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Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Troubleshooting the Windows XP Professional Setup

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by Jason Zandri

Jason Zandri’s latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series provides tips for troubleshooting Windows XP Professional setups.

Welcome to this week’s installment of
Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 minutes a week, the fifth in the series.
This article covers Troubleshooting the Windows XP Professional

Troubleshooting the
Windows XP Professional Setup

Usually when you are going about your
Windows XP Professional installation, you will not run into any issues,
particularly if you are sure that the installed system hardware meets the
minimum Windows XP Professional hardware requirements by verifying all of the
hardware is on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) at the Microsoft

Windows XP Professional supports only the devices listed in the
HCL. If your hardware isn’t listed, contact the hardware manufacturer and
request a Windows XP Professional driver or replace the hardware to avoid
potential issues.

Support means that while the operating system may load
and run on unsupported hardware and software, any issues that come up with
the system will not be covered (i.e. supported) by Microsoft Technical
Support if you should need to engage them.

If this has been done beforehand and
issues do arise, there are a couple of “textbook” events that can be looked at
first that will cover some of the more common problems you might encounter
during installation and these will generally be what is at issue most of the

Common Installation Problems and
Troubleshooting Tips

Media errors – When you are
installing Windows XP Professional from a CD-ROM and run into problems, the
quickest way to try to resolve the issue is to use a different CD-ROM. Even if
the CD-ROM you are using has worked a dozen times before, the drive it is in at
the time of the error may have trouble reading it or the disk itself may have
been newly damaged by a fall or some other issue. You can attempt to clean a
fingerprint-laced CD-ROM as a troubleshoot point as well. If you should need to
request a replacement CD-ROM, you can contact Microsoft or your point of

You can also try using a different
computer and CD-ROM drive. If you can read the CD-ROM on a different computer,
you can perform an over-the-network installation if that option is available to

If one of your Setup disks is not
working, download a different set of Setup disks. (The ability to directly
create setup floppies has been dropped from Windows XP. Setup boot disks are
available only by download
from Microsoft
.) The Setup boot disks are available so that you can run Setup
on computers that do not support a bootable CD-ROM. There are six Windows XP
Setup boot floppy disks. These disks contain the files and drivers that are
required to access the CD-ROM drive through generic PCI drivers and begin the
Setup process.

You may also find that the Windows XP
Professional setup program is unable to copy files from the CD-ROM. In this
event, it may be possible to either replace the drive with a supported drive (as
this is usually the issue), or you can attempt your installation via a different
method such as installing over the network (as mentioned above) or by copying
the files to the local drive first, outside of the installation program, as
sometimes the copy failure only crops up after the Windows XP Professional setup
program is running.

Insufficient disk space errors
– The current
minimum hardware requirements
for Windows XP Professional at the time of
this writing is as follows:

  • 300MHZ or higher processor clock
    speed recommended (233 MHz minimum required, can be single or dual processor
    system) Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or
    compatible processor recommended

  • 128MB of RAM or higher recommended
    (64MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)

  • 1.5GB of available hard disk

  • Super VGA (800 W 600) or
    higher-resolution video adapter and monitor

  • CD-ROM or DVD drive

  • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or
    compatible pointing device

If you do not have 1.5GB of available
hard disk space on a single partition, you will not be able to complete the
installation in most cases.

You can use the setup program to
create additional partitions that are large enough for the installation if there
is enough space on the drive, or you can elect to delete existing data on the
current partition to make enough room for the installation.

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