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§ How to install Windows XP in 2 days or less

I broke down and splurged on a new Dell Inspirion 9300 laptop. My previous laptop was an Inspiron 8200, which had been serving me well for three years... until the mouse button broke off. Now, this was probably not a big deal to get fixed, but I figure that a computer's usable lifetime is starting to run out when physical parts start falling off. Also, I couldn't resist a GeForce Go 6800 and a $750 off coupon. So I figured I'd get a new toy and hand the old laptop off to my father, who, as mechanical engineer, is less demanding of pointing devices and has a vast arsenal of adhesives and cements at his disposal to sort of stick the button back on.

Advice for first-time PC laptop buyers: as soon as you get a new computer, format it. Backup the hard drive or swap in a better one, wipe the system partition, and reinstall Windows XP. If you can't, beg or pay someone else to do it. The reason is that the OEMs install an unbelievable amount of crap on the machine, and it will make your life miserable. I thought it was bad on my 8200. This time, Dell preinstalled every piece of software I hate: Dell Support Center, QuickTime, RealPlayer, AOL, and McAfee. Now, my 1GB memory from Crucial hadn't arrived yet, so the machine was a game developer's nightmare: an XP machine with 256MB of system RAM and 256MB of video RAM. However, it was unbelievable how slow it was with all the junk — we're talking a good 10 minutes of swapping on startup, lots of annoying support popups everywhere, and 5-10 seconds of waiting per web page load. It will be better once I install more memory, but it was still so messed up that even after disabling a bunch of stuff system performance still inexplicably stank.

Time to reinstall.

The first annoyance I encountered was that Dell doesn't ship a Windows XP CD anymore, and the instructions for burning one don't work because the program simply isn't installed. There's a slip of paper in the box that says you don't need one because there's a recovery partition on the hard disk. Gee, that's great, except that I'm swapping the hard disk. I've heard that you can get one if you call them up and bitch, but I was impatient and just grabbed the install CD from my 8200. Apparently, the OEM CDs are keyed to the manufacturer of the BIOS but not the specific computer model, because it installed and pre-activated fine.

Now, like How to install Windows XP in 5 hours or less, but developer style:

