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Install Windows XP Home or Professional

Configuring Windows XP

When you install Windows XP, and as the installation progresses, you will have to provide information about how to configure the operating system. Thorough planning before you start your installation or reinstallation of Windows XP can help you to avoid any problems during the installation process. An understanding of the configuration options will also help you to properly configure your computer system.

Here are some of the most important things you should take into consideration before you install Windows XP:

1. Check your PC is more than capable or running XP.

2. Have at least 1 or 2GB of memory for better performance.

3. Check hardware and software compatibility.

4. Consider any Disk Partitioning Options you might need.

5. Choose the appropriate File System: FAT32, NTFS.

6. Decide on a Workgroup or Domain Installation.

7. Have graphics and sound card drivers available.

8. Make a note of the Windows product key, you'll need it later.

You can install Windows XP Home/Professional in several ways, depending on your needs and your limitations.

With manual installations you normally have three choices:

  • Boot from CD - no existing partition is required.
  • Boot from 6 Setup Boot Disks, then insert the CD
    - no existing partition is required (

  • Boot from an MS-DOS startup floppy, go to the command prompt, create a 4GB FAT32 partition with FDISK, reboot, format the C: partition you've created, then go to the CD drive, go into the I386 folder, and run the WINNT.EXE command.

You can also install XP over an already installed Operating System, such as Windows NT 4.0 Server. From within NT 4.0 go to the I386 folder on the Windows installation CD and run the WINNT32.EXE command.

If you decide to upgrade a desktop Operating System such as Windows 98 into a Windows 2000 Professional set up you can follow the same procedure as above (Please Note: You cannot upgrade Windows 98 into W2K Server).

It doesn't matter how you run the setup process. The moment it runs - all setup methods look alike.

Here's the entire process:

Start your computer from the Windows XP CD.

As your computer starts to run Windows setup you'll be able to install additional SCSI adapters or other mass-storage devices by pressing F6 . If you do need to install these drivers you'll be asked to supply a floppy disk containing the drivers and you cannot browse to it (or a CD for that matter). Make sure you have a floppy disc ready to hand.

The main setup process begins by loading a blue text screen. In this phase you'll be asked to accept the EULA licensing and choose a partition on which to install Windows XP, and if that partition is new, you'll be asked to format it by using either FAT, FAT32 or NTFS.

Setup will now load all the needed files and drivers.

Set Up Select To Setup Windows XP Home/Professional Now and hit Enter. At this stage, If you have a previous installation of XP, you can try to fix it by pressing R. If not, just press Enter.

Read and accept the licensing agreement and press F8.

Select or create the partition on which you will install Windows XP. Depending upon your existing disk configuration choose one of the following:

Create Partition If the hard disk is not partitioned, you can create and size the partition on which you will install Windows XP.

If the hard disk is already partitioned, but has enough unpartitioned disk space, you can create an additional partition in the un partitioned space.

If the hard disk already has a partition that is large enough, you can install Windows on that partition.

If the partition already has an existing operating system, you will overwrite that operating system if you accept the default installation path. However, files other than the operating system files, such as program files and data files, will not be overwritten.

If the hard disk has an existing partition, you can delete it to create more unpartitioned space for the new partition. Deleting an existing partition erases all data on that partition.

If you select a new partition during Setup, create and size only the partition on which you will install Windows XP. After installation, use Disk Management (Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disc Management) to partition the remaining space on the hard disk.

After you create the partition on which you will install Windows XP, you can use Setup to select the file system with which to format the partition. Windows XP supports the NTFS file system in addition to the file allocation table (FAT) and FAT32 file systems.

Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Home/Professional, Windows 2000, and Windows NT are the only Microsoft operating systems that you can use to gain access to data on a local hard disk that is formatted with NTFS. If you plan to gain access to files that are on a local Windows XP partition with the Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98 operating systems, you should format the partition with a FAT or FAT32 file system.

Setup will then begin copying necessary files from the installation point (CD, local I386 or network share).

The computer will restart in graphical mode, and the installation will continue.

The Graphical User Interface (GUI) based portion of the Setup program now begins.

The setup process reboots and loads a GUI mode phase.

It will then begin to load device drivers based upon what it finds on your computer. You don't need to do anything at this stage.

Click Customize if you want to change any regional settings.

Current System Locale - Affects how programs display dates, times, currency, and numbers. Choose the locality that matches your location.

Current Keyboard Layout - Accommodates the special characters and symbols used in different languages. Your keyboard layout determines which characters appear when you press keys on the keyboard.

If you don't need to make any changes just press Next.

Type your name and organization. Only your name is required.

Type the product key. This is usually found on the back of the CD folder in retail versions of Windows XP, and on a holographic label with the OEM versions purchased with a piece of hardware. Write this key down and secure it in a safe place in case the original is misplaced or accidentally destroyed.

Type the computer name and a password for the local Administrator account.

Select the date, time, and time zone settings.

If you don't need to make any changes just press Next.


