View Full Version : OT-Computer ? Upgrade to Windows XP

Tony Sade
08-29-2003, 10:06 AM
I was unfortunate to have purchased a computer back when WinME was the OS installation of choice. Given all the problems/crashes, etc. especially the fact that I can't seem to install drivers for any new peripherals I try to use (mp3 player, PDA) it seems the best solution might be an upgrade to WinXP.

I know the preferred approach is to reformat the hard drive and do a "clean" install, then reinstall my programs. Quite frankly, the reformat part scares me half to death, even though I'm fairly adept at resolving most PC issues. Any tutorials, web-sites, etc. out there that could hold my hand and lead me through this? Any words of wisdom from you folks?

TIA, Tony

Rob Glynn
08-29-2003, 10:18 AM
Been there, done that.
Before you load XP, either as an upgrade or a clean installation, check the computer manufacturer's site for any information. Mine required a BIOS upgrade to make the USB ports work properly.
Apart from that problem and a lot of hunting around for XP compatible drivers for some old hardware, it all went well and the outcome was well worth the effort.
XP is great for networking, my reason to make the change, and my wife, running 98SE, and I now share an internet connection, a couple of printers and a scanner.

Ken Garlock
08-29-2003, 12:13 PM
HI Tony....

What you want is "Windows XP Home Edition" which you can buy at most computer stores for just under $100. I haven't haven't reformatted a hard drive EVER. There is no need to. Formatting is primarily for recovering bad places on the physical drive, and with todays smarter drives, they handle that on the fly. (Boy, that fly get a lot of business ;) )

What I would do is to just go through my various folders and delete the files I know for sure that I will not need ever again. Empty your recycle bin, clear your mail files: "deleted" and the older "sent." In Internet Explorer, go to tools, then Internet Options, and click on "delete files" to get rid of the IE trash. Then lastly, go to start, programs,accessories, system tools, and run disk defrager. I run Win 2000, so it might be slightly different on WinME. BTW, WinME was no doubt the worst release of windows ever foisted off on the unsuspecting public :(

After all this is completed, start the install, it is easy and you will be happy with the results. No more hangs and other problems as in previous windows releases.

Good Luck.

Perry Schmidt
08-29-2003, 12:58 PM
I agree with Rob - do some 'research' beforehand and try to download any HW drivers you need. XP has been out long enough that doing a Windows Update after you get it installed might find the drivers for you, but it's always worth looking beforehand.

But not to worry - if you can't find them, you can find them after the install.

I would also do the disk reformat. Two reasons: Clean installs from the 9x type OS (i.e. 95, 98, ME) is a lot better - you end up w/ a much cleaner system. Also you can change the disk format to the NTFS format. This is the better format and it's just a matter of time before MS phases out the old 9x/DOS format. The only thing w/ the NTFS format is once you go NTFS you can't go back - not really a big deal unless you want to have a dual boot OS computer. But it's the format that's better, and it's the format that's not being phased out. So do the format change at the same time as a clean install.

It's really quite easy. After you boot off the WindowsXP CD it walks you though the format/install quite well. And works rather smoothly, so I wouldn't let the format worry you. If you are upgrading from Windows2000, or NT then you are already using NTFS format and you probably don't need to do the clean install. But if you're upgrading from the 9x (which I think you were), just start clean - you won't regret it.

My 2 cents,


P.S. BTW - also agree with Ken, Home edition is all you need. It's a relatively good OS. And basically the same a the Pro OS. The Pro OS allows you to more selectively share files, and requires you to use NTFS format.

Jim Becker
08-29-2003, 1:40 PM
Tony, one additional suggestion...before you make the move to XP, be sure that your hardware can support it, including clock speed, memory, etc. Depending on the vintage of your machine, it may need some physical upgrades for you to be happy with XP. 128mb of memory is the minimum I'd recommend...you'll find that 256mb is much better and will help keep the speed up. (I run 512mb)

I also recommend the clean install method. The XP installation routine will help you do that as part of the process. Just choose "clean install" and be sure you've made multiple backups of your data...and VERIFIED they are readable.

Bert Johansen
08-29-2003, 1:57 PM

I agree that a "clean" install is better, i.e. reformat the HD. Be advised, however, that you will have two weeks of h*** as you configure your new machine and update all your software. Updating to XP is a very fundamental change, as has already been mentioned. Many software programs running on the older operating systems just won't work in XP. You will need to upgrade virtually all your applications to run on XP. This can be expensive, and is certainly time-consuming.

Either way you go, it is vital that you save your important files before you do any upgrades, reformatting, etc. Burn one or more CDs with your important files. Save your "favorites", *.pst files (email), etc. If you use a digital camera, save the image library, which in my case resides in the Program Files/Casio folder--NOT in My Documents. Don't rush the back-up process--take your time locating ALL your important stuff!

Assuming you have some spare hard drive space, to ease the back-up process I suggest you create a new folder called "backup" or somesuch. Copy all the docs you want to save into this folder. Then, when you are ready to burn the CD you just drag-and-drop the backup folder into the CD burner software.

Good luck!