Installing Windows XP – CompTIA A+ 220-802: 1.2

With the right planning, the installation of Windows XP is relatively straightforward. In this video, you’ll step through the entire Windows XP installation in a virtual machine from beginning to end.
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Before we get into the installation of Windows XP, whether you’re doing a clean install or whether this is an upgrade, you always want to be sure that you have a backup. Even with an upgrade where you are expecting all of the data to be there after the upgrade is complete, problems might still occur during the upgrade process. So you want to be sure that you have a way to get everything back to the way that it originally was. Always check the minimum requirements for Windows XP. We’re going to look at those in just a moment.

Make sure that the processor and memory and the overall hardware of the workstation is one that can support a Windows XP installation. You can also check all of the other components and some of the software you’re running by running the Windows Upgrade Advisor. This will check automatically when you start an upgrade. Or if you want to boot your computer with the Windows XP media, you can run the option from the Windows setup screen to check system compatibility, and that will also run the Upgrade Advisor.

And finally, if we’re going to create a new partition for Windows XP, we will need to decide what file type we’re going to use. And, of course, you’ll have the file type of FAT32, which is probably the most compatible between different operating systems. Or if you’re just going to run Windows on this device and you don’t need a lot of compatibility on the single workstation, you can choose NTFS.

Let’s quickly run through the requirements for Windows XP. For Windows XP Home and Professional, our minimum requirements are a 233 MHz processor. Although Microsoft would like you to use at least a 300 MHz processor. You need at least 64 MB of RAM. Again, Microsoft recommends twice that of 128 MB of RAM. In both of these scenarios, you will need at least 1.5 GB of free disk space where you will be installing Windows XP.

You’ll need a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. The amount of resolution that you’ll need on your video display will be at least Super VGA, which is 800 x 600 resolution. And of course to install and use Windows XP, we’ll need both a mouse and a keyboard.

The Media Center version of Windows XP needs even more resources. We need at least a 1.6 GHz processor for a minimum requirement of a Windows XP Media Center. Microsoft would love to see you running two physical CPUs for the best performance. You’ll need at least a minimum of 256 MB of memory. And again, Microsoft would like you to max that out to 4 GB of memory total.

We’ll need at least 60 GB of free hard drive space to install the Media Center edition and Microsoft says you can max this out to 25g TB of drive space. That’s because with Media Center we’re going to be recording video, and you can use a lot of disk space when you’re recording video. We’ll need a DVD-ROM drive, and at least 1024 x 768 video. But if we’re replaying video in a media center, you’ll need the highest resolution you can get.

You need simply a mouse and keyboard as input devices. But if this is a device you’re using in a home theater, it will be nice to have a remote control and have multiple tuners so that you can record multiple channels simultaneously.

I’m going to install Windows XP, but I’m not going to install it on a physical machine. I’m going to create a virtual machine and run through the installation. If you’re studying for a certification exam, this might be a very useful thing to do.

Because you don’t need separate pieces of equipment, you can install the virtual machine, you can make configuration changes to it, you can make snapshots and revert to previous configs. And that allows you to go in and experiment without any worries that you’re going to create a problem for you later on. You can always reverts back to a previous configuration.

I’m using Oracle’s Virtual Box. It’s an absolutely free virtual machine that you can download and use in your environment. It works on both Windows and Mac. I’m using the Mac version here, but the screens and the settings are very similar between those versions.

Let’s create a new virtual machine. I’m going to simply start at the main Virtual Box screen. And I’m going to click the New button there in the toolbar and it asks for a name. Now this will be the device that we’re going to put on the East Pier, so I’m going name that as Windows. And you can, of course, see other operating systems that you can run with this Virtual Box, but ours will certainly be Windows.

And let’s choose the Windows version. You can see all of the different versions that you can select. Windows XP is the version that is highlighted and let’s click Continue.

It asks for the amount of memory in RAM to be allocated to this virtual machine. This will obviously be using the physical memory that’s in our system. So if you’re planning to use virtual devices like we’re doing here, make sure you have plenty of available memory in your computer.