Final Set Up Phase

Setup will now install any networking components.

After a few seconds you will receive the Networking Settings window. If XP cannot detect your network card or if you don't have a network card at all, setup will skip this step and you will immediately go to the final phase of the setup process.

Choose Network Settings Press Next to accept the Typical settings option if you have one of the following situations:

  • You have a functional Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol on your network (the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) automates the assignment of IP addresses, subnet masks, default gateway, and other IP parameters).
  • You have a computer running Internet Connection Sharing (ICS).
  • You're in a workgroup environment and all other workgroup members are configured in the same manner.

Otherwise, select Custom Settings and press Next to customize your network settings.

Keep the TCP/IP, Client for Microsoft Networks and the File and Print Sharing options selected.

Highlight the TCP/IP selection and press Properties.

In the General tab enter the required information. You must specify the IP address of the computer, and if you don't know what the Subnet Mask entry should be - you can simply place your mouse pointer over the empty area in the Subnet Mask box and click it. Windows will automatically select the value it thinks is good for the IP address you provided.

If you don't know what these values mean, or if you don't know what to write in them, press cancel and select the Typical Settings option. You can easily change these values later.

In the Workgroup or Domain window enter the name of your workgroup or domain.

A workgroup is a small group of computers on a network that enables users to work together and does not support centralized administration.

A domain (Windows Professional set up) is a logical grouping of computers on a network that has a central security database for storing security information. Centralized security and administration are important for computers in a domain because they enable an administrator to easily manage computers that are geographically distant from each other. A domain is administered as a unit with common rules and procedures. Each domain has a unique name, and each computer within a domain has a unique name.

If you're a stand-alone computer, or if you don't know what to enter, or if you don't have the sufficient rights to join a domain - leave the default entry selected and press Next.

If you want to join a domain enter the domain's name in the "Yes, make this computer a member of the following domain" box.

To successfully join a Windows Professional domain you need the following:

The person performing the installation must have a user account in Active Directory. This account does not need to be the domain Administrator account.


The computer must have an existing computer account in the Active Directory database of the domain that the computer is joining, and the computer must be named exactly as its domain account is named.


The person performing the installation must have appropriate permission to create a domain account for the computer during installation.

Also, you need to have connectivity to the domain's domain controllers.

Enter the Active Directory domain name (in the form of xxx.yyy, for example: QBS.NET) or the NetBIOS name of the NT 4.0 domain (in the form of xxx, for example: QBS). Press Next.

Note: If you provide a wrong domain name or do not have the correct connectivity to the domain's DNS server you will get an error message.

A username/password window will appear. Enter the name and password of the domain's administrator (or your own if you're the administrator on the target domain).

Note: Providing a wrong username or password will cause this phase to fail.

Next the setup process will finish copying files and configuring the setup. You do not need to do anything.

After the copying and configuring phase is finished, if XP finds that you have a badly configured screen resolution it will advise you to change it and ask you if you see the new settings right.

The minimum supported screen resolution in XP is 800X600.

Setup finishes and boots Windows XP

A Welcome screen is the first thing you see when Windows starts. The computer checks your Internet connectivity (required for the mandatory Activation and voluntary Registration processes).

You will be asked to register your copy of XP.

If you are running Windows XP Professional you will be asked to supply the default username that will log onto this computer. You can enter as many as 5 users, but you can create more after the installation is finished (Control Panel - User Accounts).

Select User Names The Administrator is not shown as a valid logon option under the Windows XP Professional Welcome Screen. This is a security feature but can be overridden. (read more about it online by typing 'Add the Administrator's Account to the Welcome Screen in XP Pro' into a search engine like Google).

The installation is now complete!

A Few Post Installation Tasks

Immediately run Windows Update to bring sure your system is up-to-date.

Test your hardware devices. Open up Device Manager (Open the Control Panel - System and select the Hardware Tab and then Device Manager). Make sure that all of your hardware was detected and has working drivers. If any do not, as evidenced by a yellow exclamation mark next to the hardware device's name, right-click the device and choose Update Driver. This will launch the Hardware Update Wizard. The first time around, ensure the XP CD-ROM is still in the drive, and try the option titled Install the software automatically (Recommended).

If this doesn't work, visit the hardware maker's site and see if there is an updated XP-compatible driver.

Note that Windows XP will properly function with hardware drivers designed for Windows 2000, but not those for Windows 9x/Me. If a hardware maker offers a 2000 driver, you should be able to use that, although there might be some minor problems.

Set up your users. By default Windows XP Home sets up each user as an Administrator with no password. This is unacceptable and can be dangerous. Launch User Accounts from the Control Panel, and individually select each account and supply a password, change the picture, and, optionally, change the account type. You can select from Computer administrator and Limited account types from this tool, but XP Professional has a more advanced user configuration tool that lets you select other account types, such as Power User, User, and Replicator. In general, it's OK to leave your account as a computer administrator, but you might consider limiting other family members that might access your PC. At the very least, make sure all users have a strong password.

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