Preparing for Installation

Alright, you read through all the warnings and good advice I gave you on the previous page, and you decided that W2K is for you. You bought a copy of W2K Pro, raced home, tore the shrink wrap off the box, and with trembling hands pulled the shimmering CD out of the box, and are now sitting in front of your PC with sweaty palms and your heart going faster and faster with anticipation (hmm, maybe I should try writing romance novels …). But not so fast, buddy! Before you stick that CD anywhere, you should think about what type of installation you want to perform. Here are some options:

Upgrading your existing Windows 95/98 installation

Bad idea! Even though I’ve not tried this myself (I prefer clean installs), I strongly recommend staying away from this option as I have heard of a lot of problems with this. In the best case, it will leave you with a system that needs major work to update drivers, reinstall programs, etc. to make everything work as intended. In the worst case it will hose your system so badly you wish you had done a clean install to begin with.

Upgrading your existing Windows NT 4 installation

Since Windows 2000 is based on the NT technology, your chances of performing a successful upgrade are a lot bigger.

Dual-Booting

This is a great way to start with W2K. It allows you to retain your existing Windows 95/98 installation to fall back on and to boot to in order to run applications that might not work in W2K. Setting up a dual-boot is surprisingly easy. W2K setup will take care of the dual-boot option for you, it’s very simple.

Clean Install

This is my recommended course of action. Start with a nice clean hard drive and install from scratch. Starting with a clean slate is the best way to a healthy operating system, because you don’t carry over any existing problems or possible conflicts as you would with an upgrade installation.

For more information on upgrading to W2K, don’t forget to stop by the Microsoft Windows 2000 Upgrade web site.

A few more things to do before upgrading

Be patient, you’re almost there. There are a few more really important thing you need to do before you can install W2K.

Back up your data! It doesn’t matter whether you are performing an upgrade, or planning to reformat your hard drive and starting from scratch – don’t proceed until all your data is in a safe place. Another good idea would be to use a disk imaging program to take a snapshot of your drive so that you can quickly restore your existing Windows 95/98/NT installation in case something goes terribly wrong.

Load up on drivers! As mentioned earlier, make a list of all your devices and hardware, and visit the manufacturer’s web sites and get all W2K drivers you can.

But the most important driver you need to get is the one for your SCSI and/or DMA66 controller. If your hard drive is hooked up to one of those puppies and you don’t have the driver disk, setup will not be able to see your hard drive! Don’t even bother to start the installation until you have that driver. If your hard drive is connected to a regular IDE controller on the motherboard, then you don’t have to worry about this though.

Make yourself some setup disks. They are not necessarily needed, but they can come in very handy in case something goes haywire and you can’t boot W2K anymore. Making a set of setup disks is really easy. All you need is four formatted floppy disks. Insert the first disk into your floppy drive. Then insert the W2K CD into your CD-ROM drive. Now type the command x:\bootdisk\makeboot.exe a: where x is the drive letter for your CD-ROM drive and a: the drive letter for your floppy drive. You can do this either from within Windows by clicking Start/Run, or from a command prompt, both ways work.

All that said, let’s get to the good part: The installation!

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