The recommended memory size is 192 MG. And of course, we know with our Windows XP that we technically only need 64 MG to run, and you need a recommended of 128. So 192 certainly fits above the requirements we would need for Windows XP. And we’ve got plenty of resources on this device, so I’m going to leave it at 192.

Let’s click Continue, and it now asks for us to create a hard drive to be able to use for this. This virtual hard drive is simply a file that we’re going to create on our file system of our computer. So we need to have at least enough disk space available on our computer to be able to build this system out.

We can choose not to add a virtual hard drive– that’s not what we’re going to do in this scenario. We could choose from an existing virtual hard drive– that’s not this solution that I’m looking for. I want to use the default of creating a virtual hard drive right now.

Notice that it tells us that the recommended size of this hard drive is at least 10 GB. So it knows that we’re trying to install Windows XP and it’s giving us an idea at a bare minimum what the recommended might be. We’ll take those recommendations.

Let’s click the Create button and then we get some options for what type of virtual hard drive we would like to create. There’s many different types here. The idea here is that you could take this virtual hard drive you’re creating in Virtual Box and use it with other Virtual Box or Virtual System applications. For instance, ones that are VHD, the Windows built-in virtual hard disks.

You have some that are built into parallels and QEMU. In our case, we’re simply going to use the ones for Virtual Box. I don’t plan on using any other virtual desktop system, so Virtual Box fits me perfectly. We can choose to have this drive dynamically allocated or a fixed size. And for the purposes of performance, I’m going to choose a fixed size which will allocate the entire 10 GB at one time.

Let’s click Continue, and we’ve got a name for the disk. It’s going to use the same name that we used for the virtual system itself. And I’m going to use the default that it gave me of 10 GB, although I could certainly adjust it to make any size I would like for this hard drive, and then we’ll click Create. It’s now going to create a 10 GB drive. So this will go through the entire process of building the disk, and then we’ll be ready to install Windows XP.

So now I’ve built out this East Pier virtual computer. This is very similar to if I’d grabbed some hardware off the shelf and installed some memory, installed some hard drive space. And now I’ve got a physical computer ready to install Windows XP instead it’s just a virtual machine.

With a physical computer, I have a DVD-ROM that I can put into that device and power it on. With the virtual machine it’s a similar configuration. You can take your Windows XP installation media, and the virtual machine will share the physical DVD-ROM that you have on your physical computer.

In my case, I don’t have a physical DVD-ROM. Instead, we’re going to be installing this from an ISO file from Microsoft XP that I’ve downloaded from Microsoft TechNet. Microsoft TechNet is a subscription service for Microsoft that allows you to have all of their products available for download and use when you’re running in a lab. That way you can download any of their products, and install them, and try them out in a test environment before you put them into production.

To add this physical DVD-ROM to my virtual machine, or to install the ISO file to be used instead, I can simply make sure my East Pier machine is highlighted and choose Settings. I have a lot of different options across the top, but the one that I would like to change is the storage option. I’m going to move to this empty DVD-ROM. I’m going to click the button right next to IDE Secondary that shows the picture of the virtual DVD disc and I’m going to choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file.

On my desktop, I have all of these different ISOs that I’ve downloaded to install. I’m going to choose, obviously, the English version of Windows XP Professional and click Open. And now it’s as if I have now installed this ISO, or this physical DVD, on to my computer. It’s now sitting there and ready for me to use. I’ll click OK, and indeed you can see in the storage settings for this virtual machine that the XP Professional installation media has now been added into that device.

Now we’re ready to start the installation process. We’ll power on our physical computer. In this case, power on our virtual computer by clicking the Start link. And when that begins, you will see a screen for just this computer and the Windows setup will began.

Notice that it says press F6 if you need to install a third-party driver. If your hardware inside of your computer is not running a standard set of drivers that the installation program knows about, then you’ll need to press F6 and load that also from your media. That way, the Windows setup program will be able to go in and use that physical storage device.

