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Howto do a clean install of Windows XP.

by KO on February 18th, 2009

Step one is to start out with a clean version of Windows XP. The install CD should say something like “Windows XP SP3″. The SP3 part is very important - that means service pack 3 is already installed. SP3 is a good thing, so make sure the CD says it’s there. So locate this CD - if it’s not locatable than buy from the local cd store. A good practice before starting out to install windows is to make sure all the relevant software is at hand.


  1. Windows XP SP3 boot cd - at least 2 copies in case one doesn’t work

First you need to figure out if you really really need Windows. Here is the simple check list: Will you be using Autocad or Adobe CS4? If yes, install windows. If not, than install Ubuntu Linux instead.

Essential free Software to download from the Internet

The very basics to get the computer to work

  1. Mozilla Firefox 3 - Do not ever ever on pain of computer death use Internet Exploree. The only purpose of IE is to download firefox. Do not check email, visit facebook or even google using IE!
  2. Adblock Plus - This is a firefox extension which blocks all adds, and also a lot of viruses and other bugs which try to install themselves from the internet on to your pc. When you restart firefox after installing this, it’ll present you with a list of filters to subscribe to. Select “Easy List”.
  3. Adobe Reader 9 - This program opens pdf files, it’s a must have
  4. SIW - System Information for Windows - this tells you what is inside your box
  5. Picasa 3 - this is the best photo magik thing ever. A superduper must on every pc with pics!
  6. VLC Player - not only does it play everything and the kitchen sink, it even cooks! The swiss army knife of media players.
  7. FileZilla - the best free FTP program, usefull occasionaly for website stuff.

Super Duper Essential Software - Anti viruses and the like

Without these programs, the computer will choke and die once exposed to the internet.

  1. Avast Anti Virus - A good free antivirus program. Requires a free registration after installation. | There is also AVG, which is decent. If you can afford too, I highly recommend buying a antivrius program like Norton or Kaspersky.
  2. CCleaner - CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster. Run this tool once a month.
  3. Super Anti Spyware - Download the free version - this is a on-demand scanner, run it twice a month.
  4. Startup Control Panel - a nifty control panel applet that allows you to easily configure which programs run when your computer starts.

Now, if you switched over to Linux, this section would be totally useless… as you don’t need any of these on linux!

Software CD’s

  1. Microsoft Office 2007 - 2 copies
  2. Adobe CS4 All in one dvd

In this day and age, there is no need for buying any other software. Everything has a free, open source alternative which is just as good, or many times better. Heck, forget about MS Office altogether and just install OpenOffice.

The only reason MS Office is still on this list is because some people have a irrational fear of change, and when confronted with the slightly unfamiliar, they panic. If faced with this situation, take a cold sip, a chill pill, kick the brain and gear and think through this fear of the unknown, and just switch over to OpenOffice. You will rest easier, with a couple of hundred US dollars in your pocket, or the lack of guilt from not having pirated yet another software.

Not Essential but good to have free Software

  1. Google Earth - Everyone wants to fly around the world! The amount of info available is amazing - try turning on the many different data sets and layers available.
  2. uTorrent - the best program for downloading torrents.
  3. Audacity - free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.

Software which you want to install but should NOT

  1. Itunes - Yes, the whole world uses it, but it SLOWS down the pc by always running in the background. A work PC should never have Itunes installed! If you really want itunes, than buy another PC.
  2. RealPlayer - this was Satan’s favourite program at one point, and while these days Satan has dropped it lower on his priority list, it’s still evil.
  3. Any Screensaver whatsoever - I know you really want to install that screen saver of those cute kittens or puppies or whatever, but don’t! It’s going to kill the pc!
  4. Any cutesy program - If the program looks cute, it probably has only one purpose - be cute enough to get u to install it while sneaking in viruses of epic proportion in the backgroud.

All the above will take most of a day, so make sure you have plenty of refreshments and a regular supply of caffeine on hand! A good book (or two) will also come in handy, as well as a fast internet connection.

For basic PC usage, excluding video editing and photoshop, just use Ubuntu Linux instead:

It works better, never catches a virus unlike windows, and just keeps working! I type this on a Ubuntu PC, and the only reason I still use windows is for a couple of PC’s which run AutoCad and Adobe Premiere Pro - both of which don’t have a Linux version (so far).

From → Software

  1. I am using Windows XP SP2. Whenever I upgrade it to SP3, my system slows down and a few apps like CS 1.6 behave abnormally. I googled a whole day looking for the solution but found none, I even found people cursing SP3 on many forums for making there system go nuts :P I am better with SP2 though its less secure than SP3 ( as said by MS ) . One more thing a CD saying “Windows XP SP3″ may not have SP3, thanks to the well talented people at Rainbow Centre :D

    You missed foxit reader, media player classic with K-Lite codec and messenger.

