Dell R200, Can It Run Windows XP?

A Dell R200; can it run Windows XP?

Seems that question has been asked many times. Dell clearly states in their ‘Tech Specs’ that the only supported OS types are server related. There is not a client type OS on that list.

However, if you search the internet for R200 and Windows XP you will find many a person trying to get this to work. I did not find anyone that was successful when first I looked. I found much speculation, anger, and hate about the topic. No resolution to actually making Windows XP work on a Dell R200.

Now, let me tell you, it is possible.

However, let me warn you, it is not a supported configuration by Dell. This means something goes wrong hardware wise, sure they’ll replace the hardware, they will not reload or support the OS build and the replacement hardware may not work.

Now keeping the above in mind, and that all information I give you is not warranted, implied or otherwise, and that if you follow these steps you are doing so of your own accord. Whatever happens happens, and I am not responsible for your actions or issues that may arise from following my steps outlined below. Again, remember, Dell says this doesn’t work and is not a supported configuration.

Well here goes!

  1. Put the Starter CD that came with your server in.
  2. Once it has come to the selection screen choose your language.
  3. Choose OS installation.
  4. A list of OS options appears. Select Windows 2003 R2 standard.
  5. Accept defaults for the installation (do not fill out product key when given the ‘option’ to do so).
  6. Once the Dell prep. CD has reach 74% it will “spit” out the CD and ask for the OS CD.
  7. Insert the Windows XP CD
  8. The CD will be rejected 2-3 times before it is accepted.
  9. After the installation files are copied the system will “spit” out the CD again and reboot.
  10. Follow along with the prompts when Windows starts its installation process after the restart process is complete.

You now have a working installation of the Operating System.

HOWEVER, you need some driver updates. ESPECIALLY the NIC drivers or the system is just a standalone box that can’t really do anything for you. This is probably not why you bought it though.

The nice thing here is that you have the drivers on the starter CD! DO NOT use the application on the CD to install the drivers. Instead use ‘Device Manager’ and browse to the location on the CD for the drivers.

Once you have that completed and the server has internet access everything else will be picked up when you do a Windows Update procedure. You will more than likely have to do the Windows Update procedure 2, 3, or 4 times before all the updates are completed.

Once you have done this you will have a working Dell R200 running Windows XP!

Remember, Dell states that this is NOT a supported configuration and you are doing this at your own risk. Personally I don’t know why one would want a server class machine (no matter how low ‘rent’ it is) to run a client side OS. Then again, I was asked by a client to make it work. I did, of course I had them sign a waiver. :p

As usual, if you have questions ask away here so we can share with everyone. Plus I get enough spam in my inbox. <img src=””>

NOTE 11/10/2008:  Please ensure to read the responses below.  You will find changes in how drivers and installation behave.  Thanks to those who have posted their results, work-arounds, and updated successes!

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