How to install IIS on Windows XP without CD

Today I was at the University and wanted to install IIS and ASP.NET to work on a small project. The only problem is that I didn’t have the Windows XP CD with me. Google returned answers that involved downloading the SP2 installer and extracting the files from it. So, I decided to hack around and see what I could come up with without having to download the ~250Mb SP2 installer. Here’s what I found.

Open up Add Remove Programs and click on the Windows Components button. In here, check off the IIS service and click Next. It will then prompt you for the Windows CD. When it does, click OK (even though we haven’t put one in). In the next window browse to C:WindowsI386 and click OK. It should then start installing. During the installation it may prompt for the CD again. Rinse and repeat the exact same process by locating the I386 folder and it should install just fine.


~ by paradoxperfect on November 19, 2007.

115 Responses to “How to install IIS on Windows XP without CD”

  1. umm it didn’t work for me. maybe because i’m using sp3 or i’m doing something wrong. One thing that is confusing is you say to check off the IIS servers and click next. if you leave the IIS unchecked surprisingly enough it doesn’t install. if you check IIS and type in C:\Windows\I386 and push ok it goes nowhere so the only other option is cancel. it says installation canceled so you go to rinse and repeat to only find your self doing the same thing over and over.

  2. Hmm, that’s weird. It very well could be the fact that it’s SP3. I’m surprised you’re using SP3 too because there are only RCs available at the moment. Perhaps you can try SP2 and prove that it wasn’t just luck that I was getting out of this!🙂



  3. yea RCs FTW i had vista beta 2 and i didn’t have any problems with it so i don’t mind using early releases from Microsoft. and nah i’m not going back to sp2 all my task tray things show up now! although i think it might have been bootvis causing that problem under sp2. Anyway i don’t need IIS server anymore and i’m upgrading soon so it’s time to dl vista😛

  4. Wow…. worked a treat fro me … thx for the tip man..

  5. Glad to hear🙂

  6. Would this work for Vista? I got Vista Home Edition Pre-installed with my notebook.

  7. I’m not really sure since I’m not using Vista. Try this link though.🙂

  8. Hurray guys!!!!
    I tried it on vista, and it didn’t even ask for a CD, it just installed. Thanks for this wonderful idea.

  9. but i still dont have support for ASP. i read it has to be explicitly enabled. but i cant find that option any where. does any body knows it?

  10. The answer: you won’t HAVE an i386 folder unless your copy of windows was an OEM install… like at a school lab, or a machine that came with Windows pre-loaded.

    If you installed your own copy of XP, i386 never got put on your computer. It’s an install folder. Windows just ran what it needed for the install straight off the disk.

    Bummer… here I am on the road for 4 days, thinking I’d start to play with PHP… and now I gotta wait till I get home.


  12. you got me a idea when no ORIGINAL CD is available thx a lot.

  13. […] need your Windows XP CD for this.  If you don’t have it, you can refer to the ezinearticles or paradoxperfect for some help.  If you’re still having problems, just let me know.  I’ll be glad to help.  […]

  14. This is great. Saved me from lots of hassel!! Cheers man. U rock!!🙂

  15. Thanks so much…You saved my day.

  16. Hi,
    am using windows xp sp2, i tried to install iis, i gave the exact path by searching the location of i386 folder in my system and clicked ok.but its not working…

  17. am not able to install iis.

    • Hi mathu,

      I’ll be able to help you out if you could give me the exact steps that you’re trying to follow and what isn’t working for it.


  18. hi,
    i installed microsoft visual studio .net 2003 and after i installed iis in my pc, but when i started to open web application in microsoft visual studio .net 2003 it displays a msg that “the web server reported the following error when attempting to create or open the web project located at the following URL:’http://admin/webapplication1′.’A connection with the server could not be established’.”
    so now am not able to work with is my prob

  19. Hi mathu,

    Are you sure you’re accessing the correct address? The computer you’re trying to connect to, is its name “admin”. If it’s a local instance of IIS you should use “localhost” for that project.

  20. yes.. its admin

    • mathu,
      If I were you I’d first of all upgrade to a newer version of Visual Studio. Second, try following a tutorial from scratch when installing iis like this one. Third, test the IIS installation locally by typing “localhost” in your web browser.

      If you have any specific questions and you’re stuck at a certain point, don’t hesitate to reply. It’s just that it’s very hard for me to get into specifics without knowing configuration on your end.

  21. dint work for me….i was prompted again for the cd……is there any other alternative

  22. didn’t work for me too..
    i have windows xp pro SP2, japanese version. it doesn’t have an i386 folder under C:\Windows, tried copying i386 folder from another computer (same japanese version xp pro SP2) but it still doesn’t work. please help thanks!

    • Hi jol and manchiksu,

      If you don’t have an i386 folder you can download the SP2 installer and extract it as demonstrated here.

