Windows XP & Internet - Tips & Techniques

Introducing Windows XP

Windows XP, the latest member of the Windows NT family, is actually an upgrade to the Windows 9x, Windows 2000 and Windows NT. Windows XP is offered in 3 editions:

Windows XP Home Edition, which is intended for home and small business users.

Windows XP Professional Edition, which is intended for business and advanced home users.

Windows XP 64-bit Edition, which supports the new Intel Itanium 64-bit processor.

New and Improved Features in Windows XP

Files and Settings transfer Wizard - Provides a way to transfer designated files and system settings from one installation of Windows to a new installation of Windows XP.

Better multiuser capabilities - Fast user switching now allows multiple users to remain logged onto Windows at the same time and even keep individual applications running.

New media capabilities - Includes a host of features and tools for handling media files.

CD burning - Comes with built-in CD-burning capabilities that support most modern CD-R and CD-RW drives.

Compressed folders - Includes built-in support for compressed folder in both the ZIP and Microsoft Cabinet (CAB) format.

System Restore - Creates restore points whenever you make changes to your system.

Remote Desktop - Lets you connect to and control a computer running Windows XP from a remote computer running any version of Windows.

Preparing to Install Windows XP

Here are the basic steps you will take when installing Windows XP:

Decide which edition you need.

Decide whether you need the full or upgrade version of the edition you have chosen.
o Upgrade - For an upgrade from previous version of Windows
o New installation - On a different hard disk or partition than your existing Windows. To do this, you will able to choose which Windows to boot into when you start your computer - Called dual-booting.
o Clean installation - For computer that has a blank, formatted hard disk.

Make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements and software you use is compatible.
Hardware

Minimum

Recommended

Processor

Intel Pentium III 233MHz or higher; AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family

Intel Pentium III 300MHz or higher; AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family

Memory

128MB

256MB

Disk Space

1.5GB

2.0GB

Video

Super VGA, 800x600 or higher resolution

Super VGA, 800x600 or higher resolution

Other

CD-ROM, DVD, or other access to Windows installation files

Modem or networking card for network/Internet access...

Note: To find out if your computer will be able to run Windows XP if you decide to install the Upgrade. Advisor using the following steps:

Insert the Windows XP Professional CD. If your computer does not run the CD automatically, use Windows Explorer to navigate to the CD and run the setup.exe program.

On the Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP window that appears, click the Check System Compatibility link.

Click the Check My System Automatically link

If an Internet connection is available, the Windows Upgrade Advisor runs a utility named Dynamic Update to find and retrieve any new installation files Microsoft has made available.

If any compatibility issues are listed, click the Full Details button to see a full report of incompatibility and recommended solutions.

If you want to save the report as a text file, click Save As... option.

Click the Finish button to close the Windows Upgrade Advisor.

Using Files and Settings Transfer Wizard

You will use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard twice: The first time to save file and settings from the old operating system, and then to apply saved changes to the new installation of Windows XP.

Insert the Windows XP CD.

Click the Perform Additional Task link.

Click the Transfer Files and Settings link. This action starts the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard.

Click Next to process

If your old computer is running Windows XP, the wizard will ask you identify which computer is currently operating. Select the Old Computer option and click Next. If your old computer is not running Windows XP, the wizard assumes it is the old computer and skip this step.

Next, the wizard displays the Select a Transfer Method page. Click the option that best suit your needs and click Next.

Performing an Upgrade

a. You need to take a number of actions to prepare your computer before you're performing an upgrade to Windows XP.

Run a full scan (check for virus) of your computer.

Back up your computer - Perform full backup to CD-R or save files to floppy disks or use the transfer wizard option to transfer your current info to another computer.

Turn off any virus programs.

Make sure your system is ready for the upgrade. (see the note above)

b. Here's how you perform an upgrade:

Insert Windows XP CD, if a splash screen doesn't appear automatically, use Windows Explorer to find and run the setup.exe program on the CD.

Click the Install Windows XP link.

On the Installation Type drop-down list, select Upgrade (Recommended) and click Next.

Select Accept this agreement option and click Next.

Enter product key and click Next when you're done.

Setup displays the upgrade report screen, you can use Save As button to save to text file or Detail button to see a detail report. Click Next when you're done.

Setup offers to download any setup files that have been updated by Microsoft if you are connected to the Internet.

Click Next to go on.

Performing a New Installation

Insert the Windows XP CD, if a splash screen doesn't appear automatically, use Windows Explorer to find and run the setup.exe program on the CD.

Click the Install Windows XP link.

On the Installation Type drop-down list, select New Installation (Advanced) and click Next.

Select Accept this agreement option and click Next.

Enter product key and click Next when you're done.

Windows setup displays a Setup Options page. Click Advanced Options... and click Next.

Setup offers to download any setup files that have been updated by Microsoft if you are connected to the Internet.

Click Next to go on.

Performing a Clean Installation

A clean installation is one in which you boot your computer using the Windows XP CD. If your partition is not already formatted, Setup gives you the change to format it and also lets you create partition if none exit.

Note: If you don't have a CD-ROM or computer that not supports booting from a CD, you can use a set of floppy boot disks to boot your computer and start the installation. (see Performing a set of floppy boot disks)

Here's how you perform a clean installation:

Boot your computer using Windows XP CD or floppy boot disks. Windows setup starts automatically.

