Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Windows SteadyState

Share computers, not headaches

What state is your shared computer in at the end of the day?

  • Hard disk filled with downloaded files?
  • Strange options configured?
  • Programs installed that you don't want?
  • System infected with viruses and spyware?
  • Computer bogged down for unknown reasons?

Windows SteadyState, successor to the Shared Computer Toolkit, is designed to make life easier for people who set up and maintain shared computers.

An easy way to manage multiple users
An easy way to manage multiple users

You can manage whole groups of users as single user accounts. The new Windows SteadyState console makes it easier than ever to create and modify user profiles.

A locked-down platform for stable shared computing

Not every computer user should have access to every software capability. Your system can be more stable and consistent when you limit user access to control panel functions, network resources, and other sensitive areas.

Set it and forget it
Set it and forget it

Once you have everything set up the way you want it, you can share the computer and rest easy. Any changes a user might make to the configuration or hard disk can be undone by simply restarting the machine.

Windows SteadyState Installation Overview

The key to success with Windows SteadyState is to properly prepare your computer before installation. This section will help you perform the necessary pre-installation tasks.

Verify system requirements

Windows SteadyState works with genuine versions of Microsoft Windows XP with SP2 installed, including Windows XP Professional, Home Edition, and Tablet PC Edition. The hardware requirements are the same as for Windows XP, so any computer that runs Windows XP well should also be able to run Windows SteadyState. See the Windows SteadyState Handbook for more detailed hardware specifications.

Uninstall Shared Computer Toolkit software
Shared Computer Toolkit version 1.1 was the previous edition of Windows SteadyState. If any version of the Shared Computer Toolkit is installed on your computer, uninstall it before proceeding.

See how to uninstall SCT.

Optimize the PC
It is very important to defragment your hard disk before using Windows Disk Protection. There are a number of other steps that are also highly recommended, such as clearing out caches, histories, cookies, temporary files, and anything else that users shouldn't see. The idea is to clean out and update everything on the PC to get it in the exact condition you want it to return to every time it restarts.

Read the optimization checklist.

Install Windows SteadyState

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Autopsy on Actor Is Inconclusive as Calls for Help Are Revealed

Published: January 24, 2008

The cause of the actor Heath Ledger’s death could take two weeks to determine, the New York City medical examiner’s office said on Wednesday. An autopsy was conducted Wednesday morning, but the results were inconclusive and blood and tissue tests need to be completed, said Ellen Borakove, the spokeswoman for the office.

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A makeshift memorial cropped up outside Heath Ledger’s apartment in SoHo on Wednesday, a day after he was found dead in bed there.

Other details surrounding Mr. Ledger’s death emerged on Wednesday as rumor and speculation swirled. Police officials said that the masseuse who discovered Mr. Ledger unconscious told them that she made two phone calls to the actress Mary-Kate Olsen, a friend of Mr. Ledger’s, moments before she called 911.

Mr. Ledger, 28, the Australian-born star of “Brokeback Mountain,” was found dead on Tuesday afternoon in bed in his apartment in SoHo, with a bottle of prescription sleeping pills nearby.

Although the police said on Wednesday that a rolled-up $20 bill was also found, they said that tests of the bill found no trace of drugs and that they had turned up no illegal drugs anywhere in the apartment. Mr. Ledger left no suicide note, the police have said.

The authorities found six different types of prescription drugs in Mr. Ledger’s apartment, including sleeping pills and antianxiety medicine, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. Three of the drugs were prescribed in Europe, said the official, who noted that Mr. Ledger had recently returned to the United States from London.

According to the police, the masseuse who found Mr. Ledger on Tuesday, Diana Wolozin, arrived at Mr. Ledger’s apartment, at 421 Broome Street, about 2:45 p.m. to give him a massage and saw his bedroom door closed.

When he had not emerged by around 3 p.m., she called his cellphone, got no answer and entered the bedroom, where she saw him in bed.

She went to the closet, took out a massage table and started to set it up near his bed, the police said. Then she went over to Mr. Ledger and shook him, but got no response. Using his cellphone, she pressed a speed-dial button and called the 21-year-old Ms. Olsen, who she knew was a friend of Mr. Ledger’s, to ask for help.

