Before you install Windows XP or any other Windows platform, you should verify that the hardware in your computer is compatible and that it meets the minimum hardware requirements. Hardware requirements are usually not 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. In Windows XP, you can access the Windows Catalog from the Start Menu.

Alternatively, you can use the Windows XP setup program to check the hardware for you. 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.

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