional link:
      • select the Update for Root Certificates for Windows XP
      • select both Update for Windows XP with a description that starts with:
        “Install this update to resolve issues in Windows. …”
    • select the “Restart Now” button to finish updating the WinXP VM
  • Turn OFF Automatic Updates

Finishing the "Initial" Installation of XP

The Shared ~/Public folder ⇒ In the WinXP guest OS, this can be found at: \\VBOXSRV\Public
  • Customize the Windows Start Menu by doing the following: (in the menu properties)
    • UNSELECT to show the E-mail program, which was set to Outlook Express
    • SELECT to show My Network Places
  • Run the Foxit Reader .exe file
    • Install using all the default options
    • Select the “Not Now” button when asked about registering.
  • Run the CutePDF Writer Setup Wizard
    • UNSELECT or DECLINE the browser tool-bars and other “add-on” items in this installer!
    • Have it download & install the other needed program when asked.
  • Open Internet Explorer and go to
    • use the Install Google Chrome button on the top-right corner of that page to download & install Chrome
    • This DID set Chrome as the default Web Browser.
kb/linux/lts12p04xpvirtualboxpc.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/13 20:35 (external edit)