The good news at this point is that the hard part is done. Now you get to build your new house. Yep, it's time to install a fresh, squeaky clean version of Windows. Hooray! This is a good time to dance around your office chair and make victorious chicken noises.
The beginning of the Windows installation is largely automatic. Sit back and allow the computer to gather information about your system, set things up, and start installing components . You see a status bar at the bottom right reading Setup Will Complete in Approximately xxx Minutes. Keep an eye on this. If it freezes for too long, you might have to press the reset button and start this portion again, but in general, let the re-install process do its thing.
The first time you need to do anything is when the setup program asks you which language and regional settings you'll be using on the computer. The standard choice should be U.S.-based English. If you need to change this, click Customize. If you need to add other input options, click Details. Unless you have any special language requirements, you can just click the Next button.
The next screen asks you to personalize your software with a name and organization. Put in something appropriate and click Next.
The next screen asks you for your installation key, sometimes called a product key . You'll find this on back of your Windows XP CD sleeve or on a sticker found on your computer case (in some instances). Type the installation key in and click Next. The key is not case-sensitive, but it must otherwise be typed exactly as it appears.
You are then asked to choose a name for your computer. By default, a seemingly random near-gibberish name already appears in the box. It's better to choose a name that you will remember. If you connect your computer to a home network, this name is used to identify the computer. You can change this later, by the way. So if you name your computer Liza-Minnelli and later change your mind, it's no big deal.
One thing you might keep in mind here is that some cable Internet companies use your computer name to validate your Internet access. So if you have a cable Internet connection and you do not use a home Internet router, you should name your computer in this process the same name as you had when you first set it up so you don't bung up the Internet reconnection process.
If you can't remember or aren't sure of your computer name, name it whatever you want and if you have trouble connecting to the Internet later, call your Internet service to resolve this issue.
When you have chosen a name, press Next.
Now make sure your date and time settings are correct. Then press Next. The install process goes into automatic mode again for a few minutes as it sets up networking.
The next screen asks you if you want to use typical or custom settings for your networking setup. Choose Typical install and press Next. The setup process configures your network, registers components, and saves your settings.
When this process is complete, your computer restarts. Again, don't press any keys during the reboot process. When it reboots, you see a message noting that Windows is about to automatically adjust your screen resolution. Click OK. Your desktop is automatically resized. If you can see the dialog box at the top, click OK. If not, don't worry. Just wait. It will fix itself. You can re-adjust these display settings later.
The Windows XP installation process is now complete. Have a sandwich, you deserve it. I like peanut butter and jelly .