Once you've booted onto your installation CD and formatted your hard drive, installing Windows is basically a no-brainer. It will just start installing and eventually ask you for your product key and for your regional information.
- Driver and DirectX Installation
IMPORTANT: DO NOT INSTALL ANYTHING OTHER THAN CPU-Z PRIOR TO INSTALLