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Install Windows XP

If booting from CD is impossible, you have the options below.

Download the XP floppy boot disk set from Microsoft.

XP Boot Floppy Set

A common Win98 boot disk can be used to install these OS's.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Start the computer with your chosen boot disk.
  2. Change to the cdrom drive.
  3. Go into the \i386 directory on the cdrom.
  4. Run WINNT.EXE to begin the install process.

If the system you have files and setting on the drive is the one you are clean installing, you should run the Files and Settings Transfer wizard on the XP CD before running setup. Also backup anything you do not have other media to restore from. This also includes software downloaded from the internet that is only accessed from the hard drive. Make sure you have all passwords and serial numbers backed up.

If possible it would be a good idea to use Imaging software like Ghost or Disk Image to create an image of the partition before clean installing. The two mentioned have the ability to restore individual files from the images.

As a final preparation tip, download critical updates and burn to CD or obtain update CD's from Microsoft before running the XP setup.

  • Windows XP Service Pack 1
  • Burn Windows XP SP1a on CD
  • Microsoft Windows Security Update CD ( shipped free of charge )

Detail Steps to Clean Install XP

Configuring your system to boot from CD or you have acquired the necessary boot floppy/floppies; you can now boot the computer and follow the on screen prompts.

Have your CD key available, typical install is around 30 minutes. If setup seems to hang, wait at least 10 minutes + before restarting system. You should experience momentary screen blackouts.

- Power on the computer.

- Insert XP CD into CD drive. (BIOS must support booting from CD and boot order must be set so CD boots before hard drive. If computer does not support booting from CD go for floppy install).

Floppy install:

- Boot from Win98/Me/Special XP install floppy disk with smartdrv.exe added to the boot disk; or the Win XP set of 6 floppy disks.

- From the A Prompt; A:\type: smartdrv.exe. then press ENTER.

- Go to the location of the CD-ROM drive with the XP setup files; go to the i386 folder where you will type: winnt.exe to start setup.

- Setup will start copying files, if you need to install any third-party or RAID drivers press F6 at this time. the copying of files can take awhile.

- Next you will get the option to repair or enter setup, choose to enter setup. Press ENTER.

- Press F8 if you agree to the license.

Setup will scan for previous Windows installations

If you are using the upgrade version of XP on a computer without any version of Windows currently installed, this is where you will replace the XP CD with your qualifying CD, XP setup will scan the qualifying CD and instruct you to replace it with the XP CD to continue XP setup; otherwise, you will not see this screen. Clean install qualifying media can be any of the following Win NT3.51, 4.0, 2000, Win 95, 98, Me.

- Choose the location to install.
If this is a clean hard drive, you can choose to create a partition in the un-partitioned space. At this point, you can allow Setup to use all the space or set a size for the partition.

If the hard drive or partition has a previous installation of XP you want to remove, choose to delete the partition by pressing "D". You will then be prompted to create a new partition in the empty space. This will remove all data from the deleted space.

If you intend to use multiple partitions, or dual boot, this is where you specify the size of the boot partition and or setup location for XP. If you are planning to dual boot XP, I would create a small 100 meg DOS partition for the first primary partition, then an 8 to 10 gig partition for XP. You can partition and format the remaining space after XP is setup from Disk Manager. If you do not intend to dual boot, you can either use all the un-partitioned space, or create an 8 to 10 gig partition for XP and leave the rest free to partition later.

If a fat32 partition larger than 32 gigabyte is desired, the hard drive or partition will need to be created before running XP setup. XP will not create a fat 32 partition larger than 32 gig, but will support one previously created.

- Choose the file system from this screen. If dual booting and you created the small 100 meg partition, make it a fat partition. NTFS is configured at the optimal file size during the initial setup.

- Select F to continue.

- Setup will show a progress box and reboot when copying files is complete.

- From this point, you will follow the on screen prompts.

If you live outside the US, you will probably need to modify the default settings.

- Personalize your XP Enter your Name and Organization.

- Enter the CD Key. The Key is located on the back of the CD folder in the Retail versions, and on a holographic label with the OEM versions purchased with a piece of hardware.

- Choose a name for the computer, this should be a unique name for the computer, especially if it is to be connected to a network. In Pro, you are given the option of creating a password or leaving it blank.

- Set your Time Zone and Time and Date.

- Setup will scan for network.

- If detected you will have the choice to choose a typical configuration or custom. Choose typical if you are unsure.

- For home you will choose your workgroup, if a network is already established and you intend to connect to it, use the existing workgroup name, otherwise, I suggest using the default.

- For Pro, the same goes for Pro as suggested for Home, but you will have the choice to join a Domain, if you do not have a Domain or do not know leave blank.

- Setup will continue and reboot when completed ignore the "Press Any Key".

- The loading XP window will now display after reboot.

- You will see a change display settings, say yes, and accept the setting if you can see the screen after accepting.

- You will see a welcome screen, press next and unfortunately you have to wait for the dialog to finish.

- Set up your internet or network connection.

- This is the Activate, Register screen. You must activate within 30 days of installing XP, but you do not ever have to register, Registration is completely optional and if you do not register, no personal information will be transmitted during activation. If you register, then activation will transmit that information along with the activation. The first Activation is usually done over the internet if the computer is connected to the internet, otherwise, it can be accomplished by copying the alphanumeric string from the activation screen and make a phone call to the on screen supplied phone number. The activation center will then give you a slightly longer number to input into for activation. I suggest you do not activate immediately in case you need to make hard ware changes, or install to a different system within the thirty days, and you will be reminded on boot up until you do.

Blaster worm warning: Do not immediately activate over the internet when asked, enable the XP firewall before connecting to the internet. You can activate after the firewall is enabled. Control Panel - Network Connections. Right click the connection you use, Properties, and there is a check box on the Advanced page.

- Setup users screen. Set at least one user for yourself or the person that will be using the computer.

- Logon to XP and apply Service Pack and Critical updates from Windows Update before installing any software or hardware.

Install your anti-virus software.

Install all applications and setup your email.

Restore from Files and Settings transfer after reinstalling all applications.

Last Updated: April 13, 2004

Last Update: 17 October 2002