XP Installation Guide
Note: This is only a general guide, in many cases this will be different depending
on what kind of XP installation you are doing.
You did backup all your data, right? If not, do not proceed.
Find your XP installation disk. This might have come with your machine. Your
vendor should have provided one or perhaps you bought one. There are probably
lots of variations of install disks and I can't possibly give you precise instructions.
With any luck what you see here will closely resemble what you see, but there are
no guarantees (have I said that often enough yet?).
There are surely a bunch of other resources on the net that will also guide you
through installing XP. One such site is blackviper.com (see the section at the
bottom of the page). After you all done with your install, you might consider
applying his "Super Tweaks" (be sure to apply the Home or Professional tweaks as
is correct for you).
At some point you'll also be asked for a "product key". Dell puts this on your PC. It
might be on the CD itself. Without it, there's no point in starting. I have two
different disks with XP. Their product codes look completely different as you can
CW876 X55B5 66QKH M6CR2 G1G1Y
Yours will probably look similarly bizarre, but there's no telling for sure. You
won't know for sure, until you get by the product key prompt in 15-45 minutes
Disconnect your machine from the Internet. Unplug the Ethernet cable that goes
into the back of your PC. If you use dial-up, then you don't need to worry about
this now. Don't assume you are safe because you have a router in place. You
probably are reasonably safe, but don't assume so. Disconnect. During the install
your machine is at its most vulnerable. Take no chances, unplug your machine
from the Net for now.
Finally, put the XP installation CD in your CD drive and reboot. Each machine
does this step differently. Often times during the reboot, you'll see something like
Press any key to boot from the CDROM
If you ignore this or are too slow, you'll boot your old system. Sometimes you must
get your BIOS to allow you to boot from a CD. This can be ugly. Hope it isn't. I
can't give you any help here. If you can't get your CD to boot, you are stuck and
need to find a 'guru' to help you out. Don't ask me, I can be of no help.
What follows are my notes from two different scratch installs of XP. Every XP CD
will vary somewhat, so what you see might vary from my notes below. That screen
details are not complete, but are only here to suggest what you might see. Your
action is labeled with a '==>'. Good luck !
Welcome to Setup
* To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER
* To repair a Windows XP installation using
Recovery Console, press R
* To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3
==> You have no choice - press F8
Windows XP Setup
Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an installation
* To repair the selected XP installation, press R
* To continue installing a fresh copy of Windows XP
without repairing, press ESC
==> ESC (always install a fresh copy unless you are really
Windows XP Setup
Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item in the
* To set up Windows XP on the selected item, press ENTER
* To create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press
* To delete the selected partition, press D
[[[ you'll see SOME combination of these lines ]]]
3910 MB Disk 0 etc
C: Partition [NTFS] 3910 MB (1276 MB Free)
Unpartitioned space 3910 MB
C: Partition1 [ New (Raw)] 3000 MB (3000 MB Free)
D: Partition2 [ New (Raw)] 3910 MB ( 909 MB Free)
Not all of the options listed will be on your screen. The idea here is that your disk
drive can be broken into 'partitions' (chunks) which Windows identifies as the C:
and D: drive. You must have a C: drive. In general it's a good idea to have two
partitions. so you can save your data on the D: partition. When you have to re-
install Windows, only the files on C: are destroyed. If you were careful/lucky, you
can save your data on D: and make it easier to restore things after the next install.
You might not even lose data. However, if your drive is less than 10GB (10000
MB), just use one partition (the C:).
If you enter the letter 'D' (delete), you'll have to confirm you want to delete.
Read the screens and delete by eventually typing 'L'. If you decide to make a C:
and D: partition and currently only have a C:, you'll have to first delete C: and then
create a smaller C: and then D: using the rest of drive.
If you enter the letter 'C', you must then decide how big the partition should be.
There is no general guideline here, but using about half your drive for C: is a
Don't get too confused by all this. Heck, you can't get it wrong. It'll Windows will
either install or it won't and you can get back to this point pretty easily. If you
aren't sure about this partition stuff, just make sure you see one C: partition (or
create one for the whole disk) and use that. Your system will work.
Eventually, you should move the highlighted line to C: and press ENTER to
start the install.
