You might have experienced a situation in the past where Windows asked you to put the original Windows installation CD into a computer drive to continue. This could have been the result of a system file scan or because of an installation of an additional software package.
The cause does not really matter here but the problem does. Windows is storing the path of the setup source in the Windows Registry during installation. Changes in computer hardware can then result in an invalid path in the Registry which will throw an error when the files are required.
A fix for the issue is to edit the path in the Windows Registry so that it points again at the right location. The following has only been tested in Windows XP. Windows Vista (and Windows 7) users are encouraged to let us know if it is also working in their operating system.
Press [CTRL R], type [regedit] and hit [enter]. Now navigate to the Windows Registry path
and look for the key [SourcePath]. If the key is listed there check the drive letter and path that is listed as the value. If the key is not there you can simply create it by right-clicking and selecting New > String. The value needs to be the full path to the i386 folder of the Windows installation. This can be on a local hard drive, network drive or removable drive.
Another solution is the portable Setup Source computer program. It can be used to quickly change the setup source of Windows XP and the Windows XP service pack 3. The user only needs to enter the drive letters and path that points to the setup source. A click on the Go button will save the settings to the Registry.
Update: The developer is no longer offering the program for download. I have uploaded the latest available version to our server. You can download it with a click on the following link: Setup Sources
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.