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Clean Install Windows XP

Rabu, Februari 04, 2009

I’ve made no secret of my feelings about doing upgrade installations of Windows XP. My personal experience has shown that very seldom, if ever, do you realize the full potential of a new operating system when it’s installed as an upgrade. The most meticulous of users can’t guard against all the stray files, drivers, and registry entries that creep into a system through normal use. I see no sense in starting out at a disadvantage. All the little problems that existed before the upgrade are likely to make the transition right along with the new operating system. So, that said, what’s involved in doing a clean install of Windows XP?

The Preparation

A clean install in Windows XP is a very straightforward process. Just as there are certain things that need to be done to ensure a successful upgrade, the same care is needed with a clean install. First, check the requirements for Windows XP. A box that just squeaks by on the minimum requirements is not going to make you happy with XP. Truthfully, it’s a recipe for disaster. XP has many nice features, but they do require a box which has the oomph to power them adequately. Check the requirements for the appropriate version using the links below.

Windows XP Home Edition System Requirements
Windows XP Professional Edition System Requirements

If the computer is up to snuff, the next step is to check the rest of the hardware against the ( Windows XP Hardware Compatibility = http://www.microsoft.com/hcl/ ) List to see if it’s supported. It’s possible, even likely, that one or more of your items won’t be on the list. That doesn’t mean you have to replace them or that they won’t work with XP, but it does mean you should visit the manufacturer site to check for XP drivers. In some cases the Windows 2000 drivers will work just fine. The point is, make sure you have the drivers downloaded and saved where they will be available during the XP installation. Drivers for RAID and SCSI devices fall into this same category. Make sure they are available at the beginning of the installation process.Microsoft has made available on their website some excellent documentation regarding upgrading to Windows XP. I strongly suggest it be read before a final decision is made. A number of other articles are linked from the one below, including a download location for the Microsoft Windows Upgrade Advisor. Even though it's a 35MB download, running it will alert you to any hardware and software problems that may be encountered in your XP installation.

Description of the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor (Q307726)

If you aren’t familiar with the differences between FAT32 and NTFS file systems, now is the time to rectify that situation. This will be the most important decision you have to make during the installation process so a bit of knowledge can be very valuable. See the article linked below.

Description of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP (Q310525)

Make sure that the installation CD’s for every program you use are available as well as the media that qualifies you to be doing a Windows XP installation. Once you wipe the drive there is no magical set of keystrokes that will get your programs and data back, which brings me to the final point for this section. Back up your data, test and verify the backup, and be sure the backup device you used will be available under Windows XP. With the previous tasks completed, it’s onward to the actual installation.

The Installation

There are two methods available for installing Windows XP, both requiring the first step of booting your machine. You’re in luck if the box is capable of booting from the CD-ROM drive since the Windows XP CD’s are bootable. No, XP isn’t available on floppies, and even if it was you’d need a two week vacation to do the installation. If the computer doesn’t support booting from the CD, you’ll need a set of Setup Startup Disks, but here is a final caution before you go this route. Most computers that will be happy running XP have the capability to boot from the CD. It’s probably a red flag if you need the startup disks, so take one more look at the minimum and recommended requirements for running Windows XP. If it’s still a go, download the file that will create the disk sets for either the Home Edition or the Professional Edition. Make the disk set, boot the computer and insert the XP CD to begin the installation.

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