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Windows XP, Installing and Setup

By: Arie Slob


The first thing you need to do is to check your systems specifications to see if they meet the minimum requirements to run Windows XP. According to Microsoft, these are the minimum specifications:

  • PC with 233MHz processor clock speed required; 300-MHz - Intel Pentium/Celeron family, AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
  • 64MB RAM minimum supported (may limit performance and some features); 128 MB of RAM or more recommended
  • 1.5GB of available hard disk space
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) resolution video adapter and monitor
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Now you should be safe if you have at least a 300MHz Pentium II processor (or compatible), and your RAM should really be 128MB minimum, but with current RAM prices, I'd recommend 256MB (at current prices that would set you back less then $50). Windows XP (unlike Windows 9x/Me) will love your RAM, and take advantage of every single bit (up to 4GB max). I would also get a bigger (and faster) hard drive. Once installed Windows XP can easily take up a gigabyte of space.

Home Edition vs. Professional

I have written previously about the differences between the Home Edition and Professional versions of Windows XP.

Windows Update Advisor

Next I would suggest that you run the Windows Update Advisor. This advisor is available for Download from Microsoft, but you have to realize that it's a large download at nearly 32MB, so it might not be advisable to download if you don't have broadband (DSL, Cable) Internet access.

If you have access to a Windows XP CD-ROM, running setup.exe will give you a menu, one of the choices being offered is Check system compatibility. Choosing this option will give you another two options, the first is Check my system automatically, the second options is to Visit the compatibility Web site. Choosing Check my system automatically will do just that, and give you a report when the process is done.

The report generated will tell you if your system (hardware & software) is suitable for Windows XP. You'll get a list of any programs which may cause problems. Just follow the advice from the Upgrade Advisor.

Hardware Compatibility List

This is the place to check and see if a piece of hardware has been (positively) tested with Windows XP. You can search the Hardware Compatibility List on Windows Marketplace. If your hardware is not listed there, it doesn't mean that it won't run, but there is a chance that you could run into some problems. In that case, check with the manufacturer of the hardware for a Windows XP driver. If a Windows XP driver isn't available, you can use a Windows 2000 driver. Windows XP will throw some warnings at you that you are about to install a driver which is not verified for Windows XP (well, we already knew that!); just select Install anyway.

Upgrade your BIOS

You should also check with the manufacturer of your system's motherboard for the latest BIOS version, and if a newer version exists, update your BIOS. For more information on updating your BIOS check the manual of your computer/motherboard.

Get the latest drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers for your hardware by visiting the manufacturers' Web sites. This applies specifically to Network Adapters, Modems, and Hard Drive Controllers.

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