Windows XP Setup
Use the UP and DOWN ARROW keys to select the file system
you want and then press ENTER.
* Format the partition using the NTFS file system (quick)
* Format the partition using the FAT file system (quick)
* Format the partition using the NTFS file system
* Format the partition using the FAT file system
Choose the first (NTFS, quick). Formatting will start and then Windows files will
get copied to the disk. Now's a good time to go do something else. This will take 5-
30 minutes. You have now gone past the point of no return. Your machine is
not usable in the slightest now.
After files are copied the machine will reboot. This should avoid booting from the
CD again, but if you find yourself right back at the beginning again (Welcome to
Setup), remove the CD and reboot manually. Now XP starts copying more files to
your disk (you might have to put the CD back in). Note: On the lower left hand
side you might see something like "Setup will complete in approximately: XX
minutes" In my experience this is always wrong.
Regional and Language Options
Probably nothing here for folks in the USA
Personalize Your Software
==> Name: Myfirstname Mylastname
==> Organization: Home
Your Product Key
Enter your product code that I mentioned at the start of
Enter no spaces or dashes. Case does not matter. Here's where you find out if
Windows will play with you. If you don't get this right, your disk has been
formatted and you have an unusable system. How happy are you that Microsoft
chose to ask this question after it screwed up your disk? Note: sometimes this is
not asked for, depends on your CD.
Computer Name and Administrator Password
If you want to name your computer, pick anything you want (short and no blanks is
best). Maybe something like "toms-pc". Always set a password, even if you are at
home and you are the only person using the machine. No, don't pick your name.
When you are done, write it down somewhere where you won't lose it. You'll want
to use this again later cause XP doesn't really set the password you want.
Modem Dialing Information
If you use dialup for net access, you'll know these
if you don't, you won't. They can always be reset later.
In order to proceed you need to provide at least your
Date and Time Settings
The time might be right cause your machine remembered it.
The timezone is almost always wrong as it usually
to Microsoft's timezone. Use the drop down to select the
correct timezone. You really should have this correct.
Before continuing it's time to plug in your network cable, unless you have a dialup
connection. (Actually I'm not 100% if this is necessary, but it seems a good idea
for the next step.) What follows are notes for the network setup using an Ethernet
connection (cable modem/DSL users). If you are using a dialup connection,
then read about dialups here.
==> Typical Settings
This has to do with Ethernet connections, finding out
what your IP address is, your name server etc. For
situations like at home with a router, this is almost
always right. It can be fixed later.
Windows tries to find your network card and set things up. After this is done,
unplug your cable again. Maybe plugging in your cable wasn't even necessary for
this step. In any case, it's time to be paranoid again.
Workgroup or Computer Domain
==> No, this computer is not on a network, or is on a
without a domain. etc.
This parts takes some minutes. Time for another break. Eventually XP will reboot
again like before. When the reboot happens, you can take the CD out.
Welcome to Microsoft Windows
Lets spend a few minutes setting up your computer
Now it really is necessary to plug in your network cable. XP is about to set up
your network connection and it's way easier to let XP figure it out, than for you to
do it later.
How will this computer connect to the Internet?
* Telephone modem
* Digital subscriber line (DSL) or cable modem
* Local area network (LAN)
==> LAN, for most everyone
Most everyone will choose LAN, including people with a router installed. You
HAVE read Security and Your Cable/DSL Modem, right? Modem (dialup) users
should be reading here and will continue with Ready to register with Microsoft?.
Setting up a high speed connection
==> Check 'Obtain IP automatically'
==> Check 'Obtain DNS automatically'
This is for cable modem/DSL users (i.e. a LAN connection).
Ready to register with Microsoft?
At this point I'd say advise to NOT register. You are on the Internet and subject to
attack. Don't waste time with stuff that does not matter, until you install tools to
make your machine safe. Besides I've never seen that registering actually confers
Who will use this computer?
==> 'Your name'
This is asking for a userid for XP so you can login. You MUST have one, even if
you are the only person using the machine. The name can be anything, but you'll
find it useful to use your first name or even your Email account name. If more than
one person will use this machine, you can enter names for them now -- or later.
'Your name' will be the administrator for the machine. You can add other