Installing Windows XP


Ever since 2001, Windows XP has been a favorite OS by millions of people. Born out of Windows NT and came with multiple flavors of XP, users were charmed with its fresh new look and ease of use.

Note: for VM using Virtual PC 2007 click here to view necessary information for installing Windows XP Professional X86.


  • Home Edition
  • Professional
  • Tablet PC
  • Media Center Edition
    • Media Center Edition (Freestyle 2002)
    • Media Center Edition (Harmony 2004)
    • Media Center Edition (EHarmony 2005)
  • Professional X64 Edition

With these many distributions of the OS, people could pick and choose between the features and determine exactly what the need.

Installing Windows XP

Today we'll be installing Windows XP Professional X86 (32-bit edition) from scratch. Before we install we need to prepare our Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for installing XP.

Step 1

Find your Windows Product Key. If you have lost your product key or are not sure if it is correct then you should download a free product key finder that is compatible with your current installation of Windows XP. this website, however, only applies if you are moving your installation from one computer to another computer.

Create the necessary partitions and/or back up all of the important files that you need for this new installation. If you intend on wiping your HDD then using software that is available for free is a great tool to wipe an HDD with. You'll need to mount this progam on a CD and boot from the CD and when it prompts you type the following: WIPE 0

Once you've done what you need to do in order to prepare your HDD for installing XP, pop the CD/DVD in and turn off the computer off and back on to boot from the CD/DVD. The first thing you'll see is the following:

The next thing you'll see is the beginning of the Windows Installer with a bright blue background:

Once all of the necessary items are loaded for the Installer to commence you'll see the follwing:

Press Enter to setup XP.

Step 2

The first thing you'll be asked to do it to accept the EULA or the End-User License Agreement, press F8 to accept the EULA otherwise the OS will NOT install.

Step 3 1

Select the Hard Drive or the HDD Partition that you wish XP to be installed on and then press enter.

Step 4 2

The next step is important to installing your OS. If you don't want to use the Wipe utility you can do what's called a high-level format which wipes the HDD.

NTFS Quick v. NTFS

NTFS Quick only wipes out the Master Boot Record (MBR) and the parition tables you have assigned to that drive. The deletion of files, however, does not occur. NTFS normal disk format not only wipes the MBR and the parition table, but is also wipes out ALL of the files that are in the drive. Once this is done it cannot be undone and you will not be able to retrieve any files from the HDD. This is also called a high-level format.

If you used the Wipe utility then you can use the NTFS Quick setting and if you did not but you want to wipe the drive then you can use the NTFS format to wipe the drive.

Select the option you wish to use and then press enter. You will see the following:

Once this is done you'll see the following:

This portion of the setup is just analyzing your HDD to make sure the format went well and goes by relatively quickly.

Step 5

Once the formatting process is finished and it has checked to make sure everything has gone correctly, you will see this:

This is merely loading all of the necessary files that are needed to begin and complete the XP setup. After it gathers all of the necessary files you will see that the files are being configures and then the system will reboot.

Setting up Windows XP

Now that all of the core files have loaded for the setup to commence, we can actually begin installing and configuring our installation of the OS.

At first, it appears as if the XP installation had finished when, in reality, it's just the tip of the iceberg unfortunately.

Step 1

Windows will first analyze your system and prompt you which language you are using and how you would like your keyboard setup.

Step 2 3

Next we'll need to type the name of the PC that we wish to use.

Step 3

Enter in your 25 number product key and then continue. If you are unsure of your product key and you might have lost it then there is the software mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial.

Step 4

Once the product key has successfully been entered we now will configure the admin user and time settings. We have an option from UTC - 12 to UTC + 12. Here in Pacific Time Zone we're UTC - 8.

Step 5

This is where the fun begins. Be prepared to spend time doing something else while the OS installs. This is really just preparing the OS for installation.

Step 6

For setting up the network, it is advised to setup all of the typical settings (which is basically everything) since it is all you'll need to have a fully functional computer.

Step 7

Wait. Nothing more, nothing less. The only thing we do now is wait. Here are multiple screen shots of the installers progress:

Finalizing the Install

From what may seem like an eternity, Windows reboots itself this time and we start to configure the OS to our liking before we actually are able to use XP.

Step 1

Automatic Updates are essential for any Windows Operating System. This allows Windows to search and download updates and even install them without you having to approve of such updates. These updates include security patches, OS patches, service packs, updates in key software such as hardware drivers, manufacture software, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer updates.

Step 2

Setting up the network is important but not vital. If you are unsure if your PC is on a network or if it directly connects to the internet then select no for the answer and continue with the configuration. You can always change these settings in control panel later on.

