Windows XP has been discontinued and for those who are still attached to this system, the open source system ReactOS is a very good alternative that not only operates in a similar way to Windows XP, but also installs Windows-compatible EXE executable programs. Let’s see how to install ReactOS to your local hard disk for use.
First go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/reactos下载操作系统镜像 and download a standard ISO format file. Once downloaded it can be installed by a variety of methods, three common ones are as follows.
The first is on a traditional BIOS-booted computer, you can prepare a flash drive of 1GB or more, then boot UntraISO, click the “Boot” button in the menu bar, select “Write Hard Disk Image”, and in the pop-up window directly click the Click the “Write” button in the pop-up window, select the write method as “USB-HDD+”, then reboot and use this flash drive to boot the installation.
The second is on an EFI boot computer, first format the flash drive to FAT32 format, then use WinRAR to extract all the downloaded image files to the flash drive, reboot and select the flash drive as the boot device to boot the installation.
The third one is to install directly through hyper-V virtual machine on Windows 10 PC. The virtual machine installation will not cause damage to the original system and will have little impact on the original system operation because ReactOS has very low system requirements, with a minimum configuration of 128MB of RAM and 1GB of hard disk free space.
I chose to install ReactOS in a safe and convenient virtual machine by typing “Enable or disable Windows features” in the Windows 10 search box, checking the “Hyper-V” box in the window that opens, pressing the Follow the prompts to install the component and reboot (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Start Hyper-V
After system reboot, run Hyper-V Manager, click “New”, create a virtual machine as prompted, select “First Generation” for the virtual machine generation, set “Install OS from bootable CD/DVD-ROM → Image File” in the installation options, and select the downloaded ReactOS installation file (Figure 2). In the installation options, set “Install OS from bootable CD/DVD-ROM → image file”, and then select the downloaded ReactOS installation file (Figure 2).
Figure 2 Select the installation file
Select the newly created virtual machine in the virtual machine list, click “Start” to enter the ReactOS installation interface, its installation is very similar to the Windows XP installation, keep pressing the Enter key to select the default settings, and reboot after copying the files (Figure 3).
Figure 3 Copy the installation files
After rebooting, continue ReactOS installation, follow the prompts to complete the installation of system components and identification of drivers, then you can start using ReactOS after entering the desktop. The interface is very similar to Windows XP, so let’s play the classic minesweeper game (Figure 4).
Figure 4 ReactOS main interface
However, ReactOS uses the core of Windows NT5.2, the system version is relatively old, so many drivers are still not recognized, for example, the virtual network card of my computer is not recognized, so to use ReactOS system normally, we have to install drivers according to their actual situation.
In ReactOS, click “Start→Shutdown Computer”, after closing the virtual machine, return to the virtual machine window and click “File→Settings”, open the settings window and click “Hardware→Add Hardware→Old Network Adapter Click “Hardware→Add Hardware→Old Network Adapter” in the Settings window, and follow the prompts to add a network card to the virtual machine (Figure 5).
Figure 5 Adding network card
After adding it, an old network adapter will appear in the right hardware list, select a virtual switch for it, here I choose the default switch, click “Apply” to save the settings and exit (Figure 6).
Figure 6 NIC setup
Next, go to https://0x9.me/UP7Nt下载所需的网卡驱动文件, download it, put it into the ISO file made with UntraISO and load it into the virtual machine, boot ReactOS again, enter the system and you will be prompted to find the new hardware (i.e. the old Network Adapters added above), follow the prompts to locate the virtual CD-ROM drive to install the Network Card Then you will see the new Network Adapters device in Device Manager (Figure 7). Once the card is installed, you can access the Internet. Click on “Application Manager” on the desktop and you will see that ReactOS provides us with many programs that can be used in ReactOS by downloading and installing them as prompted.
Figure 7 Installing network card driver
Tip: Although ReactOS supports EXE, but due to compatibility reasons, the EXE programs you download may not work perfectly in ReactOS, while the programs listed in the “Application Manager” will not have any problems basically.
Of course, ReactOS still has some shortcomings, such as the Chinese support is not very good (Chinese display box), because of the lack of Chinese fonts, we can manually put the current system Song font (Simsun.ttc) into the Fonts folder, and then in the registry [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFYWAREMicrosoft windows NTCurrentVersion], add StringValue, name “SIMSUN”, value is “Simsun. ttc”, and then go to “FontSubstitutes” and add “Helv”, “MS Shell Dlg”, “MS shell Dlg2”, and “MS shell Dlg2” to “FontSubstitutes”. “MS shell Dlg2”, “Tahoma” to “SIMSUN”, then reboot to display Chinese normally.
Tip: Because ReactOS is an open source system, you can visit https://reactos.org/gallery#User-Interface查找解决方案 for many problems you may encounter.