According to the authorities, Ms. Wolozin told Ms. Olsen, who was in California, that Mr. Ledger was unconscious. Ms. Olsen said she would call private security people she knew in New York.

Ms. Wolozin again shook Mr. Ledger, called Ms. Olsen a second time, and said she feared Mr. Ledger might be dead and would call 911.

Ms. Wolozin called 911 at 3:26 p.m. to say that Mr. Ledger was not breathing. The call was made less than 15 minutes after she first saw him in bed and only a few moments after the first call to Ms. Olsen. The 911 operator urged Ms. Wolozin to try to revive Mr. Ledger, but Ms. Wolozin’s efforts were not successful.

Emergency medical workers arrived at 3:33 p.m., at almost exactly the same moment as a private security guard summoned by Ms. Olsen. The medical workers moved Mr. Ledger’s body to the floor and then used a defibrillator and CPR, to no avail. He was pronounced dead at 3:36 p.m. By that point, two other private security guards summoned by Ms. Olsen had arrived, as had police officers.

Mr. Ledger had been snoring around 1 p.m. when a housekeeper, Teresa Solomon, arrived at the apartment, she told the police. Ms. Solomon went into Mr. Ledger’s bedroom to change a light bulb in an adjacent bathroom and saw Mr. Ledger face-down on the bed.

The police said that all five witnesses — Ms. Solomon, Ms. Wolozin, and the three guards summoned by Ms. Olsen — were cooperating with the authorities.

The police said they could not immediately say if Ms. Wolozin was a licensed masseuse. There is no Diana Wolozin listed in the state database of licensed massage therapists. It is a felony to practice massage without a license in New York.

After the two-hour autopsy at the medical examiner’s headquarters Wednesday, Ms. Borakove, the spokeswoman for the office, said that the cause of death was still unclear.

“If you have no apparent cause, you have to do further testing,” she said. The two types of tests that still have to be performed include toxicology, which examines the adverse effects of chemicals in the bloodstream, and histology, in which thin slices of tissue are analyzed by pathologists.

“Toxicology is done on blood and urine and what is in the stomach contents,” Ms. Borakove said. “It does not take one day. It takes 10 days to two weeks.”

It is the medical examiner’s office that will ultimately determine whether Mr. Ledger died of suicide, natural causes, accident or foul play. The police have said that there is no evidence of foul play and no note or any other obvious evidence pointing toward suicide.

Mr. Ledger, whose breakthrough role as a gay cowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for an Academy Award, moved to SoHo sometime after he separated last summer from his companion, the actress Michelle Williams, and left the town house they and their 2-year-old daughter shared in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

He led a high-visibility life in Manhattan, and was often spotted at clubs and bars with actresses and models.

Mr. Ledger’s death has drawn international attention and even affected President Bush’s schedule. Out of deference to Mr. Ledger, the president postponed an appearance Wednesday to promote an advertising campaign on preventing prescription drug abuse, Reuters reported.

“We did not want anyone to think we were trying to link into that story in any way,” said Dana Perino, his spokeswoman.

Outside Mr. Ledger’s home in SoHo and his former residence in Brooklyn, news crews clustered for a second day and mourners and fans trickled by to leave flowers or notes.

Ms. Williams returned to the Brooklyn house shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

On the doorstep was a letter taped to a teddy bear, signed by the Melendez family.

“Stay strong,” the note said. “Just remember he loved you and your baby very much.”

Sewell Chan and Christian Hansen contributed reporting. (Source:http://www.nytimes.com)

Why Mary-Kate Olsen was called first?

By Gemma Jones and Stefanie Balogh in New York
January 25, 2008 12:00am

THE woman who found a dead or dying Heath Ledger in his New York apartment made four desperate calls to child-star Mary-Kate Olsen before she finally dialled emergency services, it was revealed yesterday.

In a panicked period lasting at least 10 minutes, Ledger's masseuse Diana Wolozin twice phoned Olsen - who was in California - after she found Ledger "cold to the touch" and in obvious need of medical help.