The first screen of the Windows XP Professional setup says welcome to setup. We can either set up Windows XP now by pressing Enter, we can repair a Windows installation using the recovery console, we can press R, or we can quit setup without doing anything. Well, in our case we’d like to begin the Windows setup process, so I’m going to press Enter.

Then we get a series of licenses agreements that we need to look through. So make sure you understand the licenses that you’re agreeing to before you go through this process. If you agree to this, you can press F8. Or if you do not agree with this, you can press Escape and get out of the installation program itself. I’m going to press F8 and agree to this.

Now we need a place to install Windows XP and we have nothing on this system. This is a completely clean install. So you can see that our option is to have all of this unpartitioned space of 10 GB that we set up originally.

We can either set up Windows XP there by pressing Enter. We can create a partition in this unpartitioned space by pressing C. And if there is an existing partition there, we can delete it with the D key.

I’m going to press C to create a partition in the unpartitioned space, and it says what size would you like this to be? And in this space I can decide exactly the amount of room that I would like to create for this Windows XP partition. Maybe I’d like to have multiple partitions on this computer– one for the operating system, and a completely separate partition for data. In this particular case I’m going to simply use the entire amount of space to install Windows XP, so we’ll keep the default of 10 to 29 MB.

And now it says there is a Partition1 that we have created. And that’s exactly where I’d like to install Windows, so let’s hit Enter. This is where we now get to decide the type of file system that we’d like to use. Would this be an NTFS file system, or would it be a FAT32 file system? Notice also that we have the option between a quick install for both of those file systems, or a normal install that goes through the entire drive and checks all of the sectors to make sure that we’re able to read and write information to those properly.

In this case I trust the storage media that I’m using. So I’m going to choose NTFS, and I’m going to choose a quick format. Let’s press Enter, and now it goes through the process of formatting that 10 GB drive partition.

Now that we’ve finished the partitioning and the formatting of the drive, Windows can copy files from the installation media directly to the storage drives so the installation process can be much faster and continue directly from the hard drive. Once that copy process is complete, the system reboots. And now it starts up the Windows XP installation from the local hard drive.

We’re now not starting the installation from our installation media. And we get an existing prompt that shows us the process that it’s going to go through to perform the complete Windows XP install. There’s a number of processes that the installation goes through. It collects information, performs a dynamic update, prepares the installation.

And we’re now in the installing Windows process where it’s going to go through and install devices and other applications. You can also get an idea of exactly how long the setup plans to take. And it gives you a counter of an estimate of how long you’ve got to wait before the Windows XP installation is complete.

One of the first interactive prompts you’ll see is for the region setting. So you need to determine what type of standards and formats you’d like to use. In my case it is set to English and the United States, and my location is set to the United States.

You can also change your keyboard layout and how the configuration is set. And we can click details to see that, indeed, it is set to English, United States, and I’m using a United States keyboard. And if all that looks OK, then we can tell the installation process to continue by clicking the Next button.

Now we need to personalize the software. We need to put in the information for who will be using this. In this case we’re going to have John Sheppard is the person who will be using this. So we are working on making his computer in the East Pier and the organization is the Atlantis Expedition. And we’re going to continue by clicking the Next button.

Now Windows XP is expecting a product key. You have to have a license key for every version of Windows that you’ll be installing, and Windows XP is giving you this prompt to put that information in. The installation program will not continue until we add these details. And your license key is specific to your installation of Windows XP, it’s not something you need to share with other people. So I’m going to add my product key to this list and click Next.

Once your product key has been checked and it looks good, click Next to continue to the next prompt. We now have an option for a computer name. And this will be in the East Pier, so I’m going to choose East Pier and make it something that actually looks pretty good there.

And then we need an administrative password for this computer. Make sure that you add an admin password so that nobody can get into this device and do other things do it. Let’s click Next.

And we’ll now have a prompt for the date and time. We’ll check to see exactly where this will be used, and you can see times and dates are listed above. And in this particular case, we’re going to be using a time zone that is in the United States, But it is in Mountain Time. And let’s click Next.