  • Backup contents of hard drive onto Athena.
  • Swap hard drive into new laptop.
  • Insert Windows XP CD, Dell Edition.
  • Setup networking. Christen new computer "KOS-MOS."
  • Log in as Administrator.
  • Create main account. Add to administrator group. Relogin as main user.
  • Classic Windows XP theme.
  • No wallpaper. No screen saver. No fade effects. Enable ClearType antialiasing. No hide keyboard shortcuts on Alt key.
  • Open Windows Messenger. Do not load Windows Messenger on startup. Do not allow Windows Messenger to run in background. Close Windows Messenger.
  • Open My Computer.
  • View as Details.
  • Use Windows classic view.
  • Do not search for anything. Do not use simple anything. Do not cache anything. Do not hide anything. Do not use intuitive anything. Yes, I know I can screw up my system if I randomly delete files.
  • Apply. Apply to all folders. Apply again for good measure.
  • Right-click taskbar, Properties. Do not group simplar taskbar buttons. Show Quick Launch. Use Classic Start menu. Do not personalize menus. Use small icons.
  • Control Panel, System.
  • Do not animate anything. Do not fade or slide anything. Do not draw shadows under anything. Do not smooth scroll anything. Do not use background images for folders. Do not use common tasks in folders. Do not use visual styles on windows and buttons.
  • Do not report errors to Microsoft for random programs I compile in Visual C++.
  • Enable remote desktop.
  • DIRCMD=/ogne. PATH += c:tools.
  • Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management.
  • Change DVD-ROM drive to Y:.
  • Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services.
  • Stop Help and Support. Disabled. Stop Themes. Disabled.
  • Run Windows Update. Wireless network doesn't work. Wired network doesn't work.
  • Visit Dell site on desktop. Download wireless drivers to USB stick.
  • Install wireless drivers.
  • Connect to wireless network.
  • Go back to desktop and look up the WEP key again.
  • Connect to wireless network.
  • Windows Update. Download a hundred patches. Install. Reboot.
  • Windows Update. Start Windows XP Service Pack 2 download. Wait half an hour.
  • Install Service Pack 2. Wait some more.
  • Still waiting.
  • Reboot.
  • Windows Update. Download a hundred more patches. Install. Reboot.
  • Turn off Windows Firewall. Turn off Security Notifications. Turn off Automatic Updates. Turn off annoying balloon messages.
  • Firefox.
  • Close Firefox start page. Set start page to blank.
  • Download latest Detonators. Install. Setup program refuses to install on GeForce Go 6800.
  • Control Panel, Add New Hardware. Add new device. Display device. Get out of my way and let me pick the driver to use. Select Detonator driver.
  • 1920x1200 resolution, normal fonts. Do not show NVIDIA icon in notification area.
  • ClearType Tuner PowerToy.
  • TweakUI for Windows XP. Do not fade menus. Do not optimize hard disk when idle. Do not use intuitive filename sorting. Do not warn about low disk space. Do moment of worship with "we're not worthy" motion for Raymond Chen.
  • Sound drivers.
  • Ethernet drivers.
  • Visual C++ 6.0.
  • MSDN Library October 2000.
  • Plug laptop power in and bring computer out of standby. Or not.
  • Hard power-off and power-on.
  • Chkdsk /f. Curse NTFS.
  • MSDN Library October 2000.
  • Visual C++ 6.0 Service Pack 5.
  • Visual C++ Processor Pack.
  • DirectX SDK.
  • WinAmp 2.
  • Perforce.
  • Keynote.
  • DAEMON Tools.
  • Mount Platform SDK CD image. Install Platform SDK.
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003. Dig out Visual Studio .NET 2002 CDs. Stick in CD 1 so .NET 2003 will install. No Visual C#.NET. No Visual Basic.NET. No Visual J#.NET. No .NET anything. No server junk. Wonder why the Visual J# Redistributable Runtime is a mandatory prerequisite for Visual C++.
  • Visual Studio .NET 2003 MSDN Library. Look for "do not install Windows CE documentation" option. Lament that it is still not there.
  • Fast Solution Build.
  • Launch test .avi file. Do not automatically acquire licenses. Do not rewrite MP3 ID3 tags. Do not take audio file extensions. Close Windows Media Player 9. Search for mplayer2.exe. Run Windows Media Player 6.4. Make Windows Media Player 6.4 default for all video types.
  • The Bat!
  • Yes, I'm particular about how my systems are set up.

    In general, I've found that Windows XP works best when it is configured to match Windows 2000. Unfortunately, thanks to the annoying defaults, this means I end up toggling almost every checkbox in Windows. The machine still only has 256MB of system RAM at the moment, but performs far better than it did before.


    Comments posted:

    Did you mention system restore in that list? One of my personal hates.

    SonOfAdam - 14 05 05 - 07:26

    Does this mean that you can get DV capture to work? Please?

    Doug - 14 05 05 - 11:51

    Windows Media Player 6.4 isn't updated anymore, there's a "clone" of it, called Media Player Classic. Maybe, you'll find it better than Media Player 6.4.

    Raymond - 14 05 05 - 12:04

    Wouldn't it be so much easier if MicroSoft (or somebody) backported Cleartype to Win2k? Right now, cleartype is my only reason to use XP on my laptop instead of 2k.

    P.S. On Dell's support site, they have their own version of the Nvidia drivers that will install cleanly. Why this situation exists is beyond me. Nvidia made Unified Driver Architecture for a reason.

    Simon E. - 14 05 05 - 15:05

    I'm surprised you still run Winamp. Thought you'd be a devotee for sure.

    But WMP... that's just wrong.

    eloj - 14 05 05 - 15:05

    You should install WinXP SP2 first, then go back and get other patches. It's faster because SP2 contains many of the individual patches available inpedendently, also saves a trip to Windows Update.

    Cyberia - 14 05 05 - 16:01

    Men... is like I was reading my "every six month" task. I do almost the exact thing every time.
    And that's because my f***** Nvidia drivers make some nasty things or I have installed so many "try-shareware-trial" programs that leaves my system messy, so is time to reinstall.
    And every time I do this labor, and is good to see the same anoyances anoyes us.... this means that we are not the only "particulars".
    Thansk for pointing it out.

    PabloVeliz - 14 05 05 - 22:06

    Heh, looks like we have almost the same tastes :)

    Btw, about
    - Windows Update. Download a hundred patches. Install. Reboot.
    - Windows Update. Start Windows XP Service Pack 2 download. Wait half an hour.

