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How to Clean Install Windows XP (With Pics) New PC or over Windows Vista / XP / 2000 / ME / 98
Version 1.02

This document outlines the steps of how to perform a clean install of Windows XP in a computer no matter what operating system is currently installed. Basically, this tutorial shows you how to format the hard disk, partition the hard disk and clean install Windows XP in your computer with example screen shots. Looking for Windows Vista Clean Install?.

DISCLAIMER: Proceed at your own risk! The information here is accurate to the best of my knowledge. I will not be held responsible if this document causes your computer to explode or burst into flames. In real serious terms, if any corruption of data, hardware damage or any other kind of damage/losses/etc. arises from the use of this document, I will not be responsible for it. If you don't like this, please don't read any further.

Is this document intended for you?

  1. You want to install a fresh copy of XP in your system erasing whatever there was previously
  2. You are completely fine with all data (documents, pictures, videos) completely gone from your computer


  1. You are holding a Service Pack 2 version of Windows XP. If you have an earlier version, it is recommended to slip stream Service Pack 2 into it and create a new CD for security reasons.

Step By Step Guided Installation with Screen Shots

Insert the Windows XP Installation CD and restart your PC. Look for the prompt. When it appears, hit the ENTER key on your keyboard.

Press any key to boot from CD...

Windows Setup Loading

Windows Setup begins and starts loading all the essential drivers.

Finally, after about 3 minutes of waiting, depending on your drive speed, you will see the welcome screen.

Hit ENTER at this screen to set up Windows XP.

Depending on your XP edition, a licence agreement screen may appear. Hit the F8 key on your keyboard to accept if it does.

Welcome to Setup

Windows XP Repair

IF your system already has Windows XP in it, this screen may show. Hit ESC to continue installing XP.

Now we get to the formatting part. What we need to do here is to delete the C Drive if it exists.

This will erase all data in the C Drive so be sure before you proceed!

If there is only "unpartitioned space" listed, skip the next step.

Partition List and Selection

System Partition Warning

A warning like this may appear when you attempt to delete the C partition. Go ahead and delete it.

And we get an unpartitioned space to install to! Select the drive and hit ENTER to install XP!

Choose to "Format the partition using the NTFS file system (Quick)" in the next screen that appears.

Only One Partition to select

Setup is copying files...

And the setup procedure starts copying files. All the remaining steps should be automatic now!

After a restart, we get a beautiful GUI to continue the installation of the operating system.

Installing Windows...

Regional and Language Options

You may be prompted for your regional settings.

Hit the Details button and change your settings according to your country and preferences.

Hit Next to continue and enter your name and organization details.

Hit Next again to enter your Product Key.

You will be prompted for Computer Name and Administrator password. Click Next on this screen if you are unsure.

Date and Time. Correct it if necessary and click Next and Setup will continue.

After a while of installing network drivers, Setup will prompt you with this screen. Again, if you are unsure, leave it at Typical Settings and click Next.

Same goes for Workgroups in the next screen. Click Next if unsure.

Windows Setup starts to perform some configuration, building start menu items and registering components.

After you restart again, hit OK for a better display resolution and Yes.

Networking Setup

First-time welcome screen

Here's the welcome screen

Click Next.

Tick "Help protect my PC by turning on Automatic Updates now" and click Next.

You will be prompted for Windows Activation. If activation fails for some reason, simply call Microsoft directly when you are reminded again to activate.

Note that registration is entirely optional. Registration and Activation are two different things. Activation is mandatory while registration is not.

If you are the only user of the PC, simply enter your name for the first box. Enter any other users name if you have more users.

You can always create more users in Start > Control Panel > User Accounts.

Click Next and be done!

Who will use this computer screen

Windows XP Fresh Installation Desktop

It's Not Over Yet!

  1. Install Chipset, Video, Sound drivers to utilize the full performance level of your PC. It should have come in a separate CD with your system.
  2. Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware applications. A firewall is good, but not required - as XP SP2 already comes with one.
  3. Visit WindowsUpdate.Com and download the latest patches


  1. July 10 2007 - v1.00
    • First Release to the public in Bootstrike.Com

Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post your queries in the Windows XP Discussion Forum.

You may be interested in our other Windows XP guides. including a comprehensive FAQ, dual booting with Windows 98 and how to dual boot with formatting.

This document is Copyright(©) 2001-2008 by G. Ganesh.

21 comments RSS of last 10 posts

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mariam (1 posts) mariam thanks for all, you know i didn't learn this in class but now i know each and every thing.
posted 14 Jun 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous Great stuff !!

Just managed to guide my mum on the other side of the globe through the installation process via phone :-) and she knows nothing about computers !!
posted 16 Jul 2012 - Reply - Permanent Link
Nishant (1 posts) Nishant After Ist restart my computer keeps on restarting again and again....and setup discontinues ... please tell me the problem??
posted 27 Jun 2012 - Reply - Permanent Link
Ken Hall (1 posts) Ken Hall Tried it, got setup screen, software loaded, then got error message 'Can't detect any hard drive' or similar. What's going on?
posted 29 Oct 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous awesome article.keep it up
posted 3 Oct 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
clarby (1 posts) clarby thanx 4 ur steps

i learn more
posted 27 May 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
durai Unregistered Anonymous very simple guidlines, and easy procedures, thanks a lot
posted 18 Apr 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
alex Unregistered Anonymous when i get the "hit any key to boot from cd" it just boots vista like normal. any idea why??
posted 1 Mar 2009 - show 2 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin you need to press Enter once you see the message
posted 1 Mar 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
stokey Unregistered Anonymous Failing that - check your BIOS is set to boot from CD/DVD Drive as 1st option and not HDD.

If it is set to HDD then the disk just won't work until you change this setting - hope this helps/that you fixed it already.
posted 2 Apr 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
Andy Unregistered Anonymous This is great - I'm recommending it to my bro since it's exactly what he needs to do :)
posted 23 Feb 2009 - Reply - Permanent Link
georgica Unregistered Anonymous thx
posted 28 Dec 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
semi Unregistered Anonymous i dont know much about computer, i'm a beginner with this tutorial, and the step by step instructions. i personall like to thank you for this has been very helpful, thanks again******
posted 25 Sep 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
ALOKE Unregistered Anonymous THis info helped me a lot.
posted 3 Aug 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
jake Unregistered Anonymous Ive read this, and have done this, however the moment i press enter, it stops there and i have no choice but to press F3...... Good step by step, for the computers that are straight forward.
posted 30 Apr 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
Sherri Unregistered Anonymous Woweee!! thanks for sharing this very important info with everyone...I will try to network two computers together as I need to access my Frontpage files and other I will follow this lead.

Excellent and thank you very very much
posted 25 Apr 2008 - Reply - Permanent Link
Roland A. Burke Jr. Unregistered Anonymous To bad everyone doesn't explain things as well as you do. It only makes good sense, since some of us just have hard times with the computer. This makes it just so easy.


posted 16 Apr 2008 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous info helped Excellent and thank you very much
posted 31 Aug 2015 - Reply - Permanent Link

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