Some of the most frustrating computer problems you can face are Windows XP installation troubles while performing a clean install or operating system upgrade. Deciphering the error messages may seem impossible, and because you're in the midst of an operating system overhaul, accessing help documentation or the Internet will require either rebooting into the old operating system or using another computer. If you find your Windows XP setup stalled for some reason, there may be an easy solution. Most users experience a common set of Windows XP installation problems that can be resolved with minimal help.
Prepare for Installation
Have your hardware drivers on hand in case you need them, and take a little time to clean up your system before beginning the install. Defragmenting the hard disk is a good way to ensure you do not run into some common issues that arise. For instance, the error message "NTLDR is missing" that plagues many installations arises when the hard disk is extremely fragmented, resulting in pushing the NTLDR file onto a second allocation index. By defragmenting the disk, you can be sure the files that the installation disc will need access to are readily available.
Upgrading to Windows XP from earlier versions of Windows can occasionally cause computer problems. Issues that occur during the installation can result from many reasons, but the most common problems are easily resolved. If you are getting an error message when upgrading to Windows XP, it may be that the "WinDir\System32\Catroot 2" folder on your system has not been removed. This common upgrade error prevents the installation process from completing. While the Windows XP setup is running, press "Shift-F10" to bring up a command prompt. From the command prompt, you can rename the problem folder by typing "cd windows\system32" and renaming the folder by typing "rename catroot2 catold" command.
If this is not the cause of your installation errors, consider installing Windows directly from the hard disk instead of from the CD. To do this, boot into your older version of Windows and copy the i386 folder from the CD onto your desktop. Once the files have been moved to your desktop, you can initiate the Windows installation by clicking the setup.exe file found within the i386 folder.
Setup Wizard Is Nonresponsive
If your Windows XP installation disc fails to initiate or becomes unresponsive, you can perform some simple checks that will likely resolve the issue. During the boot-up process, your computer loads drivers for all attached hardware, including printers, scanners, thumb drives, webcams and more. Simply detaching these devices from your computer before beginning the installation often resolves the issue entirely.
Another common cause of this issue is having an outdated or unsupported BIOS. You will need to consult the documentation for your motherboard to determine if a BIOS upgrade might correct these issues. Upgrading the BIOS generally involves downloading a BIOS image and burning it to CD to be installed on reboot.