    Don't download WU patches before SP2, you're just doubling your work.

    ender - 15 05 05 - 04:55

    When you disable "Stop Help and Support", you cannot longer use the windows help system.

    I have never used ClearType before. I don't know why you need it. Perhaps you should
    by a better display. But your Dell has a great one. What's so good about ClearType?

    I don't know if it's important for you, but there is a newer MSDN Library from
    October 2001.

    "Unfortunately, thanks to the annoying defaults, this means I end up toggling almost every checkbox in Windows."

    That's the reason why I install Server 2003. Far superior to XP and the default settings are
    invertet compared to XP. So it's very useable out of the box.

    Tahattmeruh - 15 05 05 - 05:44

    Try to use to create custom ISO Image of Windows Installation CD,
    slipstream SP2 directly into installation,
    disable (or even remove) unused system services,
    remove programs,
    remove drivers (you better use newest drivers from WWW),
    integrate ypur own drivers drivers (didn't work for me)
    create an ISO Image,
    burn it
    install it in about 20 minutes (depends on system performance)

    then I install software (I tried unattended installation but with newer versions of software
    I must create new installation CD, and it had problems Hibernation feature),
    I make additional tweaks with TeakUI and maybe XSetup

    Paulie - 15 05 05 - 05:54

    I do almost the same things ;o)

    But i'd had a few comments :

    -disable system restore
    -give swap a fixed size. split it up between all of the hdds if there are more than one
    -use media player classic
    -install virtual dub ;)

    and i agree about sp2, you don't need to dl updates before applying it.

    ParkerLewis - 15 05 05 - 06:37

    get xp antispy, so u can set a lot of options, u did manually, way much faster.
    url: - in the upper right corner u can switch languages.

    Andreas - 15 05 05 - 08:36

    Download a copy of XP SP2 and burn it to CD so in the future you never have to download it again.

    Isn't it absurd that with all the resources Microsoft has that most of us that set up systems have to *change* virtually every default? Didn't they do any product testing with experienced computer users?

    Mithel - 16 05 05 - 09:09

    OMG, people, PLEASE try it yourself before complaining. On a vanilla Windows XP you CANNOT install SP2 through WindowsUpdate UNLESS you install a few patches before (I think it is at least ITS 2.0 and a WinHTTP update)

    If someone still believes it is possible please tell me how to do it.

    Silversurfer - 16 05 05 - 09:27

    Silversurfer: it's possible if you download the network installation.

    ender - 16 05 05 - 14:27


    Doug: Nope, still no DV camcorder to test with.

    Raymond: I don't need much from a player, just something light and minimal. Which WMP6.4 is, and WMP 9/10 definitely aren't.

    eloj: WinAmp is tiny and runs reliably. I keep it around mainly for its minimalist UI; it's one of the few applications I've ever seen that did skinning well. I also have a few private plugins written for it, mostly to compensate for tinny speakers.

    Tahattmeruh: I find XP Help useless so it is no loss to me. ClearType looks better to me, and can render much narrower text — I use a font called Franklin Gothic Medium Condensed that gives me a very compact file listing in Visual C++. October 2000 is the last version of MSDN Library I have that integrates with Visual C++ 6.0. As for why I use XP instead of Server, besides the fact that Server is much more expensive and overkill for a desktop, I also had problems in the past with applications not running on NT Server 4.0. In particular, Partition Magic refused to run, because they wanted you to buy the more expensive Server version instead.

    ParkerLewis: Laptop; one HD. :)

    Phaeron - 17 05 05 - 03:22

    I got an IBM laptop, which came with very little junk (and very many useful programs). And it came with XP SP2 installed.

    In the end I left pretty much everything as it was, apart from switching to Classic Windows themes, getting rid of some of the fancy animations, and installing all the various utilities I use (sorry not VirtualDub yet, that was on my desktop until the hard disk went "sod you" and trashed the filesystem), as well as two office suites and (so far) 3 programming enviroments.

    Regarding mplayer2, there are some videos that won't play properly in it (stuff encoded in VBR with the most recent WMV codec tends to stutter at times). So it's worth keeping WMP9/10 around for that. Plus mplayer2 doesn't have any easy way of doing playlists or a media library.