Step 3

Activating Windows is an important process to get done with. You will, however, need an internet connection in order to activate windows. If you do not have an active internet connection then you should find some way to activate the OS.

Registering with Microsoft is relatively unimportant. You can choose to register or to not register.

Step 4

This step in configuration allows us to create our admin user and up to four additional users of the computer. XP was the first Operating System that allows multiple users and it passed Apple's OSX 10.0 initial release codename cheetah with great popularity and more features.

Step 5

Once this is all done you'll get the following screen:

and then the OS will finish booting and presto!

Virtual Machine Reference Material for Virtual PC 2007
1 The hard drive that we see here will be the amount of space that we allocated to the VM in step 8 of the Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 software. 2 The format of the HDD doesn't mean anything because there is nothing on the virtual drive. It is completely blank. It has not yet gone through a high-level format like the host computers HDD has. You can select either option. 3 An interesting phenomenon happens here if the names of the host computer and the virtual machine are the same. You must name the VM something other than what the hosts name is. e.g. Host: Dennis-PC and VM: Dennis-PC. This is not allowed.

Creating a Virtual Machine with Microsoft Virtual PC 2007


The first VM tutorial that we read about was with a paid software created by Parallels. If you didn't read this tutorial and you are interested then click here.

How to Find

This may seem silly to some out there but this little bit of software isn't easy to find actually. If you use your preferred search engine and simply type Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 you'll get a link like the following: this is NOT. Why? Because they also want you to download obnoxious software with it as well.

The URL you really want only has the software you actually need from Microsoft and can be easily found and downloaded here.

Installing Windows XP as a VM

In this tutorial we'll be installing Windows XP Professional X86 on our VM. This could be helpful if you have software or hardware that is not yet supported on Windows Vista/7 and perhaps might never be supported. You can, of course, install any OS you wish on your PC and run it as the VM.

Step 1

Just press next

Step 2

We need to either create a new Virtual Machine with our own custom settings, create a vm using the typical settings as determined by Microsoft, or add an existing VM.

We want to create a new VM using our own custom settings (the first option).

Step 3

Name the Virtual Machine something that can be easily remembered and lets you identify your VM instantly by the OS it uses. XP or Windows XP will suite for this VM.

As for the physical location of the VM, it will be saved in the following places:

For XP: C:\documents and settings\My Virtual Machines

For Vista and 7: C:\users\{username}\Documents\My Virtual Machines

Step 5

Next we need to set our OS that we are installing.

For this tutorial we'll be installing Windows XP Professional X86 but we have multiple options that we can choose from.

Step 6

Next we'll want to set our own custom amount of RAM for the VM to use. This is very contingent on the amount of available RAM you have on your host system. If you are unsure how much RAM you have go to run by pressing windows key+r and typing msinfo32 you are looking for the Installed Physical RAM and the Total RAM. If your total RAM exceeds 1.5GB then you should allocate more RAM to the XP VM. 400MB-512MB for 2GB of RAM is acceptable.

Step 7

Next we want to create a new disk for our VM and then we want to allocate the necessary space for the VM.

Step 8

Now we need to add some less or more space (depending on what we want) to the Virtual Disk which the OS will be installed on. For some strange reason Microsoft uses a default number of 65536MB or 6.55 GB of space for XP to be installed on. I lessened the number to 40000MB or 4GB of space because I'll just be installing the OS and that's it. You can always modify the settings for the RAM and HDD space later on once the OS is installed.

Step 9

Once everything is setup the way we want it, press finish and you'll notice that in the Virtual PC Console our newly created VM is in there.

Step 10

Insert the Windows XP or your OS CD/DVD that you will be installing and when you launch the VM click on the CD option and select boot from CD drive.

Installing Windows XP

See Installing Windows XP at the top there will be a link that explains all of the critical information that you need to know about installing XP on a VM.

Once we're done installing XP we now can run applications and an OS through the free software available through Microsoft.

Running a Virtual Machine on a PC with Parallels


Virtual Machines, what in the world are they? What purpose do they serve? How do they benefit the average computer user?

These are all common questions that you might have running through your ear right now. A virtual machine is an emulation software that executes as a physical machine. We're specifically discussing system virtual machines in this tutorial.

Virtual Machines can run a separate OS alongside your current OS that is running. For example, let us assume that we're all running Windows XP Professional and we use Linux Ubuntu quite often as well. Since we're tech savvy we partition our hard drive and install Ubuntu on the second partition so we can dual boot. Using a virtual machine there is no need to partition our hard drive or even to dual boot. We can use the emulation software to run XP and Ubuntu at the same time.

These virtual machines allows users to run two different operating system at the same time on the same computer. If you are someone that can benefit with the use of a virtual machine since you switch back and forth between operating systems then this is a solution for you!

