How to Install Windows XP on a New Hard Drive

By Lucosi Fuller

Installing Windows XP on a new hard drive is easier and faster than doing it on a hard drive that contained a previous Windows operating system because you don't have to uninstall or write over the previous information and you don't have to back up the information on the system before you begin the installation. The installation can still be a bit tricky if this is your first time installing an operating system, but if you mess up, you get many opportunities to go back and correct any mistakes you may have made.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP installation disc
  • Valid 25-character product key

Creating a Partition for Windows XP

Step 1

Insert the Windows XP Installation CD into the disc drive.

Step 2

Start up the computer, and when you are prompted, press any key to boot from the CD. The installation will begin. Allow the default drivers that help install Windows XP to load.

Step 3

Press "Enter" on the "Welcome to Setup" screen. Read the "Licensing Agreement" on the next screen and press "F8" to accept the agreement. If you refuse the agreement, you won't be able to install Windows XP.

Step 4

Press the "Esc" key to install a fresh copy of Windows XP.

Step 5

Press the "Enter" key to install Windows XP on the unpartitioned space, or press the "C" key to create a partition. Follow the procedure below to create a partition: Set the maximum size for the partitioned space and press the "Enter" key. Select the partition you created and press the "Enter" key to install Windows XP on it. Format the partition with the "NTFS file system" (the regular one, not the "Quick" one) and press "Enter" to continue. Allow the partition to be formatted. When the formatting is complete, continue to Section 2.

Installing Windows XP

Step 1

Allow the Windows XP installation files to be copied from the installation disc to your system. When the files are copied, the installation of Windows XP will start. Don't press any keys or move the mouse until the installation wizard prompts you to do so.

Step 2

Click on "Customize" to configure your Regional settings. Click on "Details..." to configure your input language and keyboard layout. Click on "Next" to continue.

Step 3

Enter your name (your real name or any name of your choosing) and your organization (if one applies) and click on "Next."

Step 4

Enter the 25-character product key that came with your Windows XP CD when you're prompted to do so and click on "Next."

Step 5

Enter a name for your computer (you can enter anything you like), and enter and confirm your administrative password. Click on "Next."

Step 6

Set the date and time and time zone to configure your computer clock. You can choose to check the box to set your computer to adjust for Daylight Savings Time. Click on "Next."

Step 7

Configure your network. If you want your network configured with the default Microsoft settings, click on "Typical settings." If you want to configure your network manually, click on "Custom settings." Selecting "Typical settings" will work for most people. Click on "Next" when you're finished.

Step 8

Select "No, this computer is not on a network, or is on a network without a domain. Make this computer a member of the following workgroup" on home computers (WORKGROUP is selected by default). If the computer is on a corporate network, select "Yes, make this computer a member of the following domain." Enter the domain name of your corporation and click on "Next."

Step 9

Allow the Windows XP installation to finalize. When the installation is finished, the computer will restart. Click on "OK" to allow Windows XP to adjust your screen resolution. Click on "OK" again if you can easily read the text displayed on the screen after the screen resolution adjustment.

Completing the Installation

Step 1

Click on "Next" on the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" screen.

Step 2

Let Windows XP check for an Internet connection. Click on "Skip" to move past this step or click on "Next" when the check is done.

Step 3

Select "Yes, this computer will connect through a local area network or home network," if the computer is on a network, or select "No, this computer will connect directly to the Internet," if the computer is not on a network. Most users can choose to "connect directly to the Internet" without having any difficulty. Click on "Skip" or "Next" to continue.

Step 4

Choose "Yes, I'd like to register with Microsoft now" if your Internet connection is working and you're ready to register your product. Click on "Next" and follow the instructions to register Windows XP. You can click on "No, not at this time" and click on "Next" if you're not ready to register at this time.

Step 5

Set up user accounts by entering the names of people who will use the computer in the allotted spaces on the "Who will use this computer?" screen. Click on "Next" when you're done and click on "Finish" to start up Windows XP.