some, Windows XP was finally the answer consumers were craving
- the stability of Windows 2000 with the ease and compatability
of Windows ME; finally there was a unified codebase. But to
others, it was just another attempt at "extortion"
by Microsoft. I've been running XP since Beta 2 and fall into
the first group. I really like Windows XP. However, this won't
be an article discussing the merits of the new OS. Instead,
it will focus on the experience of upgrading from Windows
ME to XP looking at the preparation, installation and aftermath.
It will also include a few simple precautions.
you upgrade an operating system, a few minutes of preparation
can save you a lot of aggravation later. I spent a couple
of hours just preping my system. Not all of the items mentioned
below are required, but it should help things go smoother.
Spring Cleaning - Uninstall all those junk programs
that have just been taking up hard drive space. The fewer
programs you have, the less likely it will be for problems
to appear with Win XP. Also, clean up temporary internet files
and your Recycle Bin.
Run Regclean - Regclean
is a simple utility that Microsoft produced a few years ago.
It was originally designed for Windows 95, but I found it
worked well in Win98 and ME. Regclean will remove obsolete
entries in the Registry. Many times uninstallers do a poor
job of cleaning up after themselves. Regclean helps combat
Remove Third-Party Disc Utilities - If you use programs
like Norton Utilities (2001 or earlier), they are not compatible
with Windows XP. You will have to uninstall them before upgrading
to XP. You will have to purchase Norton Utilities 2002 if
you want to keep using it. Unfortunately for me, Norton 2001
wouldn't uninstall properly, so I had to do it manually (no
Run Disc Utilities - This is not contradicting point
#3 above. Use Win 9X/ME's disc utilities (ScanDisk and DeFrag)
instead. It's important that any disc errors be corrected
Run Update Advisor - Microsoft has published a tool
Advisor. It's a rather large download (50MB) that helps
you determine the readiness of your PC for Windows XP (also
available on the Win XP CD). It will tell you what hardware
and software may be incompatible with XP.
Get Updates - Get all driver updates as well as program
updates ahead of time. One of the worse feelings during an
install is the realization that you don't have the right drivers
Clean Out Start Up Group - The Start Up group contains
many of the programs that appear in your SysTray. In most
cases, you don't want these programs trying load up when you
are installing a new OS. The operating system should have
safeguards against such things, but it's better to error on
the safe side. Simply drag the icons from your Start Up group
to your Desktop.
Backup Data - Microsoft has done a good job making
sure there are no problems installing Windows XP. However,
there is nothing to say that you won't be part of the minority
that gets hosed. Backup your critical data.
you have enough hard drive space, the first thing you want
to do before you start actually installing the OS is to copy
the installation files to your hard drive. Create a new folder
on a drive with at least 800MB free on it and call it "WinXPdisk"
or something like that and copy all the files from the CD
to that folder. Now whenever the OS needs to grab an updated
file, you can sit back relax. You won't be stuck hunting for
your Win XP CD when it needs a file (which can be very aggravating).
Not only that, but the installation should be faster. Remove
the CD from your drive and run the "Setup" program
from your hard drive.
installation itself is relatively painless, though it took
almost an hour and a half for me. Assuming you have a good
connection to the internet, when prompted, let the installation
program update itself with the latest files from Microsoft.
There were a few spots were it appeared the installation program
locked up, but eventually it would start up again.