    Oh, with swapfiles, I tend to go for a fixed-size one, on the assumption that should a program manage to chew up a gig of memory then it's overdue a TerminateProcess. There's only one program I have which gobbles insane amounts of memory, and that's when I use an old audio sequencer for mangling wavs (now I use audacity, which understands things like sensible file reading).

    Thomas (link) - 17 05 05 - 13:51

    Something that saves time and results in a much more stable and even faster system is slipstreaming the service pack into a new install CD. From my original XP install CD I've made an XP CD with SP1, SP2 beta, and SP2. Let me tell you, it's nice to do a fresh install and see that you don't have to wait for the service pack to install. Also, it updates the driver database so more hardware is supported off the bat. So my advice, look this up on the web since there are guides all over the place, and take the hour or less to create your own SP2 CD. I've since used the CD twice, so it saved me time, and by loaning it to friends I've saved them time too.

    spock1104 - 17 05 05 - 16:51

    Like spock says, it's possible to patch XP with SP2 before you install it ... well, I don't know if it's possible on those Dell editions though.

    I do almost everything the same (like Winamp 2) but with different partitions and keep the cool little XP style buttons :)

    Oh yeah, I also disabled DEP (Data Execution Prevention) introduced in SP2 ... depending on what you do it can slow things down (I find that installations of applications twice as slow with it on).

    meanie - 18 05 05 - 04:17

    You forgot one of my pet annoyances:

    * Right-click desktop, Properties, Desktop, Customize Desktop..., DO NOT Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days

    vidar - 18 05 05 - 15:47

    One more thing:
    Disable the stupid login screen. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to login enabled.

    HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/run
    Delete all of that extra junk in there.

    unit037 - 18 05 05 - 20:20

    While you were formatting the drive I like to make a 2nd partition of 30gbz that is FAT32 to use for additional swap files and landing zone for programs that can handle additional scratch storage like PhotoshopCS.

    Cleartype screen fonts are needed 100% on LCD's only. Non-graphics users with low RAM stick with TrueType, you'll never know the diff.

    As for SP2...I can't believe Dell stiffed you that bad. All the XP I have seen since 12/2004 is including SP2 and is also "upgradable" from win2k Pro, before then it was upgrade 95,98,me only...Clean install for win2k. Maybe your local. Seems like you could have gotten by without Dell Service and that is the only reason to go there isn't it?

    JR - 19 05 05 - 03:01

    nlite can do the slipstreaming for you (and remove duplicate files too, so it's worth a shot). Personally I prefer w2k (I have a Duron, and ACPI doesn't work very well on my motherboard - so, no bad thread distribution on virtual/real SMP, and no sucking routed IRQs) however, I also installed XP once for testing purposes, and found it eating up 'only' 10 Mb more than w2k if you go to Control Panel > System > Performances and uncheck all checkboxes (I usually left 'show content of windows while resizing' checked), and deactivate as many unused services as you can. Finally, as a security measure, try a little software called bugoff - it allows you to disable several security breaches MS left open voluntarily. It is nice enough to tell you what is active, what consequences you face deactivating it, and if an hotfix closed it.
    Better than giving your swap a fixed size, set it at minimum, reboot, defrag, set it to 1.5 times your RAM amount. Normally, not only is it sufficient, but it should be contiguous. One good solution would be to pull a Tux and set up a partition dedicated to the swap file (with very small clusters).
    Don't forget to check your controllers' DMA policy: anything showing PIO mode will drag your system in the mud.

    Mitch 74 - 19 05 05 - 22:18 the days of w95 or w98 it took quite an amount of time for the basic install, then that was the biggest chunk though...
    nowadays you install in like 10 minutes and then you literally sit days until you have booted the last checkbox and have the system NOT do anything you didn't ask for
    another goodie: TrueImage for backups at the delicate steps of the customization ;)

    bounce - 22 05 05 - 16:15

    Actually, XP installs aren't keyed by manufacturer or BIOS. There are two versions of XP Home - there's the Retail boxed version, and then there's the OEM version. Obviously, one type will use OEM keys, the other will only use Retail boxed keys.

    Your XP disc that came with your Dell will work with any OEM key (usually found on a sticker on the case) regardless of the manufacturer. I know this because I work as a computer tech and I do this repeatedly on multiple machines each day.

    XStylus - 23 05 05 - 06:10

    There is a help function in Windows? Wow - never knew that!

