Intro To Installing Windows XP (Part II)

There are several steps that must be completed before and during the installation of Windows. Install procedures do not only include the actual installation of Windows, but they also include pre and post installation tasks.

One of the most important pre-installation steps is to verify that the hardware in your computer is compatible with Windows XP and that it meets the minimum hardware requirements. This will not likely be an issue for new systems. If you are installing on an older computer though, verify your hardware before installing.

Microsoft used to release a hardware compatibility list (HCL) for its operating systems. The HCL lists all the hardware supported by the operating system. If your hardware is not present on the list, it does not necessarily mean you cannot proceed with the installation but you should verify with the hardware manufacturer that the component is Windows ready. You can find an up-to-date version of the HCL on Microsoft’s Web site.

Microsoft now publishes the Windows Catalog that lists the products that have been designed to run on Windows 2000 platforms and later.

If you are running a previous version of Windows, an alternative to checking the HCL is to run the hardware and software compatibility check. You can run the check by inserting the Windows XP CD and choosing the Check system compatibility option or by typing the following command from the command prompt:

X:\i386\winnt32 /checkupgradeonly

Where x is the letter assigned to your CD-ROM drive.

When you start the actual Windows XP set up, the hardware and software are again checked for any incompatibility issues. So performing the pre-compatibility test is definitely not necessary. However it’s better to know of any issues before hand than having to halt an installation.

The Microsoft Windows Advisor Window will appear listing the hardware and software components that are not compatible.

Most operating systems are designed to run on a minimum set of hardware requirements to ensure adequate performance and not meeting these requirements often results in a failed installation. Verify that the hardware in your system at least meets the minimum hardware requirements.
The minimum requirements to install Windows XP Professional and Home Editions include:

  • 233+ MHZ processor (a maximum of two processors is supported)
  • 1.5+ GB free hard disk space
  • 64+ MB of RAM (a maximum of 4 GB is supported)
  • Super VGA or higher resolution monitor
  • 12x CD-ROM drive (not required for network based installations)
  • Mouse, keyboard

Keep in mind when you’re choosing hardware that these are the bare minimum requirements to run the operating system and do not take into account any network services or applications that may be running on the computer. Plan to increase these requirements for optimal performance.