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Upgrading an existing Windows installation to Windows XP Professional is a fairly straightforward and simple task. Windows XP Professional supports upgrades from the following operating systems; this is the first step of the upgrade process: determine upgrade capability.

  • Windows 98

  • Windows 98 Second Edition

  • Windows Millennium Edition

  • Windows NT 4.0 Workstation

  • Windows 2000 Professional

  • Windows XP Home Edition

There are no supported upgrade paths for the following list of operating systems. Installations performed from these operating systems will require a clean installation, as detailed previously in the "Performing a Clean Installation" section of this chapter.

  • Windows 3.x

  • Windows 95

  • Windows NT 3.51 Workstation

  • Windows NT 3.51 Server

  • Windows 2000 Trial Edition

  • BackOffice Small Business Server

If you have an upgrade path available to you, the second step you must complete is preparing for the upgrade. Installation preparation was covered extensively in Chapter 2. If you skipped over it, now would be a good time to go back and make sure you're ready for the upgrade!

Once you are sure you are ready to upgrade, the process is very similar to that of performing a clean installation; the chief difference being that there is no text-mode phase of Setup. The process to perform an upgrade installation is outlined here (in this case from an installation of Windows Millennium Edition operating in a workgroup arrangement).


For more information on customizing an installation using Setup switches, see the section "Using Installation Switches," later in this chapter.

  1. Insert your Windows XP Professional Setup CD-ROM into your computer. If it does not auto-start, you can start the Setup program by double-clicking the SETUP.EXE file located in the root directory, or by typing x:\I386\winnt32.exe, where x is the location of your Windows XP Professional Setup CD-ROM.

  2. From the What Do You Want to Do? screen, you should click the Install Windows XP icon to continue on. If you need to verify whether your system is ready to support Windows XP Professional, you can use the Windows Upgrade Advisor by clicking on Check system compatibility. The Windows Upgrade Advisor was discussed in Chapter 2.

  3. When prompted to choose what type of installation you are performing, as shown in Figure 3.15, choose Upgrade (Recommended) and click Next to continue on.

  4. Figure 3.15Figure 3.15 Choosing the installation type.

  5. On the License Agreement page, click to accept the End-User License Agreement and click Next to continue on. If you do not accept the EULA, Setup will not continue.

  6. On the Your Product Key page, enter your 25-digit CD key and click Next to continue on.

  7. On the Upgrade Report page, as seen in Figure 3.16, you have the option to view a limited compatibility report, a full compatibility report, or no compatibility report at all. Make your selection and click Next to continue on. In this example, we are going to get a full compatibility report.

  8. Figure 3.16Figure 3.16 Choosing the compatibility report.

  9. From the Get Updated Setup Files page, shown in Figure 3.17, you will need to make a choice as to whether or not you want Setup to contact the Windows Update Web site and download files that are newer than those on your CD-ROM. In most cases, it's best to let Dynamic Update run unless you don't have an active Internet connection. If you do not let Dynamic Update occur, you can go back later and update your installation manually from the Windows Update Web site. Make your selection and click Next to continue on.

  10. Figure 3.17Figure 3.17 Choosing to Dynamic Update or not to Dynamic Update.

    Defining Dynamic Update

    As we all know, Microsoft regularly updates its products for various reasons, ranging from security fixes to compatibility improvements. These updates are made available from the Windows Update Web site. Dynamic Update queries the Windows Update Web site during setup and downloads new and updated files as required.

  11. Setup will work away for a while, downloading files if you selected Dynamic Update and performing various other tasks such as analyzing your computer and copying the installation files.

  12. After Setup has finished copying the installation files it needs, it will prompt you for a restart.

  13. Figure 3.18 shows the first noticeable change due to our Windows XP Professional upgrade: the Windows XP Professional boot menu. To continue with the installation, press Enter or let the timer time out to force the default selection of Microsoft Windows XP Professional Setup.

  14. Figure 3.18Figure 3.18 A new boot menu appears.

  15. After your computer has restarted, Windows XP Professional Setup continues. You can expect to spend between 15–30 minutes at this step while Setup prepares the installation.

  16. The next phase of the installation involves Setup actually performing the installation.

  17. After a while, you will see your progress bar move all the way to the right during the Finalizing Installation phase of Setup. You're home free now.

  18. After a restart, things are starting to look a lot more like home. The familiar Windows XP Professional splash screen is finally seen.

  19. After Setup completes a few remaining tasks, Windows XP finally comes to life. The Welcome to Microsoft Windows screen appears, prompting you to complete the installation. Click Next to continue on.

  20. From the Ready to Activate Windows? page, seen in Figure 3.19, you will need to decide whether or not you are going to activate your installation at this time via the Internet. This is the easiest option by far, and thus the option we will use here. For more information on Product Activation, see the "Product Activation" section later in this chapter. After making your selection, click Next to continue on.

  21. Figure 3.19Figure 3.19 Preparing to activate Windows XP.

  22. From the Ready to Register with Microsoft page, select either to register or not register your Windows XP Professional software. You do not have to register your software to perform Product Activation. After making your selection, click Next to continue on.

  23. After activation completes, you will be presented with the Who Will Use This Computer? page. Enter at least one user account and click Next to continue on.

  24. When all is said and done you will receive a Thank You! page informing you of what has been accomplished, such as installing Windows XP Profession, activating it, and so on. You've just completed the installation of Windows XP Professional! Click Finish to complete the process.

  25. After a few moments of disk activity, you will be prompted to set a password for all users created on the computer, as seen in Figure 3.20. This will be Administrator and any additional users you configured in Step 18. After entering your password twice, click OK to continue on.

  26. Figure 3.20Figure 3.20 Setting an initial password.

  27. You will (finally) come to the login screen shown in Figure 3.21 if the computer is not part of a domain. If your computer is part of a domain, you will see the standard login dialog box as shown in Figure 3.22. Note that you cannot access the local built-in Administrator account unless you use the standard login box. To bring up the standard login dialog box, simply press the Ctrl+Alt+Del key combination twice.

  28. Figure 3.21Figure 3.21 The "new" Windows XP login screen.

    Figure 3.22Figure 3.22 The old standby login dialog box.

  29. The last step you must perform is to change the user passwords for any users you have created on your computer. The password configured in Step 20 is for all users—not a very secure configuration. User account maintenance can be performed from the User Accounts applet in the Control Panel, shown in Figure 3.23. To change a user's password, click the user from those listed in the User Accounts applet and then click Change the password, which opens the page shown in Figure 3.24. Enter the new password (and hint if desired) and click Change Password to confirm.

  30. Figure 3.23Figure 3.23 The User Accounts applet.

    Figure 3.24Figure 3.24 Changing the password for Will Schmied's user account.

  31. If you have a domain that you would like to join a workgroup computer to, you can do so from the System applet of the Control Panel. Switch to the Computer Name tab and click the Change button to bring up the Computer Name Changes page, shown in Figure 3.25. Enter the domain name information and click OK. You will need to supply the username and password for an account that is authorized to add computers to the domain, as shown in Figure 3.26. The username should be in the user@domain.com format. After you have joined the domain, a restart will be required to complete the process.

  32. Figure 3.25Figure 3.25 Joining a domain.

    Figure 3.26Figure 3.26 Providing the required credentials.

Your computer has now been upgraded from its previous operating system to Windows XP Professional. Before you perform any other actions on your newly upgraded computer, you need to be aware of the uninstall capabilities that are part of Windows XP Professional. The next section of this chapter addresses this new feature.

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