    Dioscuri - 23 05 05 - 14:58

    After reading this installation story, I remember my days when I used to install windows 98. Most things were similar, but just multiply the number of restarts with the number of applications you install ;) Just took me whole day, and most of the time I found myself more comfortable with 10 minutes of boot time than to go through all the pain and re-install windows.

    Double Dragon - 24 05 05 - 05:12

    What about XP Corporate Edition? XP Home version is inferior though in terms of features compared to XP Professional/Corporate.

    anonymous - 24 05 05 - 05:12

    Wow, I must say you deactivate a lot of stuff :)
    Well, I guess it is a matter of preference.

    Personally I use a Windows Xp with SP2 slipstream. This allows for rapid installation, and the number of updates afterwards is pretty small.

    After Windows install I install necessary drivers to get online. Then I update Windows.

    Then I install latest drivers for everything.

    Then I setup Windows. But I like the new interface, start menu etc. So what I usually do is:

    Defrag, then fixed Swapfile. The 1,5 times amount of ram is more an old story than a fact. It is more appropriate to say:"the more ram, the less swap". In 512/1Gb systems I use a 512mb swap size. But you can experiment.

    Then properties on each harddrive and deactivate indexing. The index is supposed to make searching faster, but Windows obviously use time on keeping the index updated everytime you change the content of the harddrive. Personally I cannot notice a difference in search speed, but do experience increased speed when accessing the harddrives (a very noticeable increase).

    Deactive System Restore. I never really have had use of it. It saves space on the harddrive as well as speed up some tasks. At least check the amount of space Windows use. On larger harddrives the System Restore will use gigabytes of space which must be unnecessary.

    Check the size of paperbin/trashcan? (dont remember the excact english name, use non-english version). Standard setting can use plenty of space for no reason. Mostly use a setting below 500 mb. Large files cannot fit in trashcan, but I have never deleted anything by mistake so far.

    Size of IE cache. I use IE, but the standard cache size is too big. Large cache means many files, which means slower performance. A size of 100-150mb is enough even though I visit many different sites. Could even be as low as 50 mb.

    For even more speed I have some toturials that alter registrydatabase to change cache settings etc. Really it is 5 changes max.

    Change windows update to notify me when updates are ready but do not download or install automatic.

    Most often keep Windows Firewall on.

    Install Virus Scanner.

    Install programs.

    I think that is about it.

    Cybermaze - 24 05 05 - 07:04

    Why don't they just deliver a laptop, with an accompanied WinXP setup CD (original)?
    Why all that crap like AOL, QuickTime, RealPlayer, freakin' Norton stuff, etc?

    Most of these laptops do a setup during their first boot. Maybe these guys (HP/Compaq, Dell, etc) make a boot option where it says "nice and clean" :-) How difficult would that be for them to implement?

    HansaPlastique (link) - 24 05 05 - 10:18

    Because if they played nice it wouldn't be possible for the system to accidently reinstall itself from their hidden partitions. I witnessed ths happen on a blind user's computer. And of course windows setup has nothing in the way of screen reader options for the blind. This poor guy could do nothing simply because the TAB key wasn't functional at this screen and he had to call me in just to be able to click "no shove off" to the stupid online registration screen. That was the first thing he knew of the reinstall - once it was complete and he had had to call for help. He's no novice user either.

    Then there's the OEM CDs that refuse to identify some laptop motherboards as the type they are. The store didn't care, the manufacturer didn't care, the user was out of pocket for a new OS.

    Thank you Norton Ghost for excusing me from these nightmares.

    SonOfAdam - 24 05 05 - 12:17

    I bought an IBM laptop recently, and as someone already mentioned, there was less crap installed than I had feared. However I want to know what runs on my machine, so I reinstalled win xp pro myself and deleted the space consuming rescue partition. Better used the space for a linux system.

    Win 2K is MS's best OS, however it's lacking dma support while hibernating and builtin cpu clock switching. So I have to use Win XP especially on notebooks. After installation of XP follows the nightmare of switching all back to old w2k behaviour, as you all describe above :(

    coword - 25 05 05 - 07:05

    I recently set up my PC. It uses Windows 98. I did not to install anything except for drivers and the .NET framework. Maybe I can't use the latest software (although I never came across such), but I don't even need antivir/firewall (at least my antivir did not find a thing until now). I know that's ill, but it works.

