What is the best way to upgrade from Windows ME to Windows XP?

by on January 21, 2009

Q: I have Windows ME and need to upgrade. Can I do that with a Windows XP upgrade version or do I need to buy the full version? Also can I upgrade from Windows ME to Windows XP without having internet acces?

11 Responses to “What is the best way to upgrade from Windows ME to Windows XP?”

    Yes, you can use a Windows XP upgrade disc to upgrade your computer from Windows Me to Windows XP.

    The problem is that your Windows Me computer is probably about 8 years old by now. A computer which is that old could die at any time. Unless you already own the Windows XP upgrade disc, you should strongly consider purchasing a new computer instead.

    Does this help?


    Thanks for the reply, yes my computer is 8 years old, but I really wonder if just being old means it could die anytime now or if how and how much it is used would add to the fact that it could die anytime now. I say that because it really has not been used very much at all, no applications or games or anything was ever added to it. Only occasional internet use on dial up and some documents made. To put it this way, out of the available disk space it has we have used less than 2%. I may just be optimistic or something but I dont want to spend the $ on another computer if this one can be upgraded and saved. Thanks again I appreciate your input.


    I have another part to my response, can I perform the upgrade with out haveing access to the internet? thanks


    Internet access is not required. If your computer asks you to “activate” Windows XP, you can do so via telephone.

    After installing Windows XP, you will need to install several large updates. The most important of these is Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. It will take many hours for you to download these updates via dial-up. In many areas of the USA, you can get broadband internet (DSL or cable) for less than US$20 per month.

    The upgrade version of Windows XP Home retails for US$99, which is about 20% of what a decent new Windows Vista computer would cost. If you are on a budget and your computer is gently used, upgrading to Windows XP might be worth the risk. Otherwise, I recommend that you consider recycling your old computer and buying a new one. I’d love to learn what you decide!


    Good to hear from you again. The whole story is that we decided that we wanted to get broadband via cox cable and when we tried to convert we were told by cox that we had to upgrade our operating sysytem to at least XP to be able to get broadband to work. So therefore we purchased the home XP upgrade disk and are going to install it this weekend.

    I am trying to get as much information about it as possible before we do it. We current ly do not have any internet access as we moved the computer from the dial up kitchen to our office area when the cable outlet is.

    I didn’t want to go throught the upgrade only to have the last element o the upgrade be that we have to be online. So after we upgrade then we will convert to broadband. I understand what you are saying about the risks I am taking but yes we are on a budget and the 99 we spent for the upgrade is it.

    Why will we have install service package 3 if the upgrade we just bought has service pack 2 already? That one confused me.

    I plan to let you now how it all works out, thanks again for your input have a happy


    Thanks for the info. I think that you’ll really enjoy the faster internet!

    A service pack is a collection of new features and security updates. To both save money and encourage users to choose Windows Vista, Microsoft decided not to sell Windows XP with Service Pack 3. Instead, they expect customers to use the Windows Update tool in Windows XP to update from SP2 to SP3. I encourage you to always install the latest security updates from Microsoft.

    Be sure to backup your important files before upgrading your computer! Do you have installation discs for your important programs — Microsoft Office, financial software, games, etc? If yes, I recommend that you do what’s called a “clean install” of Windows XP. Note that a clean install will erase all files and programs from your computer’s hard drive.

    Begin the clean install by putting the Windows XP CD into your computer’s CD-ROM drive. Then restart your computer. As your computer restarts, look for an option like “Press F2 for Boot Menu”. Go into the boot menu and choose your CD-ROM drive. Once the Windows XP installer has loaded, follow the instructions until you are asked to choose between clean install and upgrade install. Choose clean install, format your computer’s entire hard drive as NTFS, and allow your computer to finish the installation. Once Windows XP has installed, connect to your cable internet. Then install your antivirus software. Visit http://www.avast.com/ for a good yet free antivirus program. Next, install all updates from Microsoft. Now you’re ready to reinstall all of your programs, transfer your files back to your computer, and enjoy Windows XP. Eventually, Windows XP will ask you to “activate”. This is normal, and you can activate either by internet or telephone.

