Setting up an XP gaming rig


Active Member
Hi all.
I have quite a few older PC games from the XP era, which are becoming less compatible with modern hardware and operating systems. Particularly those using DRM which Windows 7 purposely broke compatibility with a few years ago.
Rather than increasingly mess around with software hacks to try and get everything working, my idea is to use what's in my junk box to set up a dedicated Windows XP machine, so as to run the old software in its native habitat. The modern PC can then be stripped of any ancient software and updated without any problems.

I have an old Dell E520 which served well previously, plus a good enough graphics card, redundant hard drive and a Windows XP license code, so that should get me going. Am I better staying with 32-bit to ensure compatibility with older 1990s games? The motherboard is limited to 4gb of RAM anyway so can't see any advantage to going 64-bit here.

What I want to do is to set it up alongside my modern machine and have a switch of some sort to use the same mouse and keyboard for convenience. As for security, I guess the best option is to quarantine it entirely from the outside world, and transfer software patches etc to it via USB stick. Isolating it from the network isn't quite as convenient but should eliminate any problems with such an old OS.


Well-known Member
I did this a couple of years back and it's great to have. 32-bit is the way to go and I also have the system running offline for physical disc games. The single best thing you can get for setting the system up is Snappy Driver Installer. It has the drivers for pretty much any motherboard, gpu and audio device for XP and will install them automatically. I found it through this video:

With the KVM idea, this will work but you might have to make compromises on what you use. The XP gpu will likely have a VGA or DVI output compared to the HDMI or DP on the modern machine. My Logitech keyboard and mouse don't work with XP so I just have a more basic keyboard and mouse that I use with the older machine.

Everything works like a dream on the XP machine with all of the correct drivers installed though. Never had a problem with any of the physical games and have a great time playing them through. Mine is running an E8400 dual core with a GTX285 and 4GB ram but you don't need anything massively powerful if you avoid more modern games.


Distinguished Member
Why not just use a virtual machine?

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