Knowledge Base

How do I install Windows XP?

This article details how to complete a fresh Windows XP Operating System (OS) installation. Be sure the following tasks have been completed prior to beginning this process -

  • Back up all data; the most common forms of crucial data include e-mail messages, address books, the My Documents folder, any files saved to the desktop, bookmarks/favorites, and anything else deemed important.
  • Make sure any external devices (printer, scanner, etc) are unplugged. The obvious devices that should remain plugged in include the monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Make sure to have the Windows XP Product Key available; this should be attached to the PC. If not, prior to beginning the process please download the attached program (Produkey) and use it to pull the Windows Product Key from the existing installation.

When ready to begin, refer to the following steps. They detail the process of partitioning the hard drive, installing the OS, and setting up Windows XP. This process may take 30-90 minutes. The system will restart once during this process automatically; it should otherwise not be turned off or restarted.

  1. Set up the PC to boot from CD; the setting will be located in the unit's BIOS menu. Please refer to the model-specific manual for more detailed instructions on how to do this; manuals can be located in the downloads section of
  2. Insert the Windows XP CD.
  3. When prompted, press any key to boot from CD.
  4. As the process begins the CD will copy files needed for the setup process, and this may take a few minutes. Once the message To set up Windows XP now, press Enter appears, press Enter.
  5. Press F8 to accept the terms and conditions of the license agreement.
  6. When the Windows Setup Partition screen appears, press Enter to choose the hard drive partition to install to. Be sure to take note of any already existing partitions; by default, unpartitioned space is highlighted.
  7. Navigate to any existing partitions and press D to delete them.
  8. When the Confirmation screen appears, take note of the warnings and press Enter to be returned to the previous screen.
  9. Use the arrow keys to highlight the unpartitioned space and press Enter to set up Windows XP. The following information will be highlighted: Format the partition using the NTFS system.
  10. Press Enter to continue. On the next screen, a bar shows the format progress. When completed, the setup files are copied to the hard drive. You will see the following message as this happens: Please wait while setup copies files to the Windows installation folders. This might take several minutes. This will be followed by the message Setup is copying files. The status bar will display the percentage complete. When complete, the computer will restart. DO NOT PRESS ANY KEY TO BOOT FROM CD! Wait for the set up wizard to appear.
  11. When the Regional and Language Options window appears, set up as desired and click Next.
  12. Next will be the Personalize Your Software window; enter a name and organization (if desired) and click Next.
  13. Next comes the Product Key window; enter the product identification code for the XP license and click Next.
  14. Next is the Computer Name and Administrator Password window, enter a password if desired and click next. If entering a password, be aware they are case sensitive.
  15. When the Date and Time Setting window appears, confirm all is correct and click Next. Windows will now complete installing, and a progress bar indicates approximately how much time is left.
  16. After the computer reboots, Windows XP will be installed. Model-specific drivers need to be installed in the following order, being sure to reboot between each step. The drivers will be located on the original driver CD shipped with the unit, or they can be downloaded from our website.
    a. Chipset drivers
    b. Video drivers
    c. Audio drivers
    d. LAN drivers
    e. Additional accessories (printer, scanner, etc.) Please contact the manufacturer of any accessory/device for the latest drivers.
  17. Once driver installation is complete, run Windows Update to apply the latest security fixes.