And now the installation process is going to ask us for networking settings. So we need to decide how we would like this network configure. You have the option for typical settings, which install clients for Microsoft networks, file and print sharing, a quality of service packet scheduler, and TCP/IP. You can, of course, customize these settings by choosing the custom options. But in our particular case, we’ll go through and use what’s typical.

If you’d like to see the custom settings, simply choose Customs and choose Next, and you can see all of those things that I just mentioned. And we can install other protocols, we can install other types of sharing mechanisms inside of this, or we can remove the ones that are currently there. But as I said, we’ll just use the defaults in our installation.

We need to decide if this is going to be a part of a work group, or if it’s going to be in a domain. And if you’re using Active Directory, you’ll want to choose the Domain Configuration and choose your Active Directory server or you want to choose an existing work group. There may be an Active Directory server on your network. Make sure you choose that and the installation program will use that going forward. At this point we start copying more files, and finishing the main installation of the Windows XP operating system.

Once the installation is complete, Windows will restart and tell us that it’s going to modify the screen resolution based on what it thinks the settings are for your video display. We’ll choose OK and it says that it has, indeed, adjusted our screen resolution. If you can read this text, press OK and Windows XP will continue to use this particular configuration.

If this isn’t something you can read, then obviously you don’t know to press Cancel. But that’s why there is this countdown clock that says it’s going to switch back to what it was doing in the previous config in 30 seconds. But we like it, so let’s click OK and Windows XP begins the startup process.

When we first start Windows XP, we’ll get this welcome view. It says thank you for purchasing Windows XP. Let’s spend a few minutes setting up your computer. And all we have to do is click Next to continue.

The next screen is going to give us an option of turning on automatic updates. And that’s always a good idea on anybody’s computer, and we would like to do that on this Windows XP as well. And we’ll click Next.

The other option is to check to see if we have internet connectivity. Because we’re on a virtual machine that is on a physical device that is connected to the internet, it says yes it is on the network. And yes, we will connect to the internet through the local area network connected to this computer.

It says if we would like to activate Windows, we would choose that option now to activate this license of Windows XP. So you can choose to activate Windows over the internet immediately, or you can have Windows remind you every few days. You’ll need to perform the activation either online, or if you choose remind me every few days, you’ll also have the option to call Microsoft directly to perform that activation. Let’s choose Next here.

Now it asks who will use this computer. This will be John Sheppard’s. And we’ll click Next, and there we’re done.

Now we can begin to use Windows XP. I’ll click Finish, and all of the music and sounds go away from the installation. We get that very familiar Windows XP startup sound and now we have a Windows XP desktop. There’s the process of going from the very beginning of the installation through a partition, a format, and then finally installing the Windows XP operating system on the computer.

Although we finished the main part of the installation, we’re still not done. We need to make sure that the computer is booting properly, that the video display looks OK, that all of the drivers have been installed properly. We may want to test all of the hardware, especially if we’ve never used this hardware with Windows XP before, just to make sure it will react and work the way we are expecting.

Before we can use the operating system we also have to update all the software on this machine, including making sure it has the latest service pack installed on it. You also want to check and make sure that you have all of the security patches that have been released since that service pack. You can generally do this by using Windows Update. That will make sure that you have not only the latest service pack, but all of those updates to security patches.

You also need to be sure that you have all of the latest security applications. Make sure you’ve installed an antivirus program, an anti-malware program, and anything else that you’ll need to keep this computer safe. The Windows XP installation is going to use drivers from the Windows XP install disk. But there may be newer drivers for your video card or any other types of peripherals that you’re using in Windows XP. So make sure that you download those from the manufacturer website and install those onto the operating system to make sure that you have the best experience possible when using the OS.

You also then want to install the applications that you’re going to use. If you’ve performed an upgrade, then there may be applications that are already installed on the computer that you can use. But since we performed a clean install, we’ll want to find all the applications that are important to us, install those onto the computer so that we can start using them right away.