  2. Upgrading to SP3 is dicey, but installing Windows XP with SP3 already on the disc works better than SP2, in my experience. You should be able to find a ‘real’ SP3 install cd somewhere or the other…

    With VLC you don’t need Media Player Classic, and K-Lite codec is a bad idea - it’s old and buggy and slows down your pc!

    I prefer Adobe to Foxit, expecially for filling out pdf forms and so on.

  3. Zoq permalink

    Better yet, stop trying to ride a dead donkey and invest a thousand or two in upgrading your PC to be able to run Windows 7.

  4. Google4u permalink

    Well Software Selection is good but I do not personally like Avast Anti Virus …. Mcafee Enterprise 8.5i or 8.7i is to good for both WindowsXP and Windows Server … if any one need it or any software I can provide there or many downloads links.


  5. h4tEbr33d permalink

    why is real player bad?? i use it solely to download online streams as it is great in that(well the other good althernative is internet download manager)

    kaspersky and bit defender are the strongest antivirus out there

    if you have to only read .pdf files then never ever install adobe acrobat or anything… foxit reader is super lite and great… or i would recommend to use the tweaked windows xp by experience(only 99mb and works)

  6. Well this is classic list. I am working in some companies as technical suppote. I found Avast Antivirus free edition is rocking. It saved a lot of my time. When I joined company with 18 computers, all were using norton and mcafee, and I also begin with mcafee which was my favourite in past. But mcafee is memory eater, and for normal p4 1.4 - 1.8 machines with 256 it is heavy for machines. So avast is light and it has schedule on boot scanning so if someone gets virus I use my telephone to call end user and ask them to schedule on boot virus scanning, which removes all viruses, trojon and users gets its machine back in just complete scanning of computer in dos mode.

    Try this sequence.
    1. Windows XP with builtin sp3
    2. Install Antivirus home edition Avast
    3. if you have data left on other partition, setup schedule anti virus scanning and let it run thoroghly so any virus remaining in other partations of hard disk will be removed.
    4. Install vlc, multimedia and other necessary softwares, winzip, winrar, 7z zip.
    5. install messngers, browser(firefox), chrome and yahoo
    6. install CCleaner and clean system temporary files
    7. If you have machine with windows xp tag, change product key and make geniune windows
    8. Do not use pirated software
    9. Update patches and finalize.
    10. Use deskdefragment and defragment all partitions
    11. Tweek windows xp by removing unnecessary services, optimized for performance, disable system restore, disable error reporting, enhance double of virtual memory
    12. Run Startux and remove unnecessary startup programes
    14. Run processx to see all running programmes, tweek as necessary
    15. At the end run bootvis to improve booting and you are technically advance than use defragmentation of system files and registry cleaner to improve performance.

    You will get a very decent, and nice system at your hand, reliable for very long time. Don’t forget to setup schedule system cleaning and defragmentation. And setup your own time monthly once to clean software, unnecessary downloads and organize all your files. That will make you life very good. I will put next week in details about this installation on my blog.

  7. yah xp sp3 is better then sp2

  8. Talal permalink

    1-Foxit reader is a much better choice.Adobe reader 9 is too resource hungry.And its slow too.
    2-Media player classic is better than VLC.
    3-Malware antibytes is a better option for spyware removal.

  9. Well this is impressive article, and I want to ad one thing that after installing windows, system drivers and most important softwares, Do make a Ghost Image file using Norting Ghost 11.5.

    Nortong Ghos Image is very useful to save a hell lot of time, cuz next time your system crashes due to some virus or other issues, use the image and save all that time of installing windows, system drivers and softwares. The time difference with using Norton Image is 3-10 minutes (depends on the system) as compared to freshly installing all the stuff from the scratch

  10. Hassan permalink

    Fuck you Faggot.

  11. Hassan permalink

    Vista Rocks. XP Sucks.

  12. Thanks for shairing

  13. Well i think its a good post.
    But what about creating a partition image after installing every thing.
    one good software for image creation is Symantic Ghost.
    Try it you’ll love it….

  14. this is nice post.

  15. Nice informative post.

  16. Fady permalink

    Good article with relevant links, good work.

    @Ad,The idea of making backup after clean installation makes lots of sense.
    can anyone tells where to get Norton Ghost 11.5. Full version not trial.

    Can someone share a full length article on how to make backup image etc.

  17. Mani permalink


  18. Very useful information.. thanks

  19. JOshua permalink

    HI this is a nice list but you should also include the K-lite codec pack in the “Essential free Software to download from the Internet” list and it can be download from for free as it incliudes all of the essential codecs and decoders to play all types of audio and video files

  20. A clean install of Windows 7 would be nice too!

  21. We ought to shift to windows 7

  22. good information about xp installation. do not use any pirated meterial.

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