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Windows Me > Installing Windows Me

Windows Me Clean Installation


The best way to install a Windows upgrade is usually to do a clean install, especially if your original Windows installation has been in use for some time. The only problem with Windows Me involves the fact that it has a smaller driver database then Windows 98/SE. So if you have an older system, you have to be really careful that your hardware is supported by Me.

Follow the instructions under Pre Installation on the first page of this article. Now you also have to create a boot disk, since you are going to format your hard disk. The best is a Windows 98 bootdisk, since these support booting with CD-ROM support (Windows 95 bootdisks do not). You can create a Windows 98 bootdisk by going to Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel, select the Startup Disk tab to get started.

Next, you'll want to test your bootdisk, to make sure you will be able to boot your PC and access your CD-ROM. So restart your computer with the bootdisk in the floppy drive, and choose the first option to boot your computer with CD-ROM support. If your computer doesn't seem to boot from the floppy disk, it is possible that you have to set the Boot Sequence in your computers BIOS. Refer to your manual on how to do this. If you can access the CD-ROM, you are ready to go!

I presume that you have made a full backup of all your data (in case you need to wipe your hard disk), and you have all your software installation disks/CD's ready.

If you have the Windows Millennium Edition upgrade (or Step-Up) product (rather than the "full" version, such as the one that comes installed on a new computer), you will need to have your previous Windows CD handy, because the Upgrade Compliance Check asks you to show proof of possession of a qualifying earlier version of Windows. You do not have to install the older version first, but you must insert the disk to show the Setup program that you have it. The Windows 95 or Windows 98/SE CD product disk, or Windows 95 floppy disks work for this purpose.

If you are installing Windows Me on a new hard drive, you will first need to partition the drive.

To partition the drive, you use a program called Fdisk that's on the Startup Disk.

Note: Always follow the Fdisk on-screen prompts carefully. The program tells you how to maneuver through the menus, when to press the ESC key to go back, when you need to restart your computer, and so on.

To partition the hard disk:

  1. At the A command prompt, type fdisk, and then press [Enter]. If the hard disk is larger than 512MB, Fdisk asks whether to enable Large Disk Support:

    • If you want to install other operating systems on this computer, you need to know whether they can read FAT32. If they cannot, choose No. Operating systems such as Windows NT(R) 4.0 or the original Windows 95, for example, cannot read FAT32, but Windows 98 and 2000 can.
    • If you don't plan to install operating systems other than Windows Me or Windows 2000, you will probably want to use Large Disk Support. It allows you to create partitions larger than 2GB (which is the limit for FAT16) and provides greater file storage efficiency.

  2. When you are prompted about enabling Large Disk Support, type Y or N, and then press [Enter]. The Fdisk main menu appears.

  3. At the command prompt, type 1 to create a Primary partition. You are then asked whether you want to use the maximum space (the entire drive):

    • If you choose Yes, this uses up to 2GB for a FAT16 partition or the entire drive for a FAT32 partition.
    • If you choose No, you can specify how large you want the partition to be.

    If you want to use only part of the drive as the Primary partition, you can return to this menu later to choose Option 2 to create the Extended partition. When you choose Option 2, you are prompted whether to use the remainder of the drive; then follow the prompts through the process of creating logical drives in that partition. Continue with this process until all the space is used up on the hard disk.

  4. Optionally, to make the Primary partition "Active", select Option 2 from the Fdisk main menu. Follow the instructions.

    The Active partition is the partition that the computer boots from. You need to set the Active partition if you created both Primary and Extended partitions. If you created only a Primary partition, it will automatically be set to Active.

  5. When all this is finished, press the [ESC] key to exit Fdisk. When you are prompted to start your computer, leave the bootdisk disk in the A drive and restart your computer by using the power switch or by pressing [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del]

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