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Windows XP

Microsoft's Windows XP Professional Install step by step from previous operating system


Welcome to Microsoft's Windows XP Professional install guide for earlier versions released without a pre-installed service pack or service pack1. This guide is step by step and should be used when installing from Windows with the intention of formating (Deleting all traces of previous install, programs and all your files)

This is a clean install of windows (Which will remove the contents of the hard drive, so backup first) and should be trouble free of errors and problems as long as your system fits the minimum specs as laid down by Microsoft.

Special Notes:

  • Backup before attempting this install, you will loose everything

  • This version of Windows XP Professional does not support large hard drives, and if you are using one that is bigger than 137 GB then you will not be able to access any of the space above that number during install. You could consider slipstreaming the service pack onto your disk. See here


  1. Your Windows XP Professional CD

  2. Windows XP COA, or serial number.

  3. Your computer Plugged into Mains Power

  4. A Computer, with the usual accessories (Mouse, monitor, keyboard etc)

  5. CD-ROM/DVD Drive.

To start this Windows install insert the CD from the desktop. The CD will autorun, else go to My Computer, the CD-ROM drive and double click on the "SETUP.EXE" file. The install will begin.

 Remember to backup all important information before performing this task.


Special Notes:


  • If autorun does not work, Go to My Computer, double click the CD-ROM drive and then double click on the "SETUP.EXE" file, setup should begin.




The "WELCOME" screen will appear first, select "INSTALL WINDOWS XP" by clicking on it with the mouse.

Windows will now gather some information from your computer.

Now you will be asked which type of install you want. Select "NEW INSTALLATION", click on "NEXT" to continue.

Now the License Agreement, read it and click on "I ACCEPT" or "I DON'T ACCEPT", and click on "NEXT" to continue. 

Now it is time for your product key. The product key will be on the packaging that XP was supplied with. It is 25 digits long. Some OEM computers will have a sticker on the side or back with your product key. Input the key and press "NEXT".

Now the Setup Options. Click on Accessibility Options.

If you need a Magnifier or the Microsoft Narrator to assist install, select now, else click OK to continue. 

Now change the default language settings. Click "NEXT" to continue. 

Now you have the option to download Updated Setup files, if you want to and you are connected to the net, then click "YES" and press "NEXT". This is not necessary, so if you want to cut the install time, then click "NO" and press "NEXT". 

Windows will now prepare the installation. 

Setup will now prepare to restart the computer.

Boot will recognize that the XP CD is in the drive, DO NOT press any keys, let setup bypass the CD boot.



Setup will now inspect your computer hardware and configuration.

Setup now prepares your computer for install.

From this menu press "ENTER" to begin the install.

Windows XP License agreement, read, and if you agree press "F8" to continue, press "ESC" if you disagree. If you disagree setup will finish.

Your previous install will be located, press "ESC" to continue the parallel install.

Now use the up and down arrow keys to select the partition you want to install into. Press "ENTER" once selected to continue. You can use the same partition as the previous operating system.

Windows will now ask you to confirm the install. If you are satisfied with your decision then press "C". You can return to the previous menu by pressing "ESC". 

Now you will be asked if you wish to format the drive, select "Leave the current file system intact (no changes)" and press "ENTER"

Windows will now warn you that the Windows directory already has an operating system, press "L" to select this folder and delete its contents.




and then setup will begin to copy files.

Setup now initializes the Windows XP configuration.

It is now time to restart Windows XP, press "ENTER" to speed up process, otherwise Windows will do it itself in 15 seconds.

Boot will recognize that the XP CD is in the drive, DO NOT press any keys, let setup bypass the CD boot.

Windows is now booting.




The install process continues.


Now it is time to personalize Windows. File in your name and if you wish you can also file in the Organization section. Click "NEXT" when ready.

Now select your computer name and your admin password. Confirm the Admin password and press "NEXT".

Date and Time settings are next, change as need be, then press "NEXT".

Windows will then continue installing.




If a network card has been detected then you will get the following menu. Select "TYPICAL SETTINGS" and press next. This configured later in Windows.

More network configuration, change workgroup name if need be and click  "NEXT".

Windows will continue installing.

Windows install will now finalize.

It is now time to restart Windows XP again, press "ENTER" to speed up process, otherwise Windows will do it itself in 15 seconds.

Boot will recognize that the XP CD is in the drive, DO NOT press any keys, let setup bypass the CD boot.

Windows will continue loading.




Windows will now adjust your resolution, click "OK" to continue.

If you are happy with the changes, click "OK" otherwise press "Cancel" to return to the old settings

"Welcome to Microsoft Windows" screen now appears, press "Next" to continue.

Internet connection option is next. If your computer connects to a Professional network or directly using the network card, or is on a network then select "Yes", otherwise select "No".



Activate Windows option appears next, we recommend that you select "No, remind me every few days", that will allow you to make sure everything is correct and running OK before you use up one of your activate attempts. It also allows you to setup your security options and internet connection correctly. Click "Next to continue"

Windows now thanks you, click "Finish" to continue.

Finally setup the users for the computer, you must fill in option beside "Your name" the other four users are optional. Click "Next" once you have finished to continue.

Windows will now apply your settings...

Now Windows "WELCOME" screen.

and finally the Windows XP Desktop. Windows is now installed.

If you are lucky you will have no drivers to install, but chances are the next step will be to install them. Check out device manager for unknown devices, likely items are Network Cards, Sound Cards, Printers, Scanners, Graphics Cards, Digital Cameras, etc. 

Also installing anti-virus software, spyware software and possibly a 3rd party Firewall are a must for any computer.