    HienTau - 25 05 05 - 07:50

    Of course you can use Win98 - but for a programmer not wanting a segfault in his latest compile to force a complete system reboot, not to talk about Win98 unable to handle more than 512 Mb of RAM correctly... Let's not forget that FAT32 (mandatory for large disks under Win98) can't handle files bigger than 4 Gb... For video processing, that's not ideal. And even then, reinstalling Win98 on partitions larger than 8 Gb WILL scrap your HD's partition table. So, plainly forget about it.

    So, finally, you end up with either having to tailor your WinXP right after reinstall, or create a custom WinXP installer, using nlite. Even that isn't perfect - so, last solution: install any Linux distro, install Wine or get a CrossOver Office licence, and develop M$-based stuff on a semi-emulated environment. For nerds, creating a virtual machine (with qemu or whatever) will allow you to swap machine completely and keep an unchanged environment. But that's for desperate people...

    Personally I prefer Win2000, no ACPI, single processor. The latter isn't exactly by choice however :( and I spend most of my time using a Mandriva anyway...

    Mitch 74 - 25 05 05 - 16:22

    D3ll’s cost cutting/profit making policy can get irritating sometime ;) If they want you to burn the WinXP CD, they should include some blank CDRs. Fortunately, you can just call up D3ll Tech Support or do Online Chat and request the missing CD. Remember to grab the “service tag” number on the bottom of the laptop because they usually ask for that.
    D3ll Home 18006249896
    Online Support Chat:

    You can ask for just the D3ll OEM WinXP Home or Pro SP2 CD or the whole “Media Kit” which includes:
    D3ll OEM Windows XP Home or Pro SP2 CD
    D3ll Applications Back-up CD
    D3ll Driver and Utilities CD

    The “Driver and Utilities CD” is very handly when doing hard drive reformat. You can’t get online and download drivers if your OS doesn’t recognize the ethernet or modem ;)

    If you want the printed owner guide / user manual for your system, you can request that too.

    D3ll sent all these item at no charge, the only thing that gonna cost you is your time. Usually take 10 minutes waiting on the phone queue. Then the rep takes another 10 minutes to set thing up. You will get the CD(s) in the mail 2-3 days later.
    BTW, now that you have a GeForce 6800 in your system, any chance of a speed enhancement of VDub filters with GPU assistant? Something like the fft3dGPU for AviSynth.

    Michael_D (link) - 26 05 05 - 13:00

    god damn it.... freaking.. argg.. i just bought a sony vaio fs15lp (only avaible in Asia) for like $1900. And this piece of shit has only geforce 6200 go!!!( only 4 pipelines..) i wish i knew about the dell 9300 earlier. Oh well.. at least i got 1 gig ram with it and that cool looking weather proof sony bag. And it really sux that this shit isnt upgradable. If you know for sure this shit can be upgraded.. holla~

    Sean - 27 05 05 - 09:27

    You know it's kind of sad when the first peice of bloatware you run across booting your computer is your OS.

    I use the MS bastard child WinMe, let me tell you the first thing I do on reinstall is go around turning most things off. I stick with it due to the small size & still having most of the features of 2000.

    Maybe im a little old school here but I think you should know what all is running & not have anything running that does not contribute to getting things done(eye candy is pointless). Besides sometime in the last 25 years I have gotten used to having a command line & many utilities come in a command line version that does not have the memory leak problems of their GUI cousins.

    If I want all that fancy GUI @#$()(*&* then I will install it, don't preinstall it & tie it to my web browser so that I use it in order to see my local harddrive. (DNS errors on directory deletes is just as wrong as NTFS which uses 16 or more megs per drive letter of physical ram non swappable.)

    I Just want a computer that does what I want not what some idjit in marketing thinks looks cool, If i want the loonie toons look I will go watch cartoon network.

    Freedoors - 27 05 05 - 11:40

    P.S. - Yes i run the dos modded Winme.

    Freedoors - 27 05 05 - 11:41

    You made same changes as I.However I use IE,because I do not have to mess anything in my computer by Firefox and just IE with some other security programms is great-fast,secure and alone not crashable(DAP can IE crash quicker)!
    WMP 10 is sometimes good,but resource expensive.It is ashame I cannot use Winamp 5.

