How to Install ReactOS on Old Computers

ReactOS is an open source operating system that is designed to binary equivalent of Microsoft Windows. You can run almost any Windows application inside ReactOS without having to depend on emulators. In other words, it can be said that ReactOS is an open source version of Windows itself. It supports FAT and NTFS file systems so you can access your Windows formatted storage devices easily. The latest version of ReactOS, version 0.4.7, reports Windows XP compatible version NT 5.2 for all the applications. It is a 32-bit operating system and has very little system requirements.

ReactOS can be installed on computers having only 500 MB hard disk drive and a minimum 96 MB of RAM. The downloads are available for live CD as well as install CD. And both are around 100 MB in size. The install CD ISO can be burned to a CD which can then be used to install the operating system on your PC. Here is how:

  1. Download installation ISO from and use ImgBurn to burn it on a blank CD.
  2. Use the newly burned ReactOS installation CD to boot into your PC. Basically, you have to place it in the CD/DVD drive, power on your PC and press F12 to choose the CD/DVD drive as boot device.
  3. In the ReactOS setup which looks similar to Windows XP setup, choose your language, choose a partition on which you want to install it and proceed.ReactOS
  4. The setup is blazing fast and in the end you will have to choose whether you want to install the bootloader on the hard drive or skip installing it. Most users will choose to install both the MBR and VBR.ReactOS
  5. Now when you reboot, you will boot right into the ReactOS. The operating system looks very similar to Windows XP albeit there are no special themes.ReactOS

The new installation does not have many applications installed. But you can use the Applications Manager to install all the popular programs like VLC Media Player, Firefox web browser, Opera web browser, OpenOffice etc.


  1. Hi Trish,
    Great article … very helpful.
    I have one question: I’d like to install ReactOS on an old laptop that’s running Windows Vista. Do I have to remove Vista from the hard drive before I install ReactOS, or will ReactOS install itself over Vista? Thanks!

    1. There is no need to remove Vista. You can create a separate NTFS partition (10GB is enough). Then install ReactOS on this new partition. This way your Vista will be preserved and you can always return to Vista using EasyBCD or using Vista DVD boot repair.

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