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XP Activation

To see if your copy of XP is activated;

Type this into “Run” on your Start Menu to see if your copy of windows is activated.

oobe/msoobe /a





Installing Windows XP


From A “Fresh Install” - To A “XP Upgrade”

Always be sure to go to the Microsoft update site and download the security updates. And any other downloads deemed necessary!



Part 1. Steps for a clean install of Windows XP

Part 2. Steps for an Windows XP upgrade

 Part 1.

Make sure you are ready for the switch over

  1.  Make a list of the hardware in your system and the software you use. If you're unsure and already have Internet access on the system, go to Belarc Advisor, and get an online listing of your systems specifications. If this is a newly built system, then you should have a list of your hardware.
  2. Check the manufacturer's website to find out if there are drivers for your hardware. Pay close attention to printers, scanners, pen tablets, and so on, and for software compatibility. For newly built systems, you should have driver disks that came with the hardware. You probably won't need them, but if you do, Windows 2000 drivers will usually work.
  3. Back up any existing data.
  1. First, you're going to need to change your BIOS boot order to boot from CD-ROM. Once you do this you'll then be able to boot your computer from the Installation CD.
  2. After changing the boot order in BIOS, save the changes, and then reboot your computer. Make sure your Installation CD is in your CD-ROM. If it is you'll be prompted to press your space bar to directly boot from CD-ROM emulation. Press your space bar as soon as you see this message.
  3. Wait a few minutes while the installation begins to copy the preliminary setup files to your computer. After this completes you'll be ready to start directing the install process.
  4. You will be asked if you want to perform a new installation, repair an existing installation, or quit. In this case, you will be performing a new install. Press the correct key to perform a new installation.
  5. Read the terms of the end user license agreement, and press F8 to agree.
  6. The next phase of the installation is real similar to that of Windows 2000. So, if you're familiar with the Windows 2000 installation process this should be a cinch.

Basically, you need to decide which partition of your hard drive you will install Windows XP on. You will have the opportunity to create and/or delete partitions or just allocate the available disk space to one partition. However, try to keep your partitions within reasonable size.

Some recommend using multiple partitions of 10 to 20GB, preferably on more than one hard drive. This will help you back up your data and optimize system performance later on down the road. Once you have figured out which partition XP will be installed on its time to format it.

  1. Choose to format the partition to either FAT32 or NTFS,  (NTFS is recommended for single OS install). You'll also see two additional choices to perform a quick format of each option. Stick with doing a full format of either option instead. After you've determined which option is right for you, press the correct key to format the partition.
  2. This would be a good time to take a break and come back in a few minutes. The setup program will automatically start copying files after the partition is formatted.

From this point on, you're going to see each and every file name that's being copied over to your hard drive appear in the lower left corner. As the file names go from A to Z, the installation completion percentage will increase.

  1. Choose the region and language.
  2. Type in your name and organization.
  3. Enter your product license key.
  4. Name the computer, and enter an Admin password. Don't forget to write down your Administrator password. After the installation is complete it would be extremely wise to create a Password Restore Disk in the event you forget your Administrator password someday.
  5. Enter the correct date and time.
  6. Choose your network settings. Leave on automatic if you use a dhcp server to assign IP addresses. If you have static IP address for broadband access, enter the settings that your ISP has provided you.
  7. Choose workgroup or domain name.
  8. Register this copy of Windows XP if you've installed all the current hardware on your machine. Otherwise, wait until you've finished installing any additional hardware so you don't have to activate your copy of XP again.
  9. Add users that will sign on to this computer.
  10. Log in, and update drivers.

Driver install

XP found drivers for all of the hardware in test machines, with the exception of a wireless network adapter that was added.  Update all drivers that had updates available for download.  It takes about 30 minutes to perform this installation. After that, you will be a few personalized settings away from getting started on your XPerience. With a little use, the GUI even starts to grow on you.



Part 2.

Upgrade vs. clean install

 As with other versions of Windows, you have the option of performing a clean install or an upgrade from a previous version of Windows. The upgrade pack will allow you to do both. But, you must have a copy of the full version of your current operating system if you want to perform a clean install using an upgrade disk.

 A clean install is a nice way of saying that you'll be erasing the entire contents of your hard drive and starting over from scratch. We only recommend a clean install if -- for some reason -- the upgrade fails.

 Formatting a hard drive and starting over isn't a complicated process once you know how, but it does require extensive patience and time to follow through from beginning to end.