    Klimax - 29 05 05 - 01:11

    i have an self created unattended windows xp sp2 slipstreamed cd which can do most of the your customizations only in one hour or less. lol.

    Ozan - 29 05 05 - 16:06

    "The first annoyance I encountered was that Dell doesn't ship a Windows XP CD anymore..."

    Strange. Altough my company buys a lot of Dell laptops (mostly Latitudes), I have NEVER seen box without later mentioned software pack:
    Dell OEM Windows OS CD (currently XP Pro SP 2), Dell Applications Install/Back-up CD(s) and Dell Driver / Utilities CD.
    But maybe this depends on country where machine is bought (Croatia).
    Also, as I have seen, current OS CD's are not keyed to any hardware, but if machine is not Dell's, you HAVE TO register OS.

    I always remove OE, Messenger & simillar stuf from Windows.
    Oh, and regarding IE: disable saving of encrypted pages, enable all checkings and clear contents of Temp internet folder on exit...

    Founder - 01 06 05 - 10:23

    then clone

    Jonathan Berry - 04 06 05 - 01:02

    As far as NVidia drivers go for a laptop the ones from are not suposed to work. You have to use the ones supplied by the laptop mfg. Sucks. Or go to and get the latest forceware with moded .inf install files to work with laptops. Worth checking out.


    JeffN - 05 06 05 - 00:06

    Its almost similar to mine installation, except i turn off hibernation (on laptop its must be right ?), system restore, indexing and many others, lot of mentioned by people here.

    Recently for a first time i made small partition (above 512 MB, FAT32) on the beginning of the disk, for a swap file (linux idea :D) - works like a charm. I was wondering if it's possible to have 2 visible primary partitions and yes with WinXP its possible. If you want to have 512 MB swap, make partition 517 or more MB, because windows "force" to have 5 MB free.... This way i have always defragmented swap file on fastest part of the disk :P

    From what i have read you have one partition, make yourself second for private files, setup programs and so on ;) then you can always format system partition without messing with transfering files to other pc.

    Useful links that will save your precious time (giving you more time to develop virtual dub :D ):

    1. nLite -

    nLite Features

    - Service Pack Integration
    - Component Removal
    - Unattended Setup
    - Driver Integration *
    - Hotfixes Integration **
    - Tweaks
    - Patches ***
    - Bootable ISO creation

    * - Textmode (CD Boot) and normal PnP
    ** - only new type 1 hotfixes (for example XP post SP2)
    ***- supports generic SFC, Uxtheme, TcpIp and Usb Polling patching.

    This program can tune windows long before installation and save lot of time, plus if you choose win2k classic instalation winxp can even install faster !!!

    2. AutoPatcher -

    How often do you install Windows? Crashes, viruses, or even fixing other peoples' computers... Most people install their operating system regularly, whether they want to or not. After a while, you will get sick of going to Windows Update and continuously downloading patch after patch, update after update. Well, we have just the thing.

    AutoPatcher is a comprehensive collection of patches, addons and registry tweaks that give you peace of mind in the knowledge that your Windows system is up to date, even before you connect it to the Internet. It's designed to quickly patch a system with the most current updates and tweaks available, and requires no user interaction once you have selected what to install.

    3. Kerio Personal Firewall -
    IMO best windows firewall in exist !!! and yes its free for personal use.

    4. Kaspersky Antivirus preferably Person Pro version - its program worth the money, if you want to check it free, you can download trial - its russian program just like The Bat (i betrayed Bat for a Thunderbird with best spam filter, still Bat its great mail program, but its spam filter plugin plain sucks :( ) and i don't have to say russian programmers are great....

    5. K-Lite Codec Pack -

    I never liked codec packs, but this one changed my mind - its great, got everything i need, can be customized and by default install Media Player Classic, that looks like WMP 6.4 but its much more advanced, can play DVD's, shows subtitles (even embedded).

    6. foobar2k -

    Its small, its simple - takes little ram and play great. I don't use winamp 2, because its got flaws in mpeg decoding. From foobar site:

    Foobar2000 is an advanced audio player for the Windows platform. Some of the basic features include ReplayGain support, low memory footprint and native support for several popular audio formats.


