The key to preparing for a successful installation is confirming all of your existing Hardware and Software will function in the new environment. Microsoft has provided a couple different tools to accomplish this:
•An online Hardware Compatibility List. Users can browse to the link and use the search functionality to check for specific hardware: Microsoft HCL•Windows offers a 50MB downloadable "Upgrade Advisor" that can be used prior to purchasing XP. The Upgrade Advisor is a tool that checks your system hardware and software to see if it is ready for upgrade to Windows XP. If you run Upgrade Advisor while you are connected to the Internet, and if your system needs updates that are available on the Windows Update Web site, Upgrade Advisor will find and install the updates for you. Note - This same tool is provided on the Setup CD. Using this list, a user can also check manufacturers web site for updates and download if necessary.
If your hardware is compatible, Windows will automatically install the drivers so you do not need to install each driver off the manufacturers' website. It is recommended though that you install the latest video card drivers from the manufacturer's website to obtain the best performance and stability.