But instead of immediately calling for an ambulance, the masseuse scrolled to Olsen's number on Ledger's mobile telephone and called her to reveal the drama.

New York Daily News have reported that a police source said Wolozin's first call was "for guidance" - she wanted to check with Olsen before doing anything with her movie star client.

"She knows when something goes bad, you call 'insiders' first to see how to handle things," another source said.

Wolozin, who was panicking at the time, probably didn't realise how grave the situation was at the time and was seeking advice on how to handle the delicate situation.

As Ledger's distraught ex-fiancee Michelle Williams returned to New York from Sweden with their daughter Matilda, 2, yesterday, the frantic final minutes of Ledger's life emerged.

Ms Wolozin, 21, phoned Olsen - who authorities yesterday revealed had been involved in a relationship with Ledger - and cried down the phone: "Heath is unconscious, I don't know what to do!"

Police have revealed she spent nine minutes trying to reach Olsen three times, before they spoke during her fourth phone call after checking Ms Wolozin's phone records.

Olsen, the former Full House star, did not suggest to Ms Wolozin to call 911, instead telling her: "I'm sending my private security there."

In a second and more desperate phone call moments later, Ms Wolozin told Olsen: "I think he may be dead, I'm calling 911," with Olsen telling her: "I already have people coming over."

Police said the desperate emergency call at 3.26pm was made within 15 minutes of Ms Wolozin finding Ledger naked and "unconscious and unresponsive" after a suspected drug overdose.

Ms Wolozin tried in vain to resuscitate Ledger, following instructions from the 911 operator. The paramedics arrived shortly after, briefly trying CPR and shocking Ledger's heart with a defibrillator but the star was pronounced dead at 3.33pm.

Ledger's final hours became clearer yesterday. In possibly his last words, he told his friend Shekhar Kapr on Monday night to call again in the morning to "wake me up".

His housekeeper Teresa Solomon let herself into his sprawling apartment at 12.30pm on Tuesday and saw Ledger snoring in bed at 1pm when she went to change a light bulb in his ensuite.

"The last time I saw him he was lying down on his face," Solomon told The New York Post. "I didn't think anything was wrong. I thought he was sleeping."

Police yesterday said Ledger died between 1pm when Ms Solomon saw him snoring and 2.45pm when Ms Wolozin went into his room and began setting up a massage table before realising he was dead.

To a phalanx of waiting paparazzi, Williams last night returned to the Brooklyn home she had shared with Ledger, clutching Matilda. She held her daughter tight in the passenger seat as her black 4WD pulled up outside the historic brownstone.

It had been an emergency dash back from Sweden for Williams, 27, after learning of the death of Ledger - a man she had fallen for during the filming of Brokeback Mountain in 2005, when they played husband and wife.

Williams and Ledger, 28, never wed but shared a close relationship that included a once-happy family life with Matilda in Brooklyn.

Matilda's footprints and her name are stamped into the concrete outside their Brooklyn home, a reminder of happier times.

Clearly devastated by the loss of Ledger, Williams travelled to New York to be comforted by her mother Carla Williams and other family.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Heath Ledger: 10 Things' You Didn't Know About The Actor

In the wake of Heath Ledger's tragic death this week, the Oscar-nominated star is being remembered as a loving father and a talented, charming actor. But while Ledger left behind a burgeoning career that stretched from starring roles in 1999's "10 Things I Hate About You" through July 18's Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight," and beyond, his résumé is even deeper than you probably thought. And as Hollywood continues to come to grips with Ledger's death, there's a lot about the soft-spoken star that most people didn't know. Here are "10 things" about Heath Ledger that might help shed more light on the sadly departed 28-year-old.

1. His name has roots in a classic British novel.

Heath and his sister Katie are named after characters in Emily Brontë's 1847 classic, "Wuthering Heights." The protagonist of the book is Heathcliff, a violent and sadistic villain, according to Columbia University professor Nicholas Dames, who specializes in 19th century British literature.

