Microsoft is poised to finally offer the world an operating system for the
average computer user... one that actually works as intended. Hopefully, that
means no more "blue screens of death" and the random system crashes familiar to
users who have been using Windows 98 and its replacement, Me.
Before you run out and upgrade or perform a clean install of XP, wait a
minute. Early adopters may already know all the base system requirements for
installing XP, but do you?
Base requirements to run XP
The suggested requirements for running Windows XP are a PC with a 300-MHz or
higher Intel Pentium/Celeron family, AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible
processor. I recently installed XP on an old Pentium 200Mhz. It
works, but it's slower my great-grandmother and she has been deceased for years.
While 64MB is the minimum amount of RAM required, you're probably going to
want well over 128MB to take advantage of some of XP's new features. Don't stop
there, though. One of the best advances of XP is its ability handle as much RAM
as your wallet can afford. I'd suggest getting a minimum of 256MB.
You need 1.5GB of available hard disk space. This number seems a little high,
compared with older versions of Windows. But, it may vary slightly depending on
the system configuration and the applications and features you choose to
install. I chose to install XP Pro's entire list of available system components
except for one or two, and I now have a mere 2.6GB free on an already meager 4GB
You need an SVGA or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor capable of at
least 800x600 resolution. Sorry, but no more 640x480 anymore. If your eyesight
isn't what it used to be and you rely heavily on lower resolutions, there's
always good reading glasses.
Now... Is Your Hardware Ready for XP?
Now that you've identified the base requirements, you're also going to need
to know if all the hardware inside your current PC is also compatible with XP.
To help you determine this, Microsoft developed the Upgrade Advisory Tool.
Get the tools
The Upgrade Advisory Tool is
available for download here and is the exact same program Windows XP runs
prior to installing itself. Basically, it just checks your current hardware
configuration to see if it will support XP.
The one caveat to the upgrade advisor is it's only going to check to see if
your computer is ready for XP Pro. Why didn't Microsoft just call it the XP Pro
Upgrade Advisory Tool?
If you download the upgrade tool, you'll be directed to find out if you're
eligible for a discounted retail upgrade package. I'll save you from having to
click another link and just tell you that if you're currently running 98 or Me,
then you're eligible for a discounted upgrade to Windows XP Home Edition.
If you're currently running 98, Me, NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 2000 Pro, or
Windows XP Home Edition, then you'll be eligible for a discounted upgrade to
Windows XP Pro.