The following is a quick guide of how to install Windows XP:
Prior to installation, it is a good idea to back up all of your personal files using an external hard drive or a second partition of you main hard drive. A clean installation of Windows XP will completely erase all of your personal files and settings. If you have any questions about moving your files and settings prior to installation, see this file transfer guide from Microsoft.
To begin the installation process, restart your system with the Windows XP CD in the disk drive. When your computer restarts you will be presented with the boot-up screen and it will ask you to press SPACEMBAR to boot from the CD. You’ll want to press it within that 3-4 second window to start Windows Setup (if you miss it, just re-boot and try again). It will load a few files and then present you with an option to repair or install Windows XP. If you’re installing a fresh copy of Windows XP, just press ENTER.
Now you will be presented with all of the fine print in the Windows XP License Agreement; in order to move on you’ll need to agree to the Terms and Conditions by scrolling to the bottom of the document (using Page Down) and then pressing F8. You will then be presented with the following screen:
This screen gives you a list of all current partitions on your hard drive. Most people will only see a “Partition 1”. If your hard drive has never been formatted before it will only give you one option (“Unpartitioned Space”) as well. If there is more than one partition listed, the largest one is usually the best one to choose. Once you have selected the partition of your choice, press enter, and a screen will be displayed asking you one last time if you want to repair your current installation. Press ESC to say no, and you will then be presented with the following screen:
This screen asks you if you want to format. It does give you the option to go ahead and “keep the current file system intact”, which will just overwrite all of the system files. This will allow you to keep all of your old files, but like mentioned previously, it can cause problems if you already had an operating system installed. The best practice is to format the hard drive before installing. The default and recommended choice is Format the partition using the NTFS file system.
The formatting process can take half an hour or longer, so go find something to do while this is going on.
After the partition is set up and formatted you will be presented with the familiar loading screen of Windows XP. From this point the setup is quite self-explanatory, and you will be able to use your mouse. You will be asked to set your language preferences, enter your Windows XP product key, set up your administrator password, and customize a few other settings.
That’s basically it! Congratulations on installing a fresh copy of Windows XP.
For more information and to answer any additional questions you may have, see the Windows XP set-up guide on the Microsoft website.