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MCSA/MCSE: Windows XP Professional Study Guide (70-270) / Edition 3

MCSA/MCSE: Windows XP Professional Study Guide (70-270) / Edition 3

by Lisa Donald, James Chellis


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780782144123
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/21/2005
Edition description: 3RD BK&CDR
Pages: 784
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Lisa Donald, MCT, MCSE, has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, including DEC and Apple. James Chellis, MCSE, is CEO of Comcourse, Inc., an online learning provider that delivers information technology courses through career colleges nationwide.

Read an Excerpt

MCSA/MCSE: Windows XP Professional Study Guide

By Lisa Donald

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-4412-8

Chapter One

Getting Started with Windows XP Professional


  • Perform and troubleshoot an attended installation of Windows XP Professional.

  • Perform post-installation updates and product activation.

  • Troubleshoot failed installations.

    Preparing for an installation involves making sure that your hardware meets the minimum requirements and that your hardware is supported by Windows XP Professional. When you install Windows XP Professional, you should also decide whether you are upgrading or installing a clean copy on your computer. An upgrade preserves existing settings; a clean install puts a fresh copy of the operating system on your computer. Installation preparation also involves making choices about your system's configuration, such as selecting a file system and a disk-partitioning scheme.

    Once you've completed all the planning, you are ready to install Windows XP Professional. This is a straightforward process that is highly automated and user friendly.

    To complete the Windows XP Professional installation, you will need to activate the product through Product Activation. This process is used to reduce software piracy. After Windows XP Professional is installed, you can keep the operating system up-to-date with post-installation updates.

    When you install Windows XP, you shouldalso consider whether the computer will be used for dual-boot or multi-boot purposes. Dual-booting or multi-booting allows you to have your computer boot with operating systems other than Windows XP Professional.

    Preparing to Install Windows XP Professional

    Windows XP Professional is easy to install. But this doesn't mean you don't need to prepare for the installation process. Before you begin the installation, you should know what is required for a successful installation and have all of the pieces of information you'll need to supply during the installation process. In preparing for the installation, you should make sure that you

    * Know the hardware requirements for Windows XP Professional

    * Know how to use the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to determine whether your hardware is supported by Windows XP Professional

    * Have verification that your computer's BIOS is compatible with Windows XP Professional

    * Know whether the devices in your computer have Windows XP drivers

    * Understand the difference between a clean install and an upgrade

    * Know the installation options suitable for your system, including which disk-partitioning scheme and file system you should select for Windows XP Professional to use

    The following sections describe the preparation that is required prior to installing Windows XP Professional.

    Hardware Requirements

    To install Windows XP Professional successfully, your system must meet certain hardware requirements. Table 1.1 lists the minimum requirements for an x86-based computer, as well as the more realistic recommended requirements.


    The standard Windows XP Professional operating system is based on the Intel x86-based processor architecture, which uses a 32-bit operating system. Windows XP 64-bit edition is the first 64-bit client operating system to be released by Microsoft. The 64-bit version of Windows XP requires a computer with an Itanium processor and is designed to take advantage of performance offered by the 64-bit processor. The hardware requirements for Windows XP 64-bit edition are different from the hardware requirements of a standard version of Windows XP Professional.

    The minimum requirements specify the minimum hardware required before you should even consider installing Windows XP Professional. These requirements assume that you are installing only the operating system and not running any special services or applications. For example, you may be able to get by with the minimum requirements if you are installing the operating system just to learn the basics of the software.

    The recommended requirements are what Microsoft suggests to achieve what would be considered "acceptable performance" for the most common configurations. Since computer technology and the standard for acceptable performance are constantly changing, the recommendations are somewhat subjective. However, the recommended hardware requirements are based on the standards at the time that Windows XP Professional was released.


    The hardware requirements listed in Table 1.1 were those specified at the time this book was published. Check Microsoft's website at windowsxp/pro/evaluation/sysreqs.asp for the most current information

    Depending on the installation method you choose, other devices may be required, as follows:

    * If you are installing Windows XP Professional from the CD, you should have at least a 12x CD-ROM drive.

    * If you choose to install Windows XP Professional from the network, you need a network connection and a server with the distribution files.


    Windows XP Professional supports computers with one or two processors.

    The Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)

    Along with meeting the minimum requirements, your hardware should appear on the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). The HCL is an extensive list of computers and peripheral hardware that have been tested with the Windows XP Professional operating system.