 After determining your upgrade eligibility, it's time get down and dirty with XP. Just like previous releases of Windows, Microsoft is selling XP Home Edition Upgrade for $99.

 This release was designed with the average user in mind. It doesn't feature some of the more advanced networking options and remote file-sharing capabilities. Pick up a copy of XP Professional Upgrade for $199 if you're looking for those features.


Back up all data and settings


 The first step along the upgrade path is to back up all your data, settings, and anything else you can't compute without. 

 After you've fully backed up all your important files and settings it's time to begin. Insert your upgrade disk into your CD-ROM. You'll notice the CD-ROM will automatically launch the installation menu. For now, minimize the menu. We're going to look at something else: Read1st.txt.

 Read first file The Read1st.txt file is located in the Docs folder of your XP CD-ROM. Start by locating this file and examining its contents. The Read1st.txt file will contain last-minute information that didn't make it into other documentation and a roadmap on which to find other useful XP information.

 Now that you've become close to XP’s entire read me files it's time maximize the installation menu and proceed.

 Look at the installation menu. It offers three main options:

  • Install Windows XP
  • Perform additional options
  • Check system compatibility

 Even though it doesn't specifically say "Upgrade to XP" anywhere it is there.

 Here's a general roadmap for performing an upgrade to Windows XP:

  1. Insert the disk. This should automatically launch the installation menu.
  2. Next, click the green arrow or text next to it labeled "Install Windows XP."

This will launch the first process titled "Collecting Information" which quickly identifies if you're eligible for an upgrade.

  1. Next, you should see a popup window welcoming you to the Windows setup.
  2. Make sure the "Installation Type" pull-down menu reads "Upgrade (Recommended)."
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Click the radio button next to "I accept this agreement."
  5. Click the Next button.
  6. Enter your 25-character registration code.
  7. Click the Next button.
  8. You'll be prompted to display an upgrade report after the installation. Leave the recommended setting alone. Choose one of the other two options if you need to have more complete or no information at all.
  9. Click the Next button to proceed to "Dynamic Update."


Dynamic update


 The dynamic update will go online and download updated installation files that have been released after your copy of XP was made. Choose to download files from the Internet only if you have a broadband connection. Otherwise, just skip this section and choose to update after your install.

  1. Choose the dynamic update option that best suits your needs.
  2. Click the Next button to proceed to "Preparing Installation."


Preparing installation


 After a few minutes you should receive a read-out of how much time is estimated to complete the installation process. This would be a good time to take a break if you need to, because you're about to be bombarded with all the wonderful new features inside XP.

 You'll soon witness the installation beginning to copy all its setup files. When this is completed your computer will automatically restart itself. You'll then be prompted to choose an installation of Windows you'd like to start.

 Don't worry. You don't have to choose anything; Windows will automatically proceed with the correct version within a few seconds.

 You should now see the beautiful XP logo while your computer is booting up. The installation will finish copying all setup files and then restart itself. After restarting you'll be into the next phase, "Installing Windows."


Installing Windows


 You will notice a slight difference in your display properties. The setup will continue copying installation files and other components over to your hard drive. If you're paying attention, you'll notice that your screen may flicker a few times during this process. That's OK and a good indication that the setup is almost ready for you to name your computer.

 Next, you'll be asked to come up with a wonderful new name for your computer if the old name doesn't meet the new standards. Pick a name and then click the Next button to continue copying all the Network components.


Finalizing installation


 If you've reached this phase you're done. Congratulations on a successful upgrade to Windows XP. You should now see the "Tour Windows" screen. Click the Next button at the bottom to proceed to the activation process.

 Windows Product Activation (WPA) is the last step along the XP upgrade path. We recommend holding off on the product activation until you've finished installing any other additional hardware.

 This will bypass having to activate your product again after making any changes to your hardware configuration. Click the Finish button to proceed to setting up your user accounts.


Final step


 The final step is to name your user accounts. Do this now and then click the Next button to finally see your new desktop.

“You're done”

Finally, use Windows XP for a few days and make sure that everything works properly. Once you're positive that all is well, you can go into Control Panel and then Add or Remove Programs and remove the option to revert to your old operating system. This could save a lot of disk space, but don't do this until you're sure you won't want to go back.

Where to go from here...
Hopefully, everything went well and you're all set. But remember that a 9x/Me to XP upgrade isn't the optimal way to move to XP, and if it's possible, I recommend going the clean install route.






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