Formatting creates a file-system on the
drive, so that an operating system can write information to it. The XP setup
utility performs both partitioning and formatting. If you are starting with a
blank hard-drive, you will see the disk and the unpartitioned space available.
Highlight the 'unpartitioned space' using the arrow keys and press 'c' to create
a partition. You will be shown the minimum and maximum amount of space you can
allocate to the new partition, and prompted for an amount in MB. Keep in mind
that 1000MB = 1 GB.
For now, use the maximum size,
unless you have a specific need for more partitions.
Once you have created your
partition(s), you will return to the original partitioning screen. Note that the
previously unformatted space now appears as 'Partition1 [new (raw)]' and has a
drive letter assigned to it, which should be C: unless you already have a
partition present on another disk. Highlight the new partition and press 'enter'
to begin installing Windows XP onto it.
You will be prompted to format
the drive with one of four file systems: NTFS quick, FAT quick, NTFS,
For the purposes of this
article, you have a choice between FAT (File Allocation Table 32) and NTFS (NT
File System). To make this choice, there are several things to keep in
If your computer already has another version of Windows installed, specifically a version of Windows 9x/ME, and you think you will need to access files in your new XP installation from the other operating system, choose FAT32, since computers with these older operating systems cannot
read NTFS partitions.
Note that Windows XP, like
Windows 2000 before it, can read either FAT or NTFS partitions, regardless of
how the partition on which the actual OS is installed is formatted.
If you are installing Windows
XP Professional, it is a good idea to use NTFS partitions, as only NTFS allows
the full range of security settings for access to files, folders and programs,
that XP Pro is capable of. In general, unless you have a specific need for the
FAT file system for compatibility, use NTFS.
Choose your desired file system
and hit 'enter' The system will now format the drive. This will take a while.
After formatting, the system will copy the information necessary to install a
graphical user interface (GUI) with mouse support which will handle the rest of
the installation. System restarts.
Now that you are in the GUI
portion of the install, you should have mouse support. XP will prompt you for
any regional or language options you might wish to set. The North American
defaults are of course English (United States).
You will be prompted to enter
your name, and that of your organization. These titles are strictly cosmetic. XP
will use them to fill in the name fields of newly installed software for
purposes of registration, etc. They have nothing to do with Usernames or
authentication, so don't worry about recording what you enter here.
now be asked to enter the 25-character product key. This key grants you a
temporary license to install and use XP for a period of 30 days, prior to
registering your copy of XP. More on the
registration process later on.
Next you must specify a name for your
computer, or accept the pre-generated one presented to you. The computer name is
relevant for networking purposes.