"One of the things that Heathcliff is known for in the novel is laughing, although only laughing at the spectacle of someone else's pain. In that sense, he's a deeply screwed-up figure. ... That's kind of like the Joker," Dames said, referring to Ledger's "Dark Knight" character. "The funniest thing for the Joker is hurting somebody else."

On a side note, Ledger and Michelle Williams bought a house in 2004 in Bronte Beach, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

2. He was a Shakespearean actor.

Ledger's first major Hollywood role was in the teen comedy "10 Things," a modern-day remix of William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." But Ledger had actually dabbled in Shakespeare before that. In the mid-'90s, he joined the Globe Shakespeare Company in his hometown of Perth, Australia.

3. He was obsessed with Nick Drake.

Nick Drake was a British singer/songwriter who died in 1974 at age 26 after overdosing on antidepressants. One of Ledger's final artistic statements was a music video for Drake's song "Black Eyed Dog" that he directed and in which he starred. At the end of the clip, Heath depicts himself drowning in a bathtub.

"[In] ancient Greek culture, drowning was the worst possible death simply because your body couldn't be found," Dames said. "For a while in the 19th century, there was a fascination with drowning. ... Virginia Woolf comes to mind. ... There is this fascination [with drowning] as a method of suicide because it comes from Shakespeare."

4. His "Brokeback Mountain" character wasn't his first gay role.

Ledger wasn't afraid to play gay. And not just because he was dreaming of Oscar glory. Long before "Brokeback," one of the actor's first parts came in 1996 via an Australian TV series called "Sweat." Ledger was offered a choice of roles on the show, and he picked the character of Steve "Snowy" Bowles, a gay bicyclist. Later he reasoned that very few gay parts were being portrayed on Aussie television, and by taking the part he was more likely to be noticed.

5. He was a music man.

Last year, Ledger announced plans to start a record label with Ben Harper called "Masses Music Co." Heath also directed the rocker's 2006 video for "Morning Yearning." The song is melancholic and beautiful, and the clip depicts dancers and violinists in silhouette, drenched in sunlight and shrouded by fog.

6. His daughter's name might have an unusual connection.

Ledger and Michelle Williams' 2-year-old daughter is named Matilda Rose. We don't know why they gave their daughter this name, however, it's worth noting that there's a famous Australian folk song called "Waltzing Matilda." The lyrics tell a story that involves the death of a shepherd who commits suicide by drowning himself in a lake.

7. Jake Gyllenhaal is Matilda Rose's godfather.

Ledger and Gyllenhaal famously co-starred in "Brokeback Mountain," the heartbreaking story of two cowboys in love. In the award-winning film, Gyllenhaal played the role of Jack Twist, who dies at the end of the film, and Ledger was Ennis Del Mar. Matilda Rose will now have Jack Twist as a surrogate father figure.

8. Ledger was a jack-of-all-trades.

As a kid, Ledger was a chess player.

"He played younger groups ... and may have played in the state tournaments, even the state championship," Norbert Muller, a spokesman for the Perth Chess Club, said. But, he added, "I don't really remember him performing that well."

Ledger also enjoyed painting.

"I love what I do, but if it all came crashing down, it wouldn't be the end of the world," he told The Sunday Times in 2000. "I'd just sit on my arse and paint."

But the young Ledger wasn't afraid of getting his hands dirty, either. He played hockey. His dad, Kim, was a race-car driver, and according to CNN.com, he spent quite a bit of time at the racetrack in his youth.

The site posted a note from a reader who identified himself as "R. of Perth," who claimed to have grown up with Ledger near a speedway racing circuit.

"I remember the night he was a little boy and his dad was racing speed cars at Claremont Speedway (my dad was in the race, too)," the reader wrote. "His dad was coming third, then, in the final corner, the two lead cars spun out and Heath's dad ... took the lead and won the state title race.

"Heath was standing a couple of rows in front of me with his mum and sister, and they were all so excited, jumping up and down and cheering," the reader continued. "He was about as happy as a little boy could be watching his dad become a champion. ... Later Heath would pit crew for Graham Jones, and I crewed for my dad and brother. Heath and I were both the youngest on our crews, so that meant our job was to take the fiberglass bonnets over to the hoses and wash the mud off after each race. Really dirty work, but he managed to stay cleaner than the rest of us."

