So, you need to reinstall or install Windows on a new hard drive or computer? Perhaps you've had an error you don't know how to fix, you just got a new computer with no operating system or some sort of computer support person told you it was a good idea.
Regardless of why you need to install, you do need to install. Unfortunately, you haven't the slightest clue as to what you're doing - or you do, but want to learn a bit more. You might not be sure what to do just to install; you might not know what to do afterwards; you might even think you know what to do, but you want to be sure. You've come to the right place, it's our complete beginners guide to install Windows (XP and below).
In the next lot of pages, you'll learn to properly reformat a hard drive, install Windows, install drivers, configure Windows and install programs for maximum safety and finally, to tweak Windows settings to gain the maximum achievable performance your computer can get.
The steps described will be geared specifically for Windows 2000/XP, but will work with all versions of Windows unless it is specifically noted or implied otherwise. If you are fairly computer-literate, and to an extent you know what you're doing, feel free to skip some parts as we are catering for the newbie. Some parts will teach you nothing, whilst others will be of great value if they contain information you didn't know.