How to Install the Smallest Version of Windows XP

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Windows XP can consume several hundred megabytes of hard drive space, even when it is first installed and no other programs have been installed on the computer yet. If you are installing Windows XP on a machine where storage space is at a premium, such as a computer with a small solid-state hard disk, you may want to remove unnecessary components of Windows to keep the installation as small as possible. Use XP Lite to install the smallest version of Windows XP on your computer.

  • Download XP Lite from litepc.com. XP Lite is commercial software, but the trial version is free for personal use. Extract the archive to the location of your choice on the Windows XP computer where you would like to reduce the size of Windows XP. Run "xplite_trial.exe" to begin. It is recommended that you run XP Lite immediately after installing Windows XP on a computer, but the utility can be used at any time.

  • Click the "Add/Remove Components" tab. This tab shows all of the Windows XP components that can be removed to conserve hard drive space. Remove the check from the box next to each Windows component that you do not use. For example, you might like to remove the check from "Games" if you do not plan to play the games included with Windows XP.

  • Click the "Next" button. Windows will be reconfigured by removing the components that you have selected. Depending on the number and size of items being removed, this can be a lengthy process.

  • Click "Yes" to restart your computer after XP Lite is finished. Launch the application again after Windows loads.

  • Click the "Shrink" tab. This tool removes any saved information from your computer that could be used to uninstall Windows updates and patches that you have installed. Because uninstalling a Windows update is rarely recommended, this tool is generally safe to run. Click "Analyze" to continue if you do not need to have the ability to uninstall any Windows updates that are on the computer. XP Lite will display a screen showing the amount of hard drive space that can be reclaimed.

  • Click the "Delete" button to complete the operation.

Tips & Warnings

  • XP Lite removes components from Windows that the user is not normally allowed to remove. In performing a task such as this, it is always possible that the program may interact with your computer in a way not intended by the original programmer and cause a problem. Run XP Lite on a computer immediately after installing Windows, or back your important files up before using it.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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