Prepare for Setup There are four important steps you should take before you start Setup: Run an upgrade report it only takes a few minutes to check system compatibility. Disable virus protection software if you do not do this, installation might fail. Back up your files either by using the Backup Wizard that is built into Windows, or by using another backup program. Decide which type of Setup you want an upgrade or a new installation. Doing these four steps before starting Setup can save you time in the long run. Run an upgrade report An upgrade report tells you how your hardware and software will work with Windows XP. The upgrade report is a quick and easy program that you can run using the Windows XP CD. Here's how: Insert the Windows XP CD into your CD-ROM drive. When the Welcome menu appears, click Check system compatibility. Then click Check my system automatically. You can also find information about your computer's devices (such as printers, scanners, and so on) at the device manufacturer's Web site, in the Windows Catalog, and on the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List (HCL): Text version of the HCL (for all operating systems) (https://winqual.microsoft.com/download/default.asp) Text version of the HCL (for Windows XP only) (https://winqual.microsoft.com/download/display.asp?FileName=hcl/WinXPHCLx86.txt) The Windows Catalog (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/) You can get to all of the above from Windows Hardware and Driver Central (Windows 7 Compatibility: Software Programs & Hardware Devices: Find Updates, Drivers, & Downloads) What do you do if something is incompatible with Windows XP? You can upgrade either the hardware or software in question, find a similar but compatible program or device, or you can remove the program or device and stop using it. To upgrade, contact the manufacturer. To find compatible programs and devices, check the Windows Catalog (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/). To remove a program, go to Control Panel and open Add or Remove Programs. Disable virus protection (antivirus) software Virus protection software sometimes interferes with Setup, so make sure that you disable it before you begin installing Windows XP. For instructions about how to do this, refer to the documentation for your virus protection software. After setting up Windows XP, remember to enable the virus protection program. In some cases you will need an updated version of the software, which you might be able to download from the software manufacturer's Web site. Back up your files Back up any files that you want to preserve, just in case something goes awry. Depending on how many files you have, you can copy them to a floppy disk, removable drive, or CD, or to a network folder if you have a network. You can copy the files directly or use the Backup Wizard included with most versions of Windows. This wizard is located in the Accessories\System Tools folder on the Start menu. Note: You cannot restore a backup in Windows XP that you created by using the Msbackup tool in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Millennium Edition. For more information about this issue, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 305381, "Cannot Restore Backups That You Create in Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me with the Windows XP NTBackup Tool." Decide which type of Setup you want There are basically three different types of Setup: an upgrade, a new installation (also known as a clean installation or a full installation), and a multiboot installation. Hint: we highly recommend the first one! Upgrade. This is the easiest method of installing Windows XP. We recommend you use this method if you are running a previous version of Windows. When you upgrade, you replace the existing operating system with Windows XP, but your data and most user settings should not be affected. (It's always a good idea to back up your files before starting, just in case.) You can upgrade from Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT Workstation 4 (Service Pack 6), or Windows 2000 Professional. Note: Windows 2000 can only be upgraded to Windows XP Professional. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article 292607 for supported upgrade paths. Also see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 316941 for an overview of the Windows XP Setup process. Tip: To find a Microsoft Knowledge Base article, go to Microsoft Help and Support (Microsoft Support), type the article number in the Search the Knowledge Base box, and press ENTER. New installation. Also known as a full installation or a clean installation, this method requires a little more work than an upgrade. A new installation can install Windows XP on another drive or partition without disturbing an existing installation, or you can choose to wipe out everything on your hard drive so that you "start from scratch." You should definitely back up your files before doing a new installation! As part of a new installation, you can also partition and format your hard drive. It's best to do this as part of Setup, rather than doing it in advance (as you might have done with previous versions of Windows). We'll get to that. Multiboot installation. The hardest of all three, this method is a variation of the new installation process that lets you run more than one operating system on your computer. For example, you can have both Windows XP and Windows 98 installed. To switch from one to the other, you restart the computer and choose an operating system from a menu that appears when the computer starts. Sounds cool, but don't attempt this unless you are an advanced computer user.