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Windows NT/2000 Setup Problems

When an attempt to install Windows NT or Windows 2000 fails, a Stop screen error normally results. Stop errors occur when Windows NT or Windows 2000 detects a condition from which it cannot recover. The system stops responding, and a screen of information with a blue or black background is displayed (see Figure 1). Stop errors are also known as Blue Screen errors, or the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

Figure 1 Stop error or Blue Screen error.

These are some other problems that can typically occur during the Windows 2000 installation process:

  • Noncompliant hardware failures.

  • Insufficient resources.

  • File system type choices.

  • The installation process starts over after rebooting.

  • WINNT32.EXE will not run from the command-line errors.

You can correct these particular installation-related problems as follows:

  • Verify hardware compatibility. The hardware-compatibility requirements of Windows NT and Windows 2000 are more stringent than those of the Windows 9x platform. When either OS encounters hardware that's not compatible during the setup phase, they fail. In some cases, the system incorrectly detects the hardware; in other cases the system produces a Blue Screen error.

    Make certain to check the Hardware Compatibility List to ensure your hardware is compatible with Windows 2000. If the hardware is not listed, contact the hardware vendor to determine whether it supports Windows 2000 before starting the installation.

  • Test Tip

    Be aware that you should check hardware manufacturers' Web sites for updated device drivers before installing Windows 2000.

  • Verify minimum system resource requirements. Make certain your hardware meets the minimum hardware requirements, including the memory, free disk space, and video requirements. When the Windows NT or Windows 2000 Setup routines detect insufficient resources (that is, processor, memory, or disk space), it either informs you that an error has occurred and halts or it just hangs up and refuses to continue the install.

  • Establish the file system type. During an installation, you must decide which file system you are going to use. If you are going to dual-boot to Windows 98 and have a drive larger than 2GB, you must choose FAT32. Choosing NTFS for a dual-boot system renders the NTFS partition unavailable when you boot to Windows 98. FAT16 does not support drives larger than 2GB. You can upgrade from FAT16 to FAT32 or from FAT32 to NTFS; however, you can never revert to the older file system after you have converted it. Be aware that Windows NT does not support FAT32 partitions. Therefore, Windows NT 4.0 or earlier cannot be used on a Windows 9x drive. Consider using the lowest common file system during installation and upgrade later.

  • Installation process reboots. If you discover after the initial Windows 2000 installation and the subsequent rebooting of the system to finish the installation that the installation program seems to start over again, check the CD-ROM drive for the installation disc. Leaving the bootable CD-ROM in the CD player normally causes this condition because the BIOS settings instruct the computer to check for a bootable CD-ROM before looking on the hard drive for an operating system. To correct this problem, remove the Windows 2000 CD from the player or change the System Setup configuration to not check the CD player during boot up.

  • WINNT32.EXE will not run from the command prompt. The WINNT32.EXE program is designed to run under a 32-bit operating system and will not run from the command line. It is used to initiate upgrades from Windows 9x or Windows NT to Windows 2000. From a 16-bit operating system, such as DOS or Windows 95a, you must run the WINNT32.EXE program from the command line to initiate the Windows 2000 installation.

In most cases, a failure during the Windows 2000 setup process produces an unusable system. When this occurs, usually you must reformat the disks and reinstall the system files from the Windows 2000 Setup (boot) disks.

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