  23. Hi,
    I don’t know this site before. I don’t know why but I also CAN install IIS on Window XP SP2 without having CD. The computer didn’t request anything. But, how can I test IIS to know that I have done correctly? Cause I’m working with WEBORB (used in flex application development) and it seems that there’s something wrong at IIS.

  24. Am not able to install IIS. while instalinf iis its asking sp3 cd. but i dont have the cd.So how to install please help me.

  25. I have extracted windows SP2 and gave path to i386 folder ..i m giving it exact the right path of the file but still it’s not working…same error comes that file can’t be copied.

    Even i downloaded that file separately from internet…and gave path to that file…it’s same …. :S like It’s blind :S

    help me please

  26. Hi,
    I tried with the CD, the folder exists in the CD and the file it is looking exists in the folder, but still it gives me an alert asking for the file again & again. Do you know why it is not picking the file?

  27. Hello,
    See this will help u in installing the IIS

    Repair the file by following the procedure below.
    1. Make a backup copy of the secedit.sdb file.
    2. Open a command prompt by clicking Start, Run, and then typing “cmd” and pressing Enter.
    3. Type or copy and paste the following command
    esentutl /p %windir%\security\database\secedit.sdb
    and press Enter. Click “OK” when presented with “Repair” warning. Wait for repair to finish.
    4. Return to the dialog described in the Symptom section of this article, make sure that specified folder contains Windows installation files and click OK. Installation of IIS component(s) should continue normally.

  28. Got it to work! Thanks.

    I’ve got SP3, I had to do it twice – ie. I found the folder at c:\i386, pressed ok, it tried, stopped, asked me again to insert DC. I cleared it out and put c:\i386 again, hit ok and it worked!

  29. Very helpful – thanks!!
    Needed to download and unpack SP3 first and point IIS-installation to that location like explained at

  30. Great solution… thanks for the tip.

  31. Hi Trying to Install IIS server on my laptop, I already have XP2 Service Pack already installed on my Laptop. While Intalling IIS Add remove pgm. I give path C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 , Installation does not start. Can you help me with the Installation

  32. Fortunately I Installed IIS server on my Laptop using online files, it is working fine, However my next problem is I created a virtual directory with name Mytest under Inetpub-> wwwroot . when I type http://localhost/MyTest it gives error “HTTP 401.3 – Access denied by ACL on resource
    Internet Information Services”
    How to get this problem resolved

  33. You have to download SP2 then extract the contents (which is the i386 folder) then you can point to that when you browse for the windows xp CD.

  34. I have a SP2 CD. when I install IIS to XP Server Package 3 computer, the computer ask me to install SP3 CD, I just browser the path to the cd folder, like: D:\i386, then click ok. It is WORK! Cheer!

    Try it, hope it helpful.

  35. This worked for me! Tried a lot of more complicated things first.

  36. Hey not working at all though i have i386 folder

  37. its not working.i hav SP3 & i386 is in C:\Windows\Drivercache
    when i click ok nothing happens.

  38. Thanks, this was helpful.

  39. Hi,
    I don’t have SP2 CD and also I didnt find the I386 folder in (C:\Windows) path. please suggest me how could I install IIS.

  40. Hi,
    Great article, thanks.
    One mention though, the i386 folder was in C:\ not C:\Windows, should anyone else find the issue.

    Thanks again.🙂

  41. Hi
    When I do this it finds the folder the first time but when it asks for the CD for a second time when I browse the folder there is nothing in it and its looking for a file named: ADMXPROX which is not in the I386 folder ??? any help 

  42. hi,
    Anyone can explain it clearly…i don’t hv i386 folder..

  43. its not working for winxp sp2…..

  44. Wow, amazing🙂 works well…

  45. it’s not working

  46. in winxp sp3 it doesnt even ask me for the cd but its not working….
    some help please

  47. Hurray.I got it atlast >please use below link and copy the attached file from rapidpro.

    Surely it will work.

    I had XP SP2

  48. ddf


  50. Hii

    Even i am unable to install this as have told.

    Please help me for this…

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  52. worked great. My files were c:/i386. I ran it the first time and it prompted me for the directory-changed it to C:/i386- hit next. Looked like it was working but gave me the prompt again. I just repeated the step and it installed.

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  56. brilliant. thank you

  57. Windows 7 or Vista has Built-in IIS 7

  58. hey …i tried it…but i m confused with one thing that in c:\windows there are so many I386 folders and files…which file or folder i should pick from the directory…..plz suggest me….

  59. good morning,
    iis dosent exist whith cd/dvd windows xp sp3,
    who find it in a web please?

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  61. It worked perfectly for me. Thanks! You saved me a hell of a job trying to find my xp install disc🙂

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  63. It worked for meeee……Thanks a ton😀

  64. thanks it worked…..

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