If your computer came with Windows XP Home Edition already installed on it, you can skip this appendix—for now. But if you’re running an earlier version of Windows and want to savor the XP experience, this appendix describes how to install the new operating system on your computer.
Believe it or not, most of the work involved in installing Windows XP takes place well before the installation CD so much as approaches your computer. You have a lot of research and planning to do, especially if you want to avoid spending a five-day weekend in Upgrade Hell.
To start with, before you even think about installing Windows XP, you must ensure that your PC is beefy enough to handle it. You also have to decide which of two types of installation you want to perform: an upgrade or a clean install. (More on this in a moment.) If you opt for the clean install (a process that begins with erasing your hard drive completely), you must back up your data. Finally, you have to choose a file system for your hard drive and gather all of the software bits and pieces you’ll need in order to perform the installation.
Before you even buy a copy of Windows XP, your first order of business should be to check your computer against the list of hardware requirements for Windows XP, as published by Microsoft:
A computer with 300 megahertz (MHz) or higher processor clock speed recommended (233 MHz minimum required); Intel Pentium/Celeron ...