Nowadays the computer has become a must have, but what is a computer without an operating system? It's pretty much useless. However, there are people who do not know how to install an operating system. This is where we come in and try to lend a hand by providing to some of our novice users a few pointers about installing the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.
Before beginning the installation please make sure you have collected all of the important disks received when the computer was purchased, which basically means driver disks for: motherboard, audio, video, network adapter (if you have one) and S-ATA (if you have a S-ATA hard disk). If you are installing Windows XP without Service Pack 2, remove your network cable before commencing. Also, if you are reinstalling Windows, please make sure you have moved all important files from your Desktop, My Documents, Program Files and Windows folders.
Now you can start your computer and enter its BIOS (usually by pressing the Delete button). Search for the boot priority section (it should be in the first menu or in Advanced BIOS Featues) and make sure the first boot device is the CD-ROM drive. Now you can insert the Windows XP installation CD in your optical drive and exit the BIOS (Not without saving of course).
Your computer will restart and after a few seconds will ask you to press a key so it can boot from the CD. Press any key to start the Windows XP installation process. After inspecting your computer, you will be asked to press the F6 key if you have a disk for your S-ATA hard drive. It is very important not to skip or miss this step if you do have an S-ATA hard drive!
If you have pressed the F6 key, you will be asked to specify your storage controller. Hit the S key, insert the S-ATA driver disk and press Enter. After copying the needed drivers, you will see to the previous screen again. Just press Enter and let the setup process continue.
When the setup has finished loading files, you will have to choose between setting up Windows, repair an existing Windows installation and exiting the setup. You will of course press the Enter key which brings you to the License Agreement screen. You can agree by pressing F8 or disagree by pressing the Escape key (this will stop the installation process).
The next screen is a partition manager; it will display available partitions and unused space on your hard drive. You can create a partition by pressing C, delete one by press D or use the arrow keys to select the partition on which Windows XP will be installed. We do not advise you to delete partitions if you do not know exactly what this means. If the selected partition already has Windows installed on it, you will have to choose between using the same partition for your installation and deleting the old Windows (press L) or using another partition (press Escape). If the hard drive doesn't have any partitions (only unused space), you must create one: just press C and choose the partition size. After selecting a partition, the setup will ask you to format the selected partition. If you've just created the partition or if it doesn't store any valuable information, you can use the quick NTFS format, but if the partition already existed and if you have important files stored on in it, you can choose to "Leave the current file system intact (no changes)".
The setup will now start copying files and then reboot and install devices (please note that user intervention is not needed in any way, you might as well leave the computer alone until the setup finishes device installation). You have surely noticed that the device installation has began in a new, more user friendly interface and when it's over a window will appear requesting you to modify your Regional and Language Settings. To help certain services provide you with local information, you may choose your country in Location menu. By pressing Customize you can select number settings (decimal symbol, digit grouping, negative sign symbol, measurement system, etc), currency settings (currency symbol, decimal symbol, etc), time settings (time format, time separator) and date settings (short date format, date separator). When finished here, click OK to save these settings and see the previous window again or Cancel to leave the previous settings.
When clicking the Next button, you will be asked to write in your name and organization for software personalization. In the next screen, your product key will be requested; carefully write it and push the Next button to choose your computer name and administrator password. It is not necessary to modify these fields, so if you do not what they are, just push the Next button again to see your date and time settings where you will choose your time zone.
If you have a modem or network adapter, the setup will ask at some point to configure them. It's not necessary to do this if you do not know your settings, since they can also be modified from within Windows.
Again, user intervention will not be needed until after the computer reboots. These are the final steps of your Windows installation. First, the setup will try to adjust your display settings to improve the appearance of visual elements. If your system meets the minimum system requirements you will surely see the window, so click OK to go to the Welcome to Microsoft Windows screen where you just have to push the Next button in the bottom right of your screen. If you have a modem or network adapter, the setup will check your Internet connectivity, but you can easily skip this step. Same goes for the screen, registering with Microsoft where you can choose No, not at this time.
If you are installing Windows XP with Service Pack 2 included, you will be asked to configure how Windows is going to update itself; we recommend choosing the first option to prevent any security problems and windows that will later show up reminding you to change this setting. The final step is telling Windows who will use your computer. Just fill in the fields (only the first one is mandatory), but be careful, because words like Administrator or your Name (as you wrote in the field above Organization) are not allowed (the setup will not let you finish if you try using these names).
After entering Windows please do not forget to use you driver disks and immediately install the drivers for your components.
When you reboot also remember to enter the BIOS again and change the boot priority so that your computer will no longer boot from your optical drive, but your hard drive.