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1. Preparation for installation

It is widely agreed that a clean install is better to perform than an upgrade install. A clean install will replace all of the system files and requires that everything on your system be reloaded (including documents, programs, and any customizations you made). Upgrades are much easier but are messier because they replace and add crucial system files. Driver incompatibilities are also much more common because of the nature of the NT based operating systems (NT 4, 2000, and XP) compared to the old 9x code.

Clean installs are not limited to so called experts and are pretty easy to do. Some patience is required for a clean install since it can take anywhere from 30-70 minutes to just install the operating system and then possibly several more hours to reload all of the programs and documents. A clean install is preferable since it gives your computer a fresh start and eliminates much of the junk that a computer will accumulate over time.

Upgrades are much more convenient and are ideal for people that do not have any means of backing up the data on their system. New computer users may also be intimidated by the clean install so the Upgrade is a much easier method for them. After the Upgrade install, you may have to do some troubleshooting since not all upgrades go smoothly.

If you read through the FAQ about the steps of a clean install but need help or troubleshooting, feel free to post in the Microsoft Forum.

by slash See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2003-02-11 21:22:21

For the average home user, Windows XP Home Edition may be the right version. It basically has everything that a home user would want on their computer.

Don't get the two versions mixed up though, there is really no difference between the core code of Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition. Both versions use the Windows NT Kernel, thus giving you the same stability no matter what version of Windows XP that you choose. Windows XP Professional gives you the same level of administrative power over Windows as Windows 2000 gives you.

Windows XP Pro also gives the following features that Home Edition doesn't.
•SMP support (multi-processor support)
•Roaming user profiles
•Remote desktop
•Access control
•Encrypting file system
•Offline files and folders
•Remote installation service
•Windows server domain support
•Group policy
•Software installation and maintenance
•Multi-lingual user interface support

Simply put...

Average Home Computer User
Windows XP Home Edition

User who likes to tweak or used Windows 2000 at one time or another
Windows XP Professional

There is a great article about this question written by Paul Thurrott. It is located here.

by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2008-12-25 15:06:19

This is one of the most important parts of the process. In the case of a clean install it is absolutely critical that you back up your data onto some type of high-capacity media (Zip Disks, CD-R's,or even an extra partition that will not be disrupted during the formatting process) because it will all be gone after the format. As far as an upgrade, all the data hopefully will be there after but in if something goes terribly wrong it may not be.

Some things that you may want to back up are:

Documents - This can include word processed documents or financial records, etc...

mp3's - Accumulating those mp3's took time and you would not want to lose them.

Saved Games - If you have spent a long time playing your favorite game you would be very disappointed if it was gone when you had your brand new install of XP.

Favorites - This is commonly overlooked and contains all of your bookmarked websites.

Downloads - If you don't have high speed access to the web, you may want to backup your collection of downloads so that you have easy access to them when you are ready to reinstall them again.

E-mail - including your Address Book and any saved mail. You may wish to write down your email settings if you do not remember what they should be.

by slash See Profile
last modified: 2002-05-05 11:50:35

Windows XP Home/Professional

The basics are:
233 MHz CPU, 64MB Ram and 2 GB hard disk space.

Recommended: 300 MHz CPU and 128MB Ram

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

No! You can only upgrade from Windows 98, Windows 98SE, or Windows ME.

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Yes! You can upgrade to Windows XP Professional from Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP Home Edition.

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by trparky See Profile

Microsoft has released Windows XP boot disk images for download. These images include the original release...
Download for Home Edition
Download for Professional

...for Service Pack 1
Download for Home Edition
Download for Professional

...for Service Pack 1A
Download for Home Edition
Download for Professional

...and with the Service Pack 2.
Download for Home Edition
Download for Professional

by Skipdawg See Profile edited by MSeng See Profile
last modified: 2006-07-12 18:20:09

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.

by MSeng See Profile edited by slash See Profile
last modified: 2002-12-07 22:18:59

You should check your manufacturers' web site for any BIOS update that may be available.

by MSeng See Profile