Some good advice from TechRepublic.
BEFORE YOU INSTALL WINDOWS XP. . .
Today is release day for the Windows XP operating system, which means that nonpreinstalled versions of this software will begin hitting hard drives as we speak. Microsoft is known for user-friendly software that makes installing programs very easy–you just have to follow the wizard. While this is true, many users forget something very important, especially with operating systems: planning. Many users don’t like this word, but planning is an essential part of installation. Below is a checklist of things you should do before you ever put that Windows XP installation disk into your CD-ROM drive:
* Check that your hardware meets the minimum hardware requirements. Actually, make sure it exceeds them. Click here for help.
* Check that all your hardware is on the Windows Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Click here for help.
* Download the newest drivers for your hardware.
* Check for any updates for your software–especially for antivirus software and personal firewalls.
* If you’re going to upgrade rather than perform a fresh install, remove personal firewalls and antivirus software before installation.
* Suspend overclocking during the setup process.
* Read the documentation on last-minute issues. Check the docs folder on the Windows XP CD.
* Make a backup of all important data.
* If you have problems during installation, remove all nonessential hardware, like TV cards, sound cards, and CD-R/RW drives, and replace them after the installation is complete.
* If you have a problem, don’t be afraid to ask or search for information on your problem. The best source of information is The Windows XP Expert Zone.