Windows XP Clean Install
For Home Computer Users

Windows XP Clean Install is the second of a 4-part series on how to install the legacy Windows operating system (Home Edition) on a new computer or hard disk.


Windows XP has gone End of Life (EOL) on April 8th 2014. This means no further security patches or updates for this Operating System to protect from Malware and Viruses.

Microsoft recently announced the continuation of advisories for newly discovered vulnerabilities, and the continuation of updates for things like Windows Defender only.

My advice is to move to Windows 7 (assuming you wish to stay on a Windows platform) as soon as possible.

I also advise not moving to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. At the time of writing it appears this Operating System is experiencing numerous issues.

Windows 10 is to be released on the 29th July 2015. After moving to Windows 7 it is worth waiting to see what Windows 10 brings before deciding to move to this latest version.

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Microsoft Windows XP is still a very popular operating system, with lots of home computer users continuing to use it every day.

This part of the tutorial looks at the second batch of decision you need to make during the installation process.

Part 1 talks you through the initial pre-requisite choices at the start of the installation process.

Part 3 walks you through further choices you must make towards the end of the installation process.

Part 4 walks your through the final steps of the installation process, and suggests further tasks to complete before installing your applications.

Once you have Windows XP up and running, what software programs do you install on your computer? What do you use them for?

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The Table of Contents enables you to go to the part of the installation process that you are interested in, or having issues with.

Table of Contents

  1. How To Install XP Part 1 Recap
  2. Pre-Installing Windows Steps
  3. Installing Windows
  4. Windows XP Clean Install Final Thoughts

How To Install XP
Part 1 Recap

The How To Install XP tutorial talks you through the pre-requisite considerations before beginning the installation process, such as obtaining the original Windows XP install CD and backing up your files.

The next steps in part 1 talks you through how to boot from CD and discusses a little bit about the Windows XP License Agreement.

We look at the steps to Create and Format partitions. These steps are optional as most home computers users simply select an existing partition, particularly when undertaking a re-install of Windows XP.

The steps below show you what happens next in the installation process, completing the initial text based pre-requisite tasks:

Pre-Installing Windows Steps

At the end of Part 1 your computer completed the first steps of the installation process and rebooted.

After the first reboot, the familiar Windows XP Home edition splash screen appears for the first time.

Windows XP Clean Install
Splash Screen

(Click Image To Enlarge)

Windows XP Splash Screen

The Windows installation process new begins in ernest! The process can take anywhere between 30 minutes to over an hour.

Factors such as the hardware specification of your machine influences the time it takes to complete the Operating System install.

This stage of the process begins with the Collecting Information step. This is where the process collects relevant information to confirm your machines eligibility to proceed with the installation.

The Dynamic Update step is an option to instruct the installation process to connect to the Internet and download any updated installation files released since your XP CD was published.

The dynamic update option only appears if you are performing an upgrade.

The Preparing Installation step estimates how much time it takes to complete the install. Then all the setup files are copied from your CD to your machines hard disk. Your computer then restarts.

As you still have your Windows XP install CD inserted in the CD/DVD drive, you will be prompted to Press Any Key To Boot From CD....

Windows XP Clean Install
Boot from CD

(Click Image To Enlarge)

Windows XP Boot from CD

Do Not Press Any Keys On Your Keyboard! This ensures your new XP install continues without interruption.

A second reboot occurs when the remaining setup files are copied from your CD to your machines hard disk. Again do not press any keys on your keyboard!

After the last restart the Installing Windows stage begins.

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Installing Windows

This is where things start to get interesting!

Current activity is displayed above the green progress bar. For example "Installing Devices" is where drivers for your computers hardware is being installed.

Your screen may flicker when the video card driver is installed:

Installing Devices
(Click Image To Enlarge)

Installing Devices

A mix of marketing messages appear on your screen whilst the Operating System files are installed.

Each message informs you about the different benefits you will experience by using Windows XP.

Grab yourself a drink and a sandwich. This step could take a while:

Stay Connected With Friends And Family
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Stay Connected With Friends And Family

  • The first decision to make is your Regional And Language Options.

Regional And Language Options
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Windows XP Regional And Language Options

  • If you are not American, left click the Customize... Button, then the Current Format:drop-down menu to change to an alternative region. Click OK then Next to continue.

Regional And Language Customize Options
(Click Image To Enlarge)

Regional And Language Customize Options

  • The Personalize Your Software screen gives you the option to enter your Name and Organization

    Here I enter my Full Name, and for the Organisation field, I usually enter something like At Home to signify it is a home computer.

Personalize Your XP Software
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Personalize Your Software

  • This is the stage where you enter your Windows XP Key Code (Your Product Key). Ensure you enter it correctly or it will think you have an invalid license code. 

    If you don't have a valid Windows XP Home Product Key, you will not be able to continue with the installation process. 

    If you have a bogus license key, or a cheap key bought off eBay, it won't last 5 minutes before Microsoft tracks your down and disables your copy.

Your Product Key
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Your Product Key

  • What's Your Computer's Name? Here you enter an appropriate name for your computer. 

    I tend to enter names such as Front_Room or Kids_Room to denote where the computer is located.

What's Your Computer's Name?
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What's Your Computer's Name?

  • The Date And Time Settings is picked up from your Computer's BIOS. Use the drop-down menu's to make any changes your require.

Date And Time Settings
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Windows XP Date And Time Settings

  • Typical Settings is selected in most circumstances for your default Network Settings.

Network Settings
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Network Settings

Windows XP Clean Install
Final Thoughts

OK. This concludes the Windows XP Clean Install tutorial. For an excellent article on how to install windows XP Professional take a look at the Petril tutorial (Opens New Window).

Part 3 of the tutorial series concludes the installation process.

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