Learn Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week: Attended Installations

by Jason Zandri

Welcome to this week's installment of Windows XP Professional Exam (70-270) in 15 minutes a week, the second in this series. This article covers attended installations of Windows XP Professional from a CD-ROM.

Jason Zandri's latest article in the Learning Windows XP Professional in 15 Minutes a Week series covers the four stages of an attended installation of Windows XP Professional from a CD-ROM.

Installing Windows XP Professional from a CD-ROM to a clean hard disk consists of these four stages:

Running the Setup program - Partitions and formats the hard disk (if required) for the installation to proceed and copies the files necessary to run the Setup Wizard.

Running the Setup Wizard - Requests setup information about the local workstation where the installation is taking place.

Networking components - Installs the networking components that allow the computer to communicate with other computers on the local network.

Completing the installation - This final phase copies files to the hard drive and configures the final stages of the setup.

There are some noted differences in the Windows XP Professional installation and older Windows NT4 and Windows Professional installations.

The design of the installation program assumes that your system has the ability to boot directly from a CD-ROM or that you will use a Windows 95/98/ME boot floppy to begin installing from a CD. 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.

If your computer does support booting from a CD-ROM, or if network-based installation is available, Microsoft recommends that you use those installations methods.

Setup will not prompt the user to specify the name of an installation folder unless you are performing an unattended installation or using winnt32 to perform a clean installation.

By default, the Setup Wizard installs the Windows XP Professional operating system files in the WINDOWS folder. If this folder exists on the partition you have chosen for the install, setup will warn you that you are about to overwrite the current operating system installed on that partition. In order to keep it (e.g. dual or multi booting scenario), you would need to choose another partition for the installation.

To start the Setup program, insert the Windows XP Professional installation CD-ROM in your CD-ROM drive.

If an operating system is detected on the hard drive, the following message will appear;

In this scenario, you would need to press any key on the keyboard to continue with the CDROM installation.

After the computer starts, a minimal version of Windows XP Professional is copied into memory. This version of Windows XP Professional starts the Setup program.

After all of the files are copied and the system is restarted, the text-mode portion of Setup is started which prompts you to read and accept a licensing agreement.

You would select "F8-I agree" to continue. (If you elect not to accept the agreement, the installation will end)

You are then prompted to select a partition on which to install Windows XP Professional. You can select an existing partition or create a new partition by using any unpartitioned free space on the hard drive(s).

(The above example shows a partitioned and formatted drive)

Once a partition has been selected the next step is to select a file system for the new partition. Next, Setup formats the partition with the selected file system. (This would assume that a file system didn't currently exist. In this example, one already does and it is formatted in NTFS so I have elected to leave it as is. Any formatting done here during setup will destroy any existing data on the partitions formatted.)

From here Setup copies files to the hard disk and saves configuration information.

Setup restarts the computer once the file copy is completed and then starts the Windows XP Professional Setup Wizard, the graphical user interface (GUI) portion of Setup.

This article was originally published on Apr 11, 2002
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