9. Perth was Ledger's refuge.

The actor's homeland was his safe place, his refuge. Ledger's final trip to his native country was for Christmas 2007. It was a happy time.

10. Ledger's first acting role was as Peter Pan.

He played the character in a school-theater production when he was 10. Like the mystical boy who could fly, Ledger would never grow old. (www.mtv.com/movies/news)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fdisk Guide


The FDISK program is used for the setting up and deletion of partitions on a hard drive.

In DOS to get the program running you just type “FDISK” at any prompt.

FDISK – Setting drive to FAT 16 or FAT 32

After typing “FDISK” the first thing you will see is the following screen: (please note earlier versions of FDISK only allow you to use FAT 16, and when you run FDISK it goes straight to the main menu defaulting to this.)

Selecting “Y” and enter, enables FAT 32 (for partitions greater than 2GB) on the Hard drives, if you hit “N” and enter you will be stuck on FAT 16 (Max of 2 GB per partition).

FDISK – Setting up Drives

Once you have selected the type FAT you want to use, you will now have to setup the partition/s on the drive. The main menu will be as follows: (Note: if there is two hard drives then option 5 will also be displayed, this allows you to change the drive you are worked with. Fixed drive 1 is the main drive; fixed disk 2 is the secondary drive)

To create a drive all you have to do is select option one. This will take you to the following menu:

Option 1 - This allows you to setup a primary partition of size specified by user. This will be Drive “C

Option 2 – This allows you to setup an extended DOS partition which will be the remaining space left over after creating primary partition.

Option 3 - and finally this allows you to setup the Logical DOS Partitions, which will make up the space within the extended DOS Partition. These will be drives “D”, “E”, “F”, etc etc

Now the drives have been setup you will have to make the drive Active, so escape from the DOS Partition menu and select option 2 from the main menu.

Once you have setup the drives and set the main drive active, reboot the computer and format the drive/s. See section on format.

FDISK – Deleting Drives

If you are in Fdisk to remove the partitions then you will have to select option 3 from the main menu page. (Note: if there is two hard drives then option 5 will also be displayed, this allows you to change the drive you are worked with. Fixed drive 1 is the main drive; fixed disk 2 is the secondary drive)

And then from the next menu you will see the following:

For non-DOS partitions you will use option 4, for example NTFS used for Windows NT

To remove the partitions you will do the reverse of setting them up, follow the following steps

1 If present use option 3 and remove any Logical drives (Drives D, E, F, etc.)

2 If present remove the extended DOS partition. (Logical drives are contained within here)

3 Finally remove the Primary Drive (Drive C)

You can now go about setting up the hard drive again the way you want it. (See FDISK – SETTING UP DRIVES)


Installing Windows XP

By Eric Vaughan

There is often more than one way to do things "the right way". Installing and setting up an operating system is no exception to this. This guide is based on my experience working with XP since RC1, doing more custom installations than I can count, and interaction/discussion with other geeks. I have found this method to offer the best results for performance, stability, and error free installation. I make no guarantees. If you have a problem it is more than likely your hardware and/or its drivers, or you didn't follow the drivers installation instructions.

If you just want to see the order I use to install XP and its apps, click HERE.

Wanna know exactly how I do it? See: How I Install Windows XP

* Please read through this entire guide before doing anything.

**If you are on a broadband connection. Make sure you are behind a firewall router before installing XP.

Can I Use XP?

Check with Microsoft to make sure your system meets the requirements ( more on that follows). Check here for XP Pro and here XP Home. The Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List is also a good starting point. Some inexperienced folks think it's a myth that XP needs high end hardware to run. Well...it doesn't exactly take high-end hardware but Microsoft's specs are, quite frankly, a joke. "Run" is the optional term here, I've seen it "run" on a lot of stuff. On anything less than 800 MHz, with 256 of RAM, sure it "runs"... like a 3-legged turtle in quicksand. My recommended minimum specs: 1 GHz with 512 MB of RAM.