    I look forward to learning how you do installing Windows XP. Until then…


    Hello again, well the upgrade went smoothly, XP was working just fine and I was liking the new look. Then I connected to broadband and wonderful fantasticly fast and all was good in my home office….until…… something happend, not really sure what but I now have symbol font inplace of all english on my computer. All of the words under each icon is symbol, anything I type is in symbol. When I connect to the internet though I can read it because it comes through just fine, but if I type in search boxes it comes out as symbol. I tried several things already like feeling my way to regional setting and languages tab to change it back to english. nope can not do all options are in symbol. I downloaded malware bytes and ran it, downloaded system cleaner and ran it. Only thing that came out of thoses were the deleating of hot keys which I ended up putting bak. HELP


    Hi blazemom,

    Use the information and graphics at http://www.microsoft.com/enable/training/windowsxp/appearance.aspx to select normal fonts in your computer.

    PS: I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 for security software, and http://www.ccleaner.com/ and http://www.defraggler.com/ for regular software maintenance (such as system cleaning).


    Hi Robert, unfortunatly that will not work as I have tried to change my font and my language on my system but when all of the options are in the same symbol font, it doesn’t make a differance. I did discover that the font I have on my computer is Marlett. I was even going to do a clean install of XP to see if that would help but I can not get the prompts. I went into setup ( F2) and all of my boot options were checked so I unchecked the diskette and main drive so that only my cd drive would boot, but after restatrting and waiting for it to boot from the cd I get nothing, blank screen then it restarts, I never get a chance to do the clean install. I am looking to see if I can go to word and using marlett font try to break the code. I mean I know that a question mark is a ” S ” and a check mark is a ” A ” so far. Ugh


    As I recall, the font drop-down menu in the Advanced Appearance window is non-WYSIWYG (non What You See Is What You Get). In other words, the names of available fonts are displayed in your computer’s current font.

    In WYSIWYG font lists, each font title is shown in its own font — the Times New Roman entry is displayed in Times New Roman font, the Arial entry is shown in Arial font, etc.

    Non-WYSIWYG actually isn’t a huge problem in this case, because 99% of the fonts in Windows XP are text instead of symbols. Use http://www.microsoft.com/enable/training/windowsxp/appearance.aspx to help you select a font from the list at random. Unless you are REALLY unlucky, you should be able to get a text-based font within 3 tries.

    Several more ideas:

    1. In Windows XP’s Display Properties window, try going to the Themes tab instead of the Appearance tab (right-click on your desktop and choose Properties).

    2. Many computers provide an option to manually select the boot device during system startup. Popular keys to make this happen include the Delete key and the Esc key.

    3. Start your computer with hard drive enabled in F2 setup, then press F8. Choose Safe Mode (without any of the extra options). Once you have logged into Windows XP, try to reinstall Windows XP using your Windows XP upgrade disc.

    4. Use a computer that is running normally to create a Windows 98 boot disk. I recommend the Windows 98 SE OEM option at: http://www.bootdisk.com/bootdisk.htm

    5. If you own the system recovery discs that came with your computer, try to reinstall Windows Me and then upgrade again to Windows XP.

    6. Try using a different keyboard; you might be able to borrow a computer keyboard from a friend.

    7. Where did you purchase your Windows XP upgrade disc? If your copy of Windows XP is fake, that could explain everything.

    PS: Did you ask the http://www.askageek.com/2009/02/02/how-come-all-english-on-my-computer-has-been-replaced-with-symbol-font/ question? If so, please be aware that “double posting” often makes it more difficult for geeks like me at AskAGeek.com to help you. Thanks!


    Hi blazemom,

    It’s been several days since I’ve heard from you. Did any of my proposed solutions work for you? I look forward to receiving your an update on your progress. Thanks!