The Right Way To Install Windows XP

(page 2)


Part II Installing Applications

Install, Configure, Update


PAY ATTENTION to what you are installing (in other words, don't keep clicking Next). Don't install more than you need. Decide what apps you want to do what. For instance:

I use Winamp Lite (and I use a very basic install for that) as the Default for playing .wav and .mp3 files because it opens faster and with a smaller footprint than say Windows Media Player or iTunes. Also, I have no application launching when I insert a music CD or DVD either.

I recommend you install the major applications first (i.e. software firewalls, Office, and the applications that come with your hardware). Always use the custom or advanced installation method and pay attention to the options screens. I install all the applications to the same drive as the OS. That is because I use backup program, and use it often! Pick and choose the parts you install carefully. If you don't need it, don't install it. Avoid allowing anything that isn't necessary to "load at startup." As you install each application, download (if you haven't already) and install all updates and patches before you move on to the next application. I prefer to load my backup program first and make an image before I go further.

Next install the minor applications (Sound, graphics, utilities, etc.) Check for the most recent versions first. Before you install them, decide which applications you want to perform what. If you have multiple applications that can do or play the same thing, decide which you prefer. For example; I have Windows Media Player, Winamp, ATI File Player, and iTunes all wanting to be the default player for many of the same files. If not configured properly, they will fight for dominance. Giving each player it's own default settings doesn't mean you can't ever play it in another application. After you install each application, open them and double check configuration settings, some applications don't play nice!

Use cleanmgr /sagerun:50 again!

If your ISP software didn't do it, configure your email now.

Move your My Documents folder to another drive. ( Right click on the My Documents folder > choose Properties > click the MOVE button) Copy the documents that you saved before you installed XP here now.

Get everything you possibly can out of the System Tray (by the clock in the lower right hand of the screen). The best way to do this is in the applications options. If that fails, use MSCONFIG. To use MSCONFIG, go to START > RUN > type msconfig and click OK. Uncheck anything you do not want to start with windows. The fewer things the better. If you don't know what it is, leave it alone. Advanced users may want to go to the SERVICES tab and make modifications there.

Here I like to organize my Start Menu. Go to START > PROGRAMS > right click > EXPLORE, repeat and this time right click EXPLORE ALL USERS. I create my own folders using names like: Sound, Pix, Video, Office, Apps, etc. Then drag or cut and paste the old folders into the ones I made. I also like to cleanup my desktop by renaming icons to one line names (right click > RENAME), and moving them to where I want them on the screen. If you have created multiple users, it is a good idea to check each one to make sure that they have all your programs. Some programs need to be installed on each user account. (You may want to open all your applications now to make sure they work.) Shut down your computer. (If you have Acronis Disk Director, it is a good idea to make an image before the next step.)

Cleanup, Defragment, and Optimize ( for a more complete option view Page 12 of the tweaking guide)

Start up in Safe Mode and use cleanmgr /sagerun:50 again!

Next, go to START > PROGRAMS > ACCESSORIES > SYSTEM TOOLS > DISK DEFRAGMENTER. Highlight the drive you installed XP on, click the DEFRAGMENT button. This will take a while. When finished shut down and restart. (I prefer to use Raxco's Perfect Disk rather than XP's defragmenter.)


If you have a backup program, make an image now. Wi-fi users, if you disabled your wi-fi connection you may wish to enable it now. You should be ready to go. Enjoy!

This is the end of a full XP installation. To tweak your system try my XP Tweaking Guide.


Additional Resources:

TweakHound's Super XP Tweaking Guide

Windows XP Backup Strategies For Home Users


Windows XP Links







Software I Use


I use True Image 2011 for all my OS backups and Disk Director 11.0 for all my partitioning requirements.

TweakHound readers often get a discount off Acronis Products. Check the links for more info.

acronis disk director