    * Open component architecture allowing third-party developers to extend functionality of the player
    * Audio formats supported "out-of-the-box": WAV, AIFF, VOC, AU, SND, Ogg Vorbis, MPC, MP2, MP3, MPEG-4 AAC
    * Audio formats supported through official addons: FLAC, OggFLAC, Monkey's Audio, WavPack, Speex, CDDA, TFMX, SPC, various MOD types; extraction on-the-fly from RAR, 7-ZIP & ZIP archives
    * Full Unicode support on Windows NT
    * ReplayGain support
    * Low memory footprint, efficient handling of really large playlists
    * Advanced file info processing capabilities (generic file info box and masstagger)
    * Highly customizable playlist display
    * Customizable keyboard shortcuts
    * Most of standard components are opensourced under BSD license (source included with the SDK)

    7. Ad-Aware -
    and/or MS Antispyware -

    8. I heard there are tools that modify inf files of graphic drivers, so they install on laptops. Maybe i'll find where i have read about them.

    Thats all for now, sorry for my poor english - its not my native language.

    Kris - 05 06 05 - 08:21

    I do whatever I have to do to get 'my perfect' Windoze. Then Norton Ghost the whole dang partition out using 'partition method' as opposed to 'disk method'. Made a bootable CD/DVD with the Ghost data. That's it. I'm now ready to tour the trial-ware/share-ware world (which 'completely uninstall' only 90% of themselves). And whenever I feel the need, I'll take my 'Ghost Disk' out and re-whack. Game over. I still have my Dell's 'Factory Install' Win98SE version (with my modifications) Ghost disk made from waaay back in 1999.

    WMP? Bad choice, but leave it there for dubuging filter graph issues. Sometimes, an idiot can show us common mistakes. MPC is 'a must'. And, not to forget FFDSHOW to replace all them 'other' MPEG-4 codecs, and yes, with post-processing turned on.

    NVidia's 'Unified' drivers? Go fly! I have a Viper RIVA TNT (last century's Detonator) and whatever Unified Driver from NVidia gives me dropped frames when playing SVCD and above res. The one from Dell played DVD res/bitrates w/o any dropped frames. I know I'm pushing my olde junk to the limit, but this just goes to show what 'unified' actually means - if newer drivers dont fix bugs or improve effiency for yr current model, dont upgrade.

    Codec Pak? Heh, heh, heh. It's worse than Dell's Preinstalled Software Pack. You'll need them if you dont know what you're doing. Remember them Delphi/Borland FPU bugs Avery talked abt - even when they're not actively in use? Give me some good reasons why you'll need them when MPC & ffdshow are already handling the most common fourCCs already.

    XEQtor - 16 06 05 - 21:13

    One suggestion to the original author: If you're as particular as all that about how you set up your machine, why not use a program like Acronis TrueImage or Norton Ghost to take an image of the system once you've installed everything the way you want? You may not get the absolute latest version of every app, and you'll have to run a Windows Update afterwards (and if there's a Windows Service Pack you may want to make a fresh image again), but at least between Windows service packs it gives you an easy way to get back to the desired state. I do this for all of my notebooks, as well as for a fleet of identical desktops (well, flotilla-- four machines) for which I have responsibility.

    drive-by poster (link) - 27 07 05 - 00:29

    reinstall windows on DELL & HP is a 64 present boost!
    i noticed when i reinstalled xp on my dads hp laptop
    huge diffrent!, and i used a standard oem xp disk i got from a friend of my dad
    so you can in thero use any xp cd for the cdkey that is plastered on the underside of laptops! :)

    wiak - 10 06 07 - 21:28

    Well.. First I'm very sorry about my english. Thanks for ur information... It was very helpfull sometimes. But I have a new problem that is taking me my patience away. I bought a Dell Optiplex 740. But I didn't asked with full instalation 'cause I have a windows xp sp2 cd at home. They just sent me the computer, a Free DOS system cd and nothing else. So I tried to install windows xp, and it keeps telling me "no boot device detected, insert system disk...". So I tried to install Free DOS, and go from there. But when I'm finish and try to install windows, it says that "setup.exe does not run on DOS."
    Do you now what I have to do?
    If you have any idea, send me an e-mail at
    Thank you very much.


    Eduardo - 14 07 07 - 13:20

    "Plug laptop power in and bring computer out of standby. Or not."

    Why would you even attempt to go through all that on a mobile computer while on battery?

    PK Habib - 01 02 10 - 21:06

    That must be "developer style" eh? LOL

    PK Habib - 01 02 10 - 21:07

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