Which Version?

Since XP was released there has been considerable argument and misinformation over which version is best. The vast majority of people will find XP Home more than adequate. For a view of the differences and recommendations from Microsoft go here: Five editions of Windows XP compared.

Backup Everything!

Save all your docs, picture, music, email settings, and files to another computer and/or removable media such as an external drive or CD/DVD.

A very useful FREE tool for this is Microsoft's SyncToy v1.0 for Windows XP.

It is a good idea to fully update your anti-virus software and do a full computer scan before doing this.

If you use an imaging program like Acronis True Image I highly suggest making a final image of you entire drive before continuing in case something goes horribly wrong. This should be written to a CD/DVD.

Download What You'll Need

Download Service Pack 2

If your XP CD does not have Service Pack 2 then download Service Pack 2. After you do this I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you make a slipstreamed Service Pack 2 Installation Disk.
"Slipstreaming" refers to integrating something (in this case SP2) into the Windows XP disk. This makes for a faster, cleaner, safer installation.

For a simple slipstream only guide I like:
Paul Thurrott's Slipstreaming Windows XP with Service Pack 2

For an advanced slipstreaming and installation customizing guide see:

MSFN's Creating the ultimate Unattended Windows XP CD

For an advanced slipstreaming and installation customizing program check out nLite.

I've like all 3 and have used them without issue.

Download Drivers

Download and install a System Information Tool. The three I prefer are:

SIW, SANDRA Lite 2005.SR2, Everest .

Use the information from these tools to determine your hardware and download the latest drivers from the vendors. If your components are "built-in" (mounted on the motherboard) then see the Motherboard or System Manufacturer for drivers. If you have older hardware (+ 1 year) chances are XP w/SP2 already has sufficient drivers and Windows Update may have the drivers or updated drivers. If your hardware is newer than Service Pack 2 then it should have come with a CD containing those drivers. Still, it doesn't hurt to go to your manufacturers download site and check to see if you have the latest version of everything. Video cards seem to have new driver updates more than most hardware and you will absolutely want the latest drivers for them. FWIW - There are often different versions of drivers (WHQL, beta, alpha, etc.). Personally, unless I'm doing testing, I usually only use WHQL drivers and usually after they have been out a week or more. Let someone else discover if they have issues or not. The important drivers are:

-Motherboard - these are most often referred to as "Chipset Drivers".

(yes fellow geeks I know, but that is a good enough description for those using this guide)



-Storage controllers - things like SCSI, SATA, ATA, or RAID cards/components.

NIC & Modem drivers - NIC = Ethernet card

Popular vendor links:












For any Intel based motherboard.Download the

Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility.




















NIC & Modem

Storage Controllers


Turtle Beach









U.S. Robitics






Western Digital

Prepare Your Computer
Turn off your power supply and monitor. Unplug the power supply. Now unplug everything from the back of the computer. Take the left side (as you look at the front) of the computer case off. On some cases the top and sides are one piece, if so remove the whole thing. Vacuum the inside of the computer, especially around the fans. It may be necessary to remove the front cover to adequately clean in front of the front fan. A can of compressed air helps tremendously with this.

This is a great time to add any hardware!

Put it all back together. Plug everything back in. Turn on your power supply. Start up the computer and make sure everything works. Shut it off again.


*Note to wi-fi users. I recommend you use a wired connection for everything until XP is completely setup. Disable the wi-fi connection on first boot or as soon as you get the drivers installed. To disable the connection Open your Network Connection Properties, go to Start > Run > type control ncpa.cpl exactly as you see here > right-click on the wi-fi connection and choose disable.

Start your computer and insert the XP disk. If your computer supports booting from a CD you may need to change the bios startup options. The key you press to access the bios may differ depending on the make of your computer. Most use the DELETE key, if not then it will be one of the FUNCTION keys (F1, F2, etc.) Save changes and exit. If your computer does not support booting from CD then insert the first Windows XP floppy disk.

As the system boots you will see a message at the bottom of the screen:

"Press F6 if you need to install a 3rd party SCSI or RAID driver." If you do, follow the instructions.

