If you are considering upgrading to Windows XP, one of the things you need to consider is hardware compatibility. 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 can not 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 website. 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:
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 beforehand than having to halt an installation.