Now that you have prepared your system, it's time to perform the actual
Ironically enough, this step is actually much less involved
than the procedures leading up to this point. Upgrading to Windows XP, like
installing it, is a mostly automated process. There are a few things you need to
know about beforehand though. Let's get started:
When upgrading a computer to Windows XP, the procedure supports what
Microsoft calls 'dynamic updates.' This involves your computer acquiring
necessary patches and drivers from the Internet during the install process,
reducing the time and risk needed to patch up your new XP system after the
upgrade is complete.
The dynamic update process takes advantage of the fact that your PC can be
connected to the Internet when the install process is begun, since it already
has a working version of Windows.
As you can imagine, using dynamic updates can drastically increase the amount
of time necessary for the upgrade, but as it will save you an equivalent amount
of time afterwards, this is not such a huge deal in our minds. Obviously, your
PC needs to be connected to the Internet in order to use this feature, and the
upgrade process will go on perfectly happily without it.
You will be asked whether or not you wish to use dynamic early in the upgrade
process. There's not really a good reason not to, unless you are working on a PC
in a business environment and need to have more control over which critical
updates you install on Windows XP. For a list of the fixes and patches in the
current version of the dynamic update file, check here.
Starting the installation
Place your Windows XP CD in your CD drive. If the CD automatically launches,
select the 'install Windows XP' option, then choose to upgrade. If it does not,
navigate to the CD in Windows explorer and double click 'setup.exe.'
Read the product license agreement carefully (if you want to know why you
should do this, see our article on software legal
issues here. Press F8 to continue, then enter the product key you were
provided with your copy of XP.
You will be asked if you wish to convert your drive(s) to the NTFS file
system. For the time being, say no unless you have a pressing reason to do this.
The conversion can always be done later in XP, and converting your drive removes
your ability to uninstall the XP upgrade.
You will be given the opportunity to use the dynamic update feature as
discussed above. Remember that you must be connected to the Internet to use this
feature, and a broadband connection is definitely recommended, otherwise you
will spending a lot of time on this upgrade.
Enter a password for the 'administrator' account when prompted. Note that it
is important that you assign a password, preferably a strong one, to this
built-in user account. The administrator account, like the first user you will
create, has full access to your computer. Not assigning this account a password
is extremely unwise if you will be connecting to the Internet.