Now setup begins. If you had another Operating System on your computer you will be asked what type of installation you want to perform. NEVER, EVER UPGRADE AN OPERATING SYSTEM!!! You will perform new installation.

There are many reasons to do a clean installation rather than an upgrade. They all boil down to 2 important ones. Less chance of errors and performance. The following statement from Microsoft can be found here: Benchmarking on Windows XP.

Clean Installation Preferred
When benchmarking Windows XP, Microsoft strongly recommends a clean installation using NTFS. There are several reasons why performance for a clean installation will tend to be superior to that for upgraded systems. An upgraded system will constrain the placement of files and file system data. The old disk format may not use an optimal file system cluster size. In a clean installation, the placement of file system data on the disk and the internal organization of that data can be optimized, resulting in a smaller system footprint and fewer and faster I/Os when using the system.
When performing a clean install, Microsoft recommends that NTFS be used and that the system be installed in a single partition on each disk. Under Windows XP, big partitions are better managed than in previous versions of Windows. Forcing installed software into several partitions on the disk necessitates longer seeks when running the system and software.
If you do choose an upgrade from Windows 2000 or Windows 9x, you may be working with a FAT32 file system. Performance will generally be better if the file system is left as it is, rather than converted to NTFS. A partition converted from FAT32 to NTFS may have to use 512-byte clusters, rather than 4096-byte or 8192-byte clusters, which can result in a higher number of fragmented files.

Next comes the ever popular EULA, press F8 and move on.

If there are partitions on your drive press D to delete them. Then press C to create a new partition.

If you create or resize partitions BE CAREFUL, you will destroy data on other partitions if you do this. On a computer with a single hard drive I usually use a partition of around 10gb for Windows XP. I install the applications on the same drive and I use a backup program. It makes things easier. If you desire the utmost speed and efficiency, put Windows XP and the applications on a drive by itself with no other partitions. Given the size of hard drives these days this may be expensive and/or impractical. After pressing C the following screen will appear. Type in a size for your partition and press the Enter key.

If everything looks right, use the arrow key to highlight the correct partition (should be C:) and press the Enter key.

Format this partition using NTFS. Personally I think it's best not to use the "Quick" option. Using the standard option checks the disk for bad sectors. This will take a while. Some people have asked "I've heard that FAT32 is faster, why use NTFS?" First NTFS is only about 1-2% slower than FAT32 and only on drives/volumes 32GB in size or smaller. It is faster because of the overhead created by the security of NTFS. Second, you can eliminate the majority of that overhead by following my tweak guide. Third, the aforementioned security is exactly why you should use NTFS!

After formatting the setup files will be loaded and the system will reboot. At this point if you had a floppy in the drive then remove it.

(click on Thumbnails for a larger view)

As setup begins you'll be asked to fill in some info. Most are self-explanatory. Click on the Thumbnails for larger views if you desire.

Windows will ask for Region and Language (the default is U.S., English)

Your Name. First name will do.

Your CD shipped with a Product Key. Enter it now.

Computer Name and Administrator Password

Time Zone, Date & Time

Network Settings. Leave it as is.

Type in your workgroup name or leave as is if you don't have one.

When the basic install is finished you'll see this screen. Click Next.

Choose your poison and click Next.

Choose your poison and click Next.

Absolutely DO NOT Activate yet! Click Next.

Fill in the appropriate info and click Next.


What the first screen looks like:

After Initial Installation

If you did not make a slipstreamed CD and you downloaded it ahead of time, install Service Pack 2.

Those with a newer computer or motherboard may need to install your motherboard or chipset drivers here. Use the CD that came with the hardware or that you downloaded, reboot.

For people who hate the new GUI you can switch to a more classic view. Right click on START > click properties > click the classic start menu button, now click CUSTOMIZE > place a check in the EXPAND CONTROL PANEL option. All CONTROL PANEL options can now be accessed from START > SETTINGS > CONTROL PANEL > (option) If you are like me and want to see all of the programs in the start menu (instead of a few items and some arrows at the bottom), uncheck the USE PERSONALIZED MENUS option. Click OK to close that box and APPLY to close the next.