During its initial phase, Windows scan your system for any hard-disk drives that match its list of supported software drivers. If you need to install a third-party SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) or RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) drives for Windows to recognize your drives, press F6 at this time. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer of your drive on installing the drives.

When setup has finished its initial scan, it displays a Welcome screen, press Enter to continue.

Next, setup displays the Windows licensing agreement. Read it and then press F8 to go on.

The partitioning screen is displayed next. You have 3 options on this screen:
o Set up Windows in the partition that is currently select - Proceeds with the Windows installation.
o Create a new partition in unpartitioned space - Lets you specify the size of the new partition.
o Delete a partition - Deletes the selected partition

Setup presents several options for formatting the partition you have selected. You can format a partition by selecting
Format the partition using the NTFS (NT File System) file system (3rd row)

Windows displays a process screen while it formats your partition. After this, Windows copies files to your hard disk and restarts the computer.

When the computer restarts, setup continues. Select and modify these choices if you need to and click Next to go on.

Enter product key and click Next.

Enter a name for your computer and a password for the default administrator account. Check the system date, time and enter your time zone. Click Next to go on.

Setup now displays the Network Settings dialog box with 2 options:
o Typical Settings - Installs standard networking services (Client for Microsoft Networks, The QoS(Quality of Service) Packet Scheduler, File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks, TCP/IP...) - Prefer this option
o Custom Settings - Lets you manually configure your network.

Now set up the computer to be a member of a workgroup or Windows domain. If you are on a small peer-to-peer network with no dedicated Windows servers, choose Workgroup. If your computer is a member of a large network, it may be part of a Windows domain. (see Workgroups and Domains)

Activating Windows XP

When the setup is finished, you must activate your copy of Windows within 30 days of installation or you will no longer be able to use it. You can activate your copy of Windows XP in 2 ways:

Over the Internet - This method is easy, fast and automatic (refer to use this method)

Over the Telephone - This method will take a little longer and too much of a hassle.

Uninstalling Windows XP

You cannot uninstall Windows XP if you upgraded from Windows NT or Windows 2000 Professional. This option is available only if you upgrade from Windows 98, 98SE or ME.

To uninstall Windows XP after an upgrade, use the following steps:

Click Start and open Control Panel.

Click the Add or Remove Program link.

Select the Windows XP Uninstall entry and then click the Change/Remove button that appears. This opens the Uninstall Windows XP dialog box.

Select the Uninstall Windows XP option and click Continue.

A dialog box appears asking you to confirm that you want to uninstall Windows XP. Click Yes. Windows runs the uninstallation program and restart using the previous operating system.

Updating Windows

You can go to the Microsoft web site www.microsoft.com for downloading and installing updated Windows components. The types of components are:

Patches - Fixes the problems that Microsoft has discovered.

Component Updates - Releases a new version of a Windows component.

Driver Updates - Releases updated versions of hardware drives designed for Windows XP.

Application Updates - Updates for many applications that fix compatibility issues with Windows XP.

Bypass Windows XP log-in

Click Start and open the Control Panel.

Select Performance and Maintenance in Category view.

Select Adminnistrative Tool | Local Security Policy

In the left pane, double-click Account Policies and click Password Policy.

In the right pane, double-click Maximum Password Age.

Change the number to zero, click OK and then close the Local Security settings window.

Speed Up the Windows Boot

You installed some new applications on your computer, and now Windows blithely lets them automaticcal everytime Windows boots, slowing my speedy startup to a crawl. To fix this problem:

Select Start | Run

Enter msconfig in the 'Open' text box and click OK

Select the Startup tab, and uncheck one or more of the items listed (for clarity, try disabling just one item at a time).

Click OK and click Restart.

When Windows restart, the System Configuration Utility will pop up in an annoying test mode. If no serious problems have cropped up, check Don't show this message or launch the System Configuration Utility and click OK.

Terminate Temp Files

When Windows says there aren't any temp files on your hard disk, don't believe it. Find and delete them yourself.

In Widows Explorer, right-click the C: drive (or other drive, as appropriate)

Select the General tab and click the Disk Cleanup button. Even though the Disk Cleanup tool deletes useless files and there by fees up disk space, it does not touch the Temp files folder under Local Settings.

Select all files, and press Delete

Uncover Hidden File Name Extensions and Expose Cloaked Files

Windows XP thinks you don't need to see file name extensisons and hidden files. So, if you want to see them:

Open Windows Explorer

Select Tools | Folder Options | View, uncheck Hide extensions for known file types

Select Show hidden files and folders and click OK

Halt CPU Hoggers

There is a program or service that has malfunctioned and continues to run, even though it may not show a window or taskbar icon that you can use to close it. To find and close these CPU hogs:

First close all running applications.

Press <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<Delete> to launch Task Manager

Select the Processes tab. Scroll down the list of processes until you come to one that's gobbling up the resources. Select it and click End Process.

Protect Your PC during Installs

Before beginning the installation, physically isolate the PC from the Internet by disconnecting the network cable or phone line.

Next, perform the Windows installation.

Then log on to Windows, go to Control Panel, launch Network Connections, right-click the network connection through which you access the Web, and choose Properties | Advanced.

Check Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet, and click OK

Now the PC will be safe enough from incoming attacks to visit the Windows or other Update sites.

Sources:

- PC World
- PC Magazine

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