    The Windows XP Professional operating system requires control of the hardware for stability, efficiency, and security. The hardware and supported drivers on the HCL have been put through rigorous tests to ensure their compatibility with Windows XP Professional. Microsoft guarantees that the items on the list meet the requirements for Windows XP and do not have any incompatibilities that could affect the stability of the operating system.

    If you call Microsoft for support, the first thing a Microsoft support engineer will ask about is your configuration. If you have any hardware that is not on the HCL, you won't be able to get support from Microsoft.

    To determine if your computer and peripherals are on the HCL, check the most up-to-date list at

    BIOS Compatibility

    Before you install Windows XP Professional, you should verify that your computer has the most current BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). This is especially important if your current BIOS does not include support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) functionality. Check the computer's vendor for the latest BIOS version information.

    Driver Requirements

    To successfully install Windows XP Professional, you must have the critical device drivers for your computer, such as the hard drive device driver. The Windows XP Professional CD comes with an extensive list of drivers. If your computer's device drivers are not on the CD, you should check the device manufacturer's website. If the device driver can't be found on the manufacturer's website, and there is no other compatible driver, you are out of luck. Windows XP will not recognize devices that don't have XP drivers.

    If you are upgrading from Windows 98 or Windows Me, the device drivers will not migrate at all. These versions of Windows used virtual device drives (VxDs) and these drivers are not compatible with Windows XP Professional.

    Clean Install or Upgrade?

    Once you've determined that your hardware not only meets the minimum requirements but also is on the HCL, you need to decide whether you want to do a clean install or an upgrade.

    The only operating systems that can be upgraded to Windows XP Professional are Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4 Workstation, and Windows 2000 Professional.


    If you will upgrade Windows 98 and Me, you need to get the Windows XP drivers for your hardware.

    Any other operating system cannot be upgraded, but it may be able to coexist with Windows XP in a dual-boot environment.


    Dual-booting is covered in the "Supporting Multiple-Boot Options" section later in this chapter.

    If you don't have an operating system that can be upgraded, or if you want to keep your previous operating system intact, you need to perform a clean install. A clean install puts the Windows XP Professional operating system into a new folder and uses its default settings the first time the operating system is loaded.


    The process for a clean installation is described in the "Running the Windows XP Professional Installation Process" section later in this chapter.

    Installation Options

    You will need to make many choices during the Windows XP Professional installation process. Following are some of the options that you will configure:

    * How your hard disk space will be partitioned

    * The file system your partitions will use

    * Whether the computer will be a part of a workgroup or a domain

    * The language and locale for the computer's settings

    Before you start the installation, you should know which choices you will select. The following sections describe the options and offer considerations for picking the best ones for your installation.

    Partitioning of Disk Space

    Disk partitioning is the act of taking the physical hard drive and creating logical partitions. A logical drive is how space is allocated to the drive's primary and logical partitions. For example, if you have a 5GB hard drive, you might partition it into two logical drives: a C: drive, which might be 2GB, and a D: drive, which might be 3GB.

    The following are some of the major considerations for disk partitioning:

    * The amount of space required

    * The location of the system and boot partition

    * Any special disk configurations you will use

    * The utility you will use to set up the partitions

    These considerations are covered in detail in the following sections.

    Partition Size

    One important consideration in your disk-partitioning scheme is determining the partition size. You need to consider the amount of space taken up by your operating system, the applications that will be installed, and the amount of stored data. It is also important to consider the amount of space required in the future.

    Just for Windows XP, Microsoft recommends that you allocate at least 2GB of disk space. This allows room for the operating system files and for future growth in terms of upgrades and installation files that are placed with the operating system files.

    The System and Boot Partitions

    When you install Windows XP, files will be stored in two locations: the system partition and the boot partition.

    The system partition contains the files needed to boot the Windows XP Professional operating system. The system partition contains the Master Boot Record (MBR) and boot sector of the active drive partition. It is often the first physical hard drive in the computer and normally contains the necessary files to boot the computer. The files stored on the system partition do not take any significant disk space. By default, the system partition uses the computer's active partition, which is usually the C: drive.

    The boot partition contains the files that are the Windows XP operating system files. By default, the Windows operating system files are located in a folder named Windows. You can, however, specify the location of this folder during the installation process. Microsoft recommends that the boot partition be at least 2GB.

    Special Disk Configurations

    Windows XP Professional supports several disk configurations. Options include simple, spanned, and striped volumes. These configuration options are covered in detail in Chapter 8, "Managing Disks."


    Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 also include options for mirrored and RAID 5 volumes.

    Disk Partition Configuration Utilities

    If you are partitioning your disk prior to installation, you can use several utilities such as the DOS or Windows FDISK program or a third-party utility such as PowerQuest's Partition Magic. You might want to create only the first partition where Windows XP Professional will be installed. You can then use the Disk Management utility in Windows XP to create any other partitions you need. The Windows XP Disk Management utility is covered in Chapter 8.


    You can get more information about FDISK and other disk utilities from your DOS or Windows documentation. Also, basic DOS functions are covered in MCSA/MCSE 2003 JumpStart: Computer and Network Basics by Lisa Donald (Sybex, 2003).

    File System Selection

    Another factor that determines your disk-partitioning scheme is the type of file system you use. Windows XP Professional supports three file systems:

    * File Allocation Table (FAT16)

    * FAT32

    * New Technology File System (NTFS)

    The following sections briefly describe these three file systems.


    See Chapter 8, "Managing Disks" for more details about the features of FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS.


    FAT16 (originally just FAT) is the 16-bit file system widely used by DOS and Windows 3.x. FAT16 tracks where files are stored on a disk using a file allocation table and a directory entry table. The disadvantages of FAT16 are that it supports partitions only up to 2GB and it does not offer the security features of NTFS. The advantage of FAT is that it is backward compatible, which is important if the computer will be dual-booted with another operating system, such as DOS, Unix, Linux, OS 2, or Windows 3.1. Almost all PC operating systems read FAT16 partitions.


    FAT32 is the 32-bit version of FAT, which was first introduced in 1996 with Windows 95, with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) Service Release 2 (OSR2). With FAT32, disk partitions can be as large as 2TB (terabytes). It has more fault-tolerance features than FAT16 and also improves disk-space usage by reducing the size of clusters. However, it lacks several of the features offered by NTFS for a Windows XP or Windows 2000 system, such as local security, file encryption, disk quotas, and compression.

    If you choose to use FAT, Windows XP Professional will automatically format the partition with FAT16 if the partition is less than 2GB. If the partition is over 2GB, it will be automatically partitioned as FAT32.


    Windows NT 4 and earlier releases of NT do not support FAT32 partitions.


    NTFS is a file system designed to provide additional features for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 computers. Some of the features NTFS offers include the following:

    * The ability to set local security on files and folders.

    * The option to compress data. This feature reduces disk-storage requirements.

    * The flexibility to assign disk quotas. Disk quotas are used to limit the amount of disk space a user can use.

    * The option to encrypt files. Encryption offers an additional level of security.

    Unless you are planning on dual-booting your computer to an operating system other than Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, or another instance of Windows XP, Microsoft recommends using NTFS.

    Membership in a Domain or Workgroup

    One Windows XP Professional installation choice is whether your computer will be installed as a part of a workgroup or as part of a domain.

    You should install as part of a workgroup if you are part of a small, decentralized network or if you are running Windows XP on a computer that is not part of a network. To join a workgroup, you simply choose that workgroup.

    Domains are part of larger, centrally administered networks. You should install as part of a domain if any Windows 2000 and Server 2003 servers on your network are configured as domain controllers with the Microsoft Active Directory installed. There are two ways to join a domain. You can preauthorize a computer before installation, through the Active Directory Users and Computers utility. The second way is done during the Windows XP Professional installation, when you specify an Administrator name and password (or other user who has rights to add computers to the domain). To successfully join a domain, a domain controller for the domain and a DNS server must be available to authenticate the request to join the domain.


    Excerpted from MCSA/MCSE: Windows XP Professional Study Guide by Lisa Donald Excerpted by permission.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

  • Table of Contents


    Assessment Test.

    Chapter 1: Getting Started with Windows XP Professional.

    Chapter 2: Automating the Windows XP Installation.

    Chapter 3: Upgrading to Windows XP Professional.

    Chapter 4: Configuring the Windows XP Environment.

    Chapter 5: Managing the Windows XP Professional Desktop.

    Chapter 6: Managing Users and Groups.

    Chapter 7: Managing Security.

    Chapter 8: Managing Disks.

    Chapter 9: Accessing Files and Folders.

    Chapter 10: Managing Network Connections.

    Chapter 11: Managing Printing.

    Chapter 12: Dial-Up Networking and Internet Connectivity.

    Chapter 13: Optimizing Windows XP.

    Chapter 14: Performing System Recovery Functions.



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