What they look like:

(click on Thumbnails for a larger view)

New Start Menu

Classic Start Menu

Now load your video card drivers. The download page for those drivers had instructions on it for a reason. The biggest reason people have problems installing video cards is not following these instructions.

If you are going to add more user accounts to your computer, now is a good time to do it.

Reboot and start up in Safe Mode (press F8 while booting and choose Safe Mode)

Press the Windows & R keys > type cleanmgr /sageset:50 . Ensure there is a space between cleanmgr and / > click OK. In the resulting screen, choose your options by checking the boxes. I choose all but the bottom two. Click OK. Press the Windows & R keys > type cleanmgr /sagerun:50. When Disk cleanup is finished, Reboot.

Windows Update

*Note to wi-fi users. I recommend you use a wired connection for everything until XP is completely setup. Disable the wi-fi connection on first boot or as soon as you get the drivers installed. To disable the connection Open your Network Connection Properties, go to Start > Run > type control ncpa.cpl exactly as you see here > right-click on the wi-fi connection and choose disable.

Now you need to load your ISP software, or configure your computer for your broadband connection. If XP didn't already install the NIC/modem drivers for you, install them now. Then load your ISP software.
Sign on to the web. DO NOT check email, DO NOT IM, just go to Windows Update ( START >WINDOWS UPDATE).

Now...Microsoft has decided to be a royal PITA and has introduced a series of "validation" checks to ensure you are using a "valid" copy of XP. What it boils down to is they are assuming you are a criminal and you have to prove you aren't. This is also a major inconvenience because you'll now have to activate XP instead of being able to wait to make sure everything is running right before activating. A series of screens will pop up asking to install this and that. You want to update automatically you have no choice. Click yes, next install, whatever and get that stuff installed.

When all that Bravo Sierra is finished, click on the SCAN FOR UPDATES link. You'll get a choice between Express Install and Custom Install. Choose Custom Install. Install the High Priority Updates, under the Software, Optional section choose >.NET Framework, and Windows Media Player 10, Check the Hardware, Optional section to see if anything is there and check those too. When those are finished, reboot sign on to Windows Update again and install any remaining High Priority updates. Reboot into Safe Mode again and run cleanmgr /sagesrun:50

Install Remaining Hardware

***Try to follow the manufactures instructions on installing your hardware. Check your manual or the manufacturers support pages for these. Some hardware may require you to install software before installing/attaching hardware.


To open DEVICE MANAGER: Press the Windows + R keys, type in devmgmt.msc .

Any hardware without a driver will be in a section with a yellow question mark:

Device Manager

(click on Thumbnail for a larger view)

If that hardware has a CD or file that will automatically install everything, run it now.

If you have anything left in DEVICE MANAGER that hasn't had its driver installed, try the following before attempting to install the driver manually.

Right click on the device > choose UPDATE DRIVER > in the resulting screen choose Install the software automatically. If your lucky XP will already have the driver. If not you'll have to do it manually.

To install a driver manually: In DEVICE MANAGER, double-click that hardware item > Click the Reinstall Driver button > in the resulting screen check No, not this time and click Next >

- If you know exactly what driver you want to install choose Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) and in the following screens browse to the location of the file to install the driver. Insert the manufacturers CD if needed.

- If you do not know exactly what driver to install insert the manufacturer CD and choose Install the software automatically (Recommended) > If that does not work, go back and this time choose Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) > in the resulting screen in the Search for the best driver in these locations section check the box that says Include this location in the search and browse to the file that contains you driver. If that fails you'll have to do it manually.

If you need to partition and/or format other drives and partitions, do so now. You can do this from ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS > DISK MANAGEMENT or use a program like Acronis Disk Director.

Install Peripheral Devices

This will be devices like printers, mp3 players, cameras, scanners, etc...

***Try to follow the manufactures instructions on installing your hardware. Check your manual or the manufacturers support pages for these. Some hardware may require you to install software before installing/attaching hardware. (SRC:Tweakhound)