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Clean Installation of Windows XP

1. System Requirements:

Check to insure that your system meets the minimum requirements for Windows XP:

2. Compatibility:

Check to insure that your hardware and software are compatible with the XP Operating System:

If you have not yet purchased the XP operating system, it may be a good idea to run the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor to check your software and hardware compatibility. It is a free download and could save you a lot of money in the event your software and hardware are not compatible. This is the same utility that comes bundled with the Windows XP Operating System CD and runs before it is installed. 

Note: If you are on a dialup connection, this will not be a good idea as this utility is a large download.

Windows XP Upgrade Advisor

You will also find lots of hardware and software compatibility information along with driver updates at:
Windows Hardware and Driver Central.

If you do not have your hardware specification, you can download the Belarc Advisor. This is a small utility available for free download right here at 5 Star Support. The Belarc Advisor builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.

Author:
Belarc
License:
Freeware 
Version:
6.1f
Size:
605KB
Requires:
All Windows

Browsers: Requires IE 3 or Netscape 3, and higher versions. Also runs on Opera, Mozilla, and Firebird.

Download Belarc Advisor version 6.01f

3. Booting Options:

The Windows XP installation CD is bootable. If you are not able to configure your computer to boot from the CD-ROM, then it is possible that your system is not compatible.

4. Start the Installation:

Insert your Windows XP Installation CD. 

If Windows automatically detects the Installation CD, you will soon be prompted with a "Press any key to boot from CD" message. You will have 5 seconds to hit any key. If you've delayed too long, your computer will continue to start from the hard disk. 

Once you have pressed any key, files will begin to load from the installation CD. You will soon be asked what type of installation you wish to perform:

  • New Installation
  • Repair an existing installation

Since this tutorial teaches a clean installation, choose "New Installation". 

You will then be prompted to agree to the End User License Agreement (EULA). You cannot continue without accepting. Press F8 to continue. Feel free to read the EULA if you want, but make sure you take breaks every hour or so.

The next screen will show the available partitions where you can install XP. Here you have the ability to create/delete partitions or just allocate the available space to one partition. If you choose to create multiple partition for whatever purpose, be sure to create them with sufficient size. I recommend partitions between 4-10 GB of size depending on what your plans are. If you plan to install a second Operating System, then an 8 to 10 GB partition would be best, but if your plans are merely to use a partition for backup purposes, then 4 to 6 GB may work fine.

Once your have chosen the partition you wish to install XP on, you will now need to format it to a file system. The choices are:

  • Fat32:

A new version of the file allocation table (FAT) available in Windows 95 OSR 2 and Windows 98. FAT32 increases the number of bits used to address clusters and also reduces the size of each cluster. The result is that it can support larger disks (up to 2 terabytes) and better storage efficiency (less slack space).

  • NTFS:

Short for New Technology File System, one of the file system for the Windows NT operating system (Windows NT also supports the FAT file system). NTFS has features to improve reliability, such as transaction logs to help recover from disk failures. To control access to files, you can set permissions for directories and/or individual files. NTFS files are not accessible from other operating such as DOS. 

The most common file system for a single operating system installation is NTFS.

You will need to make a choice of the different formatting options. I recommend that you perform a FULL format of whichever file system that you've chosen. Once the format is complete, the installation will continue.

You will now see all of the files loading to your hard drive from the installation CD. Once the files are loaded, Windows will automatically reboot your system. When you are given the "Press any key to boot from CD" message, do not hit any key. Just let your system continue loading to your hard drive.

You will be prompted from time to time to enter in specific setup information such as:

  • Region and Language
  • Name and Organization
  • Product License Key
  • Date and Time
  • User Name and Password 

Note: Be sure to write down and save your user name and password. Create a Password Reset Disk just in case you forget your password.

Eventually, Windows will reboot your system again. It will take you directly to the Windows Activation screen. You will be given the option to activate now or within a 30 day period. I recommend you take the time to activate your copy now. If you don't, you will be bothered by on-screen reminders. 

Caution: Be sure to activate a firewall application or install SP2 from a disk prior to connecting to the Internet. Connecting a fresh XP installation that does not have any updates will be attacked by Spyware and Worms.

Congratulations! Your Windows XP Installation is complete! Enjoy.

5. Updates:

I have supplied the following links to aide you in locating any updates your installation may require:

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