How do I reinstall a clean copy of Windows XP?

1. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM and Raid drive floppy and reboot the computer

When you see the prompt to press any key to boot from CD, do so.

2. MS-DOS portion of Setup begins

In the first stage of Setup, you will see a series of blue and gray MS-DOS-based screens. In the first step, you will be asked to press F6 if you need to install any third-party or RAID drivers. (This is an absolutely necessary step for computers containing RAID or SCSI hard drive configurations. It is generally not required for systems with single hard drives, unless they are configured on a RAID controller as a JBOD or Spanned disk.)

Press the F6 key -- immediately. This screen will disappear after only a second or two so you must be quick. It will appear as though nothing happened as the disk will continue to load files into RAM for two to three minutes. If you pressed F6 in time, the next screen for the sata driver installation will appear. If not, you will have to reboot from the installation CD to start again, so don't miss this prompt!

Press the S key to specify an additional device. When prompted to select a driver from the list, highlight the correct one and hit enter. Some of the boards with nvidia controllers will require the installation of two drivers. Press the s key to specify and additional device, press the S key and hit enter on the second driver, if necessary. For the last time you will be prompted back to the press s to specify an additional device and this time hit enter.

3. Welcome to Setup

Finally, Setup begins. In this step, you can set up XP, launch the Recovery Console (another, more complicated system recovery tool), or quit.

Press ENTER to continue Setup, and it will examine your hard drives and removable disks.

4. Read the license agreement

Next, you'll have to agree to Microsoft's complex licensing agreement. Among the highlights: You don't actually own Windows XP and you can only install it on one PC. Press F8 to continue.

5. Choose an installation partition

This step lets you choose where to install XP. A clean installation is typically made onto the C: drive, but you might have other ideas, especially if you plan to dual-boot (Velocity Micro cannot provide support for user-added dual-boot configs). Setup will show you all of your available disks (in this case, just one) and let you create and delete partitions as needed. So, for example, if you have one disk, but would like to create two partitions, one for XP and one for your data, you can do that here.

NOTE: If this is NOT a clean installation, meaning you already have XP installed on your C: drive, you will see a screen similar to the image right. At this point you will have two options. If Windows XP setup detects your current installation on the C: drive, it will list it in the box and present you with the opportunity to press "R" to REPAIR the current installation. This essentially reinstalls XP over the existing installation and often may repair a corrupt OS.

The second option would be to continue with a clean install by deleting the selected partition by pressing "D". If it is a system partition (and it is) it will prompt you to continue by pressing "Enter" and then gives you one last chance to back out by pressing "ESC" to Cancel or "L" to really go ahead and delete it. You then create a new partition by pressing "C".

6. Format the partition

First, select the partition you wish to install on and format. If you're installing XP on a system with more than one partition, especially one that still holds your data on one of the partitions, be sure you're formatting the correct partition. Select "F" to continue with the format process, and a yellow progress bar will indicate the status of the format. When this is complete, Setup will again examine your disks, and create a list of files to copy.

7. Begin Install

Once you have created a partition, the disk will appear as C: Partition1 (NTFS) .... Press Enter to install.

8. Setup folder copy phase and reboot

Setup will now copy system files to the system/boot partition(s) you just created. This will allow the PC to boot from the C: drive and continue Setup in GUI mode.

When the file copy is complete, Setup will initialize and save your XP configuration. It will then reboot your PC.

When the system reboots, you will prWhen the system reboots, you will probably see the "Press any key to boot from CD" message again. If this happens, do not press a key: Setup will now boot from your C: drive. In the event that you cannot prevent the CD-based Setup from reloading, eject the CD and reboot. Setup will ask for the CD when needed.

9. GUI Setup begins

Once the system reboots, you will be presented with the GUI Setup phase, which is much more attractive than the DOS-mode phase. As you progress through GUI Setup, you can read promotional information about XP on the right side of the screen if you're bored.

Next, your hardware devices are detected. This could take several minutes.

10. Regional and language Options

In the first interactive portion of GUI Setup, you can choose to customize the regional and language settings that will be used by XP, as well as the text input language you'd like. Users in the United States will not normally need to change anything here.

Click Next to continue

11. Personalize your software

Now, enter your name and, optionally, your company. The name you enter is not the same as your user name, incidentally, so you should enter your real name here.

Click Next to continue.

12. Enter your product key

Now you must enter the 25-character product key that is located on the orange sticker found on the back of the CD holder that came with Windows XP. You cannot install XP without a valid product key.

Later on, you will be asked to activate and optionally register your copy of Windows XP. A product key can be used to install XP on only one PC.

Click Next to continue.

13. Enter a computer name and administrator password

In the next phase of Setup, you can create a name for your computer (which is used to identify it on a network) and, optionally in Pro Edition only, a password for the system Administrator, the person who controls the PC (this will generally be you, of course).

In XP Pro, the Administrator password is optional--that is, you can leave it blank--but We strongly recommend that you provide a good password here for security reasons. XP Home doesn't allow you enter an Administrator password, as this account is more hidden on Home installs for some reason. So you can only enter a machine name in Home Edition.

Click Next to continue.

14. Supply your date and time settings

Next, you can supply the date and time, which are auto-set based on information in your BIOS, and the time zone, which is irritatingly set to PST, which is where Microsoft is. Change these as appropriate.

Click Next to continue.

15. Network setup

If you have a networking card or modem, Setup now installs the networking components, which include the client for Microsoft networks, File and Print Sharing, the Quality of Service (QoS) Packet Scheduler, and the TCP/IP networking protocol by default.

16. Choose networking settings

In this phase, you can choose to keep the default settings (recommended) or enter custom settings. We recommend later disabling QoS, but for now, it's generally best to leave it as-is, unless you have specific needs dictated by your ISP or network.

Note that XP doesn't include the legacy NetBEUI protocol out of the box. If you want to use this protocol, you will need to install it later from the XP CD-ROM.

Click Next to continue.


Enter workgroup or domain information p. You can remove the XP SetupIn Windows XP Professional only, you will be able to select a workgroup or domain name next. Home Edition doesn't work with Windows domains, however, and Setup will automatically supply the workgroup name MSHOME, which you can change later. The default workgroup name in XP Pro is, imaginatively, WORKGROUP. I recommend changing this; Click Next to continue.

17. Setup completion

From this point on, Setup will continue to completion without any further need for interaction, so this is a good time to grab a drink or a snack.

Setup will now copy files, complete installation, install your Start Menu items, register system components, save settings, remove any temporary files needed by Setup, and then reboot.

Again, you will probably see the "Press any key to boot from CD" message on reboot. If this happens, do not press a key, and your new XP install will boot up. You can remove the XP Setup CD now.

18. Your First Boot

Boot after a clean installation. The steps that appear on your screen will include auto-adjusting your display settings, Activating Windows, and setting up user accounts. You are done with installing XP, but there are still a few tasks that remain. You will want to install the device drivers from your Drivers & Updates disk and you will need to install all available Windows Updates once you are able to get online.