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Is Your PC Ready for Windows XP?

by Mystic Overclcocker

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 specs
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.

Disk space
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 drive.

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.


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