Can I repair XP SP3 with an SP2 reinstallation CD?

time_suckage September 14, 2012
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I’m hoping the answer to the following question is “no”.

I had a BSOD at the weekend (my first in years) and found that;

(a) Repair Install wouldn’t work (can’t remember the exact message it gave me).

(b) Recovery Console didn’t recognize ‘1’ as a valid installation number (bit of a long shot anyway as I don’t know my way around Recovery Console!)

End result was I did a clean install which didn’t result in any serious loss of data as I’d just done a (nearly) full back-up.

So I’ve now decided to actually learn what to do in this situation and it leads me to this question:

Do either of the options listed above still work using my XP Pro SP2 Installation CD when I have SP3 installed on my machine or do I have to create a new bootable CD and slipstream SP3 onto it?


  1. hemanth
    September 20, 2012 at 6:34 am

    You May try with wonder share recovery cd.

  2. Rich Mc.
    September 15, 2012 at 4:31 am

    I agree with Bruce and Mike.Go with their advice...I had to do this before and went with slipstream.good luck

  3. 573d1210d64cc82ed1979188e3b9622a
    September 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    i dont think its possible

  4. time_suckage
    September 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I think the consensus seems to be that I can't repair SP3 with an SP2 disk so I'll go with the slipstream option.

    Thanks all!

  5. Sumaiya
    September 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    i dont think you can 'downgrade'..

  6. GrrGrrr
    September 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Go for slipstream option.

  7. Saurav Azad
    September 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    i dont think so may be you should downgrade to sp2 and try !!!

  8. Rakesh Mishra
    September 14, 2012 at 7:53 am

    actually it is not possible but you can degrade to sp2

    • George Scrute
      October 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Spot-on response, Rakesh! This is the reply I was looking for myself. In fact, I reinstalled XP about a year ago using my Dell SP2 Recovery CD and I seem to remember that an attempt to use the Recovery CD to reinstall XP at that time wasn't possible (one cannot install a lower-grade Windows OS over a higher-grade ditto, generally speaking). \

      I either figured out to uninstall SP3 myself, or found the solution somewhere online.

      Now I am facing the same predicament because I made the system partition too small (it should be about twice as large as the data partition, or about 50 MB at the least), but couldn't remember how I proceeded on that earlier occasion. Now I know!

      Thanks again!

      ps: One may need to tick the "Show Updates" box if there have been updates/ fixes to SP3.

  9. Jacky Louie Agot
    September 14, 2012 at 5:20 am


  10. Bruce Epper
    September 14, 2012 at 5:14 am

    The only time that I have been able to do a recovery on an XP SP3 system with the SP2 disk is when the SP3 uninstall files are still on the system. I am not sure why this works (I have done it twice). Slipstreaming (the MS way) your installation is always the better way to go and it is simple to do. Just copy the contents of the CD into a temporary directory on your hard drive (create a directory such as C:\flat and copy the entire CD there), download the network version of SP3 from the MS website and run the following command: WINDOWSXP-KB936929-SP3-X86-ENU.exe /integrate:c:\flat You will want to do this on a WinXP machine. Slipstreaming the installation files on later versions of Windows may make it so valid product keys no longer work when you use the newly slipstreamed media to do a fresh install.

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