Note: you can comfortably run a Virtual Machine (VM) on 1GB of RAM and on a 80GB Hard Drive. The more RAM and HDD space the better, however.

Setting up your VM

The first thing we need to do is to go to the BIOS and change one critical setting. Before the OS begins to boot up press the proper function key to get into your BIOS. Find the Virtual Machine setting and change it to "Enabled". Reboot the computer and now the fun begins!


Parallels is a company that creates some of the best virtualization software available. This software, however, comes at a cost. There is a full 30 day free trial of the software and you will need to provide information for a new user account. and we would want to try or buy the Parallels Desktop ® 4 for Windows & Linux.

Once we obtain the program and the trial license, install the program and then reboot once it finishes installing or when it prompts you to do so.

Step 1

Whichever OS you choose to have as your VM, take the image of the OS you wish to install on your VM and put it in Documents and Settings > My Parallels.

Note: Disc Images are merely files that have the extension .iso and is one big file that contains all of the information from a disc such as a DVD or a CD. You can use iso programs like Alcohol 120%, PowerIso, MagicIso, UltraIso, and Dameon Tools.

Pass the Intro Screen and then select the OS you wish to install on your VM. For this tutorial we'll be installing Linux Ubuntu 10.04.

Step 2

We want to do a custom instillation of our VM because the typical settings might be a little much or not enough for our taste.

If we have a multi-core processor then select the number of cores you wish the VM to be able to use and then select the amount of RAM you wish to allocate to the VM (What is the max amount of RAM you wish to grant to the VM?).

Step 3

Next we want to create a new disk image to be used on the VM. Create a new image means that the software will create the VM partition it needs to run the OS.

Select the capacity that we want to allocate for the VM to use. By default the number will probably be quite substantial so we might want to reduce it.

You'll notice some options under the HDD allocation option. There are two radio buttons and one check box. The check box is for legacy FAT (File Allocation Tables) or older file systems.

Expanding Disk does not grant the VM the entire space all at once. As more and more space is used the software will grant the VM the necessary space it needs. This can help us save HDD space by only giving the VM the space when it needs it.

Plain Disk grants the VM the entire amount of space all at once.

Step 4

Setting up the network is a critical part of setting up VM. Sometimes you don't want to allow the VM to be able access the internet for security reasons. Sometimes you want the VM to be able to access the internet under the same connection as your current machine.

  • Shared Network Allows the VM to connect to the exist network connection. This means that the OS installed on the VM will not have its own unique connection.
  • Bridge Network allows for the OS installed on the VM to have its own unique connection.
  • Host-Only Network keeps the VM as a local only network. This means the OS installed on the VM has access to the host computer and other VM's on the same computer or within that local network.
  • No Networking this means that the VM literally has no networking privileges.

Step 5

This step has multiple options and is probably best to leave the default adapter unless you have two separate adapters on a laptop or desktop. For example, your desktop came with a build in wifi receiver and you installed a PCI card that receives wifi and instead of using the PCI Card (which you set as the default adapter) you decide to use the built in wifi receiver.

Step 6

We can choose how we want to order the performance of our system. If we want to allocate more resources to the VM then select Virtual Machine and if we want to keep the VM secondary then allocate more resources to the host computer. This all, of course, is when the VM is running.

Step 7

This is where we name and specify our VM. The OS we wish to install on the VM will be in .iso file format and should be placed in C:\documents and settings\my parallels (XP) or C:\users\{username}\documents\my parallels (Vista and 7).

Step 8

This is where we actually "install" the OS on the VM. We can install the OS from a CD/DVD or from the image of the OS. For this example, we'll be using the disc image of Ubuntu 10.04. Select where the disc image is and press continue.

Step 9

Now that we're all done setting up our VM using Parallels, we start our VM and we might see an error like this:

This is because we need to get into the BIOS and allow Virtual Machines to be used on our system. If you're unsure how to get into your BIOS consult the manufacture's website or documentation. If you are using a custom built system then check the motherboards documentation or website.

Step 10

Now that our system allows Virtual Machines we can commence with the process. Open parallels and wait for Ubuntu to boot up. You'll see the following screen:

Once it has finished loading you'll notice that we need to physically install the OS on the VM. Ubuntu will give us options like the following:

Which is asking us where we want to install Ubuntu on. Select the option with the allocated space that we chose for the VM to have earlier in the setup process.

Once we choose everything we need to, the OS will begin to install.

Step 11

Once it is done installing we can finish setting up the OS.

Once everything is done, check the resources to make sure everything is working property for example:

If all of the settings are in order then you now have a virtual machine using Linux Ubuntu!

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