Windows Installation guide

Installing a Microsoft Operating System is a relatively easy procedure for many, although for most others it seems like a fairly daunting task. This guide will take you through the Pre-Installation, Installation & Post Installation steps for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems & through such other procedures as installing Drivers for Hardware, or other system updates.

If you intend to Dual Boot your system then please check out our Dual Boot Guide instead, although you may well find some sections of the guide to be of great use as well, e.g. Driver installing/updating.


Before you go about installing Windows on a new system, or as will be the case for many of you, consider reinstalling Windows on your current system you should ensure you have the following available;

  1. Windows 98/Me or Windows 2000 CDís. As you can guess you'll require these to install your Operating System. NOTE - This guide is based on retail versions of Windows, not versions (Which may install extra components or differ slightly during installation) bundled with manufacturer PCs, e.g. Dell.

  2. Startup Disks. Depending on the Operating System you intend to install you should have an appropriate Boot disk for it. This will be covered in the next section.

You'll also need to have the Serial numbers for your Operating System available, these should be located on the CD cases/holders that the Windows CD is contained in, or if you bought a Manufacturers machine they should be on a User License booklet that came with your PC.


These following few sections will cover some basic preparation before you begin Operating System installation.

Startup disks

Startup Disks are becoming less of a necessity in recent times given the move away from DOS, & the ability of most Operating System's CDs to be used as Bootable media. That said, its still a good idea to have Boot disks available to cover any potential problems that may unexpectedly arise. To create a Boot disk use the following procedures;

Windows 98/Me

Insert a formatted Floppy disk into your Disk drive. Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel. Open Add/Remove Programs & select the Startup Disk tab. Select the Create Disk button to make your Startup Disk.

Windows 2000

To create a Boot disk in Windows 2000 requires 4 Floppy disks, once these are available insert a Floppy disk into your Disk drive (For convenience sake you should label these disk numerically in the order they are inserted, i.e. 1, 2, 3 & 4). Ensure you have inserted the Windows 2000 CD in your CD\DVD drive also. Open My Computer & open the CD\DVD drive where the Windows 2000 CD is located. On the CD enter the BOOTDISK folder & execute (click) the MAKEBOOT.EXE file & follow the prompts as instructed.

You can find other Boot disks over on in case you want a different one for some reason (They offer some customized disks for more advanced users).

As mentioned earlier though, most systems support booting from the CD\DVD drive now so Bootable disks should be considered only as a secondary method, besides booting from your Operating System CD is faster than loading from Floppy disks.


This only really applies if you are intending to install Windows on a system which already has a Windows Operating System installed, i.e. Formatting the installation partition then installing Windows again.

Depending on the backup devices available, you may be limited in what you can backup & how you can back it up. If you have multiple partitions or multiple Hard drives then this shouldn't be too hard. NOTE - Before moving data to another partition ensure it uses a file system that the Windows version you are going to install can read, e.g. If you are going to install Windows 98 then backing up data to an NTFS partition will make that data inaccessible. Some other backup options you may be able to avail of would be Floppy/Zip disks, CDR/CD-RWs & of course FTP space.

Ensure that you at least backup any passwords & such that you will need after installation, e.g. Login/Phone number details needed to reconnect to your ISP. If possible it would also be a good idea to download as much other updates as you can, particularly Driver & Chipset updates. You can find a listing of such updates on OS Updates & our Driver pages (Later on we'll go into details about installing these).

Once you have backed up all relevant data then you can move onto the next step. NOTE - Please remember the process of re-partitioning & re-formatting your hard drive will permanently delete all data. Do not proceed until you have backed up everything you may need.


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