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Software Installations

 

Workstation Operating Systems

 

Introduction

When you are planning to use a computer as a workstation in a network, you should make sure that the computer meets the necessary requirements. In some cases, it may only meet the hardware requirements without any software. In some cases, something could be missing. In previous lessons, we covered the issues related to making sure that the computer was ready. In some other cases, you may plan to purchase brand new computers that you would use to build your network.

Acquiring Brand New Computers

If you decide to purchase or are in the position of purchasing brand new computers, as a reminder of what we reviewed in Lesson 2, here are the hardware requirements the computer must meet:
  • A processor with 300 megahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system); Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended
  • 128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)
  • 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space
  • Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Keyboard
  • Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

One way you can shop for computers is to visit the web site of one of the big companies on the Internet. The companies and their web sites where you can do your shopping include, but are not limited to:
http://www.tigerdirect.com
http://www.cdw.com
http://www.hp.com
http://www.dell.com
http://www.gateway.com
http://www.ibm.com
etc

If you are shopping on a web site, select a computer with Microsoft Windows Vista (Home Premium or Ultimate) or Windows XP Professional. The computer will certainly not sell a computer that doesn't meet the hardware requirements. The web site may also propose some upgrade or extra parts. If you can afford them, then add them. The items that can be useful and helpful are a CD writer or a DVD writer (or both) and a backup system.

Instead of the Internet stores, you can also go to a computer store to buy the computers.

A Manufacturer's Installation

If you bought a computer in a computer store or from a web site and had Microsoft Windows XP Professional installed, either it was already installed or you requested that it be installed, there is nothing more to do at this time.

New Installation

A new installation is suitable if:

  • You have a new computer with no operating system at all
  • You have a computer with an operating system but you want to overwrite it; that is, you want to install a new operating system on top of the old one and you don't mind loosing (since you will loose, with a new installation) whatever files already exist in the computer
  • You have a computer with an operating system but Microsoft Windows XP Professional doesn't support an upgrade from that existing operating system

Practical Learning Practical Learning: Performing  a New Installation of WinXP

To perform a new installation:

  1. Turn the computer on.
    *If you receive a message stating, "Diskette drive 0 seek failure", open the computer and make sure the power cable that connects the floppy drive is connected
    *If you are using a computer without an operating system, if you receive a message stating "Missing Operating System", or "Strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility", don't worry about it at this time
  2. Put the Microsoft Windows operating system CD in the CD or DVD drive and restart the computer (you can press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to restart)
  3. After a while, as soon as the computer starts, a message will notify you that the computer will boot from the CD and install the operating system (the message may display "Press any key to boot from CD").
    *If a message of installing the operating system doesn't come up, you should restart the computer. Then, as soon as the black screen appears, press a key such as F2 or F8 (but this may depend on your computer or the manufacturer) to access the BIOS. Access the Boot Sequence and check the list. If the CD (or DVD) drive is not on top and if the instructions allow it, move the CD (or DVD) drive to the top of the sequence. If you cannot move the CD (or DVD) drive to the top, then disable the drives, such as floppy or hard drive, that come above it. In some cases, you can select the drive and press the Space bar to remove the check mark from the selected item. In this case, make sure that only the CD (or DVD) drive has a check mark next to it. After making changes in the BIOS to make the computer boot from the CD drive, save and exit the BIOS. Then restart the computer and follow the instructions on the screen to install the operating system.
    *If a message of installation still doesn't come up, make sure the CD drive is installed appropriately. You could try to find out from somebody to get the Microsoft Windows 98 boot disk (it is a floppy disk that would first install the (driver for the) CD drive). (If you have access to the Internet, you can also check the following site: http://www.bootdisk.com/ for a boot disk). Put that disk in the floppy drive and restart the computer. After a while, a list of options will come up and ask you whether you want to start the computer with or without the CD drive. Select the option that states "without" the CD. After the CD drive has been installed, make sure you remember the drive letter assigned to it. Switch to that drive by typing it followed by : and press Enter. Then, at the prompt, type setup.exe and press Enter. For example, if the CD drive is D, after typing D: and pressing Enter, type D:\setup.exe and press Enter
    *If the computer still doesn't boot from the CD and if you have access to the Internet, check the following article from Microsoft: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310994
    As stated above, when the installation starts, you may see a "Boot From CD" message. In this case, press Enter.
    After a while, you should see a blue screen titled Windows XP Professional Setup and Welcome to Setup, To Set Up Windows XP Now, Press Enter. To continue, press Enter
  4. The next screen will present to you the License Agreement. Read it. If you don't agree with it, press Esc and stop the installation.
    If you agree with the license agreement, press F8 (or the appropriate key)
  5. The next screen asks you to select the partition you want to use to install the operating system:
    • If you have only one partition and it looks small, such as less than 5 GB, simply select it
    • If you have only one partition and that, regardless of its size, you want to use it wholly to install the OS, select it
    • If you have only one partition but it is large and you want to create various partitions, first make sure it is selected. Then, press C to partition it. The next screen would ask how much space you want to use for the new partition. By default, it will propose the total space for it. To reduce it, first press Backspace a few times to delete the numbers, then type the desired number of megabytes, and press Enter. Press the down arrow key to select the Unpartitioned Space option and press C. Continue the same way until you have created the desired partitions.
      A small partition of 8MB will be created by Windows. Don't touch and don't delete it
    • If you have many partitions already, to specify which one will be used to hold the operating system, use the up and down arrow keys to select it
  6. After selecting the partition you will use, press Enter to install the OS in it
  7. The next screen will ask you to format the selected partition and specify the type of file system you want to use. Select the Format The Partition Using The NTFS File System option and press Enter
  8. In the next screen, the installation will start formatting the partition. This may take a few minutes.
    Once the formatting is over, the installation will starting loading files. This may take a few minutes
    A wizard, titled Windows XP Professional Setup, will come up. Its first page presents you with two options.
    The first choice consists of changing the Regional and Language Options. If you click Customize, the Regional and Language Setup Options dialog box will come up:
     

    The default options will be selected depending on your version of the CD. For example, if you bought the OS intended for a US use, the US English would be selected. If you want to change the language, click the Customize button. Another dialog box, titled Regional and Language Options, would come up with English (United States) selected. You can then click the arrow of its combo box to change the language. After making your selection, you can click OK. If you don't intend to change anything, you can click Cancel.
    The bottom option consists of making changes to the way the keyboard will interpret text. Once again, if you are installing the OS intended for a US audience, the US English is selected by default. If you want to change it, click Details. This would open the Text Services and Input Languages dialog box. You can change the language by clicking the arrow of the combo box. After making the change, you can click OK. To ignore any change, you can click Cancel or press Esc.
    After dealing with the Windows Setup dialog box, click Next

  9. The next screen request that you enter your name or the name of the primary person who will be using the computer. You must type a name other than Administrator or Guest
  10. The other text box, Organization, expects the name of the company. Make sure that you provide this information
  11. After entering the name and the organization, click Next or press Enter
  12. The next page of the wizard requests the Product Key, which you must enter
  13. After typing the product key, click Next
  14. The next page of the wizard, expects you to type the computer name. It also suggests a default based on the organization you entered. You can accept the suggested name, which you can still change later on, or you can type a new name
  15. The dialog box also requests a password for the administrator. This password will be stored locally, on the computer. Type a semi-difficult password in the Administrator Password text box, such as P@s$w0rd8
  16. Type the exact same password in the Confirm Password text box
  17. Press Enter
  18. The next page of the wizard allows you accept or change the current time, the date, and the time zone of the computer. After making your selection, click Next
  19. The installation will start/continue copying files.
    After a while, a dialog box titled Windows XP Professional Setup will prompt you for Network Settings. Accept Typical Settings and click Next
  20. The next page of the wizard will prompt you to specify the name of the network or to join a domain. Accept the default of WORKGROUP and press Enter.
    The installation will continue copying the files
  21. When the installation finishes copying the files, the computer will reboot. When it comes up a Welcome to Microsoft Windows message will display. Click Next
  22. In the next screen, accept the "Yes, this computer will connect through a local area network or home network" radio button and click Next
  23. In the next screen, click the "No, not at this time" radio button
  24. Click Next
  25. The next screen prompts you to enter at least one name. Enter a name that is neither Administrator, nor Guest, nor the name of the computer
  26. Click Next
  27. The next screen displays Thank You and Congratulations...
    Click Finish
    The computer will display Welcome for a few seconds and change to the desktop

Upgrade

If your computer already has an operating system installed, instead of performing a new installation, you can upgrade the existing one. This would preserve the existing files and other items, such as the computer name, the password, the name of the network, etc, and would only install the new features and other improvements.

To perform an upgrade:

  1. Start the computer as you usually do
  2. Open the CD (or DVD) drive. Put the CD (or DVD) that contains Microsoft Windows XP Professional in the drive and close its door. A window will display and present you some options.
  3. Click Install Windows XP.
    Another window will come up with a dialog box on top of it. The dialog box will present you the option of performing a new installation or upgrading. To choose, click the arrow of the Installation Type combo box and select your desired option.
    Keep in mind that if you perform a new installation, all existing files will be lost. When in doubt, accept to upgrade
  4. After making your selection in the dialog box, click Next
  5. You will be presented with the License Agreement. Read it. If you agree with it, click the I Accept This Agreement radio button and click Next. If you don't agree with it, click the second radio button and and click Next to stop the installation
  6. If you agreed with the License Agreement and clicked the first radio button, click Next
  7. The next screen will request the Product Key. Enter it
  8. Click Next
  9. In the next screen, if you (already) have an Internet connection, accept the first radio button so the installation would check updates on the Microsoft web site. If you don't have an Internet connection or you don't want to check the updates (since you can do this later on anyway), click the second radio button
  10. Click Next
  11. Continue the installation. At one time, the computer will reboot (itself). Some time to time, the computer will go blank for one second or half a second. Don't worry about that. It will only be a good sign. Let it flow until it prompts you for something. Don't expect this quiet (and perhaps boring) installation to take less than 30 minutes (in fact more than that). Meanwhile, if you have nothing else to do, the installation will present (somewhat advertising) messages that you can read or admire to keep yourself busy
  12. When the installation is over and the computer has rebooted, a Welcome to Microsoft Windows will display with Thank You For Purchasing Microsoft Windows XP. Let's Spend A Few Minutes Setting Up Your Computer.
    Click Next
  13. The next screen will ask you whether you want to register online. Click the No, Not At This Time radio button (unless you want to register at this time, in which case you would click the first radio button)
  14. Click Next
  15. The next window, titled Let's get On The Internet, would prompt you to setup the Internet at this time.
    Click the Do Not Set Up An Internet Connection At This Time radio button
  16. Click Next
  17. A Thank You message will show Congratulations, You're Ready To Go!
    Click Finish
    You may be presented with a (blank) window with only one or two icons including Recycle Bin. This would simply indicate that the installation was fine. Congratulations

Routine Operations

 

The Computer Name

After performing an installation of the operating system, you can perform some routine operations to check or change things.

To check the name of a computer, open Control Panel and double-click System. Alternatively, you can right-click My Computer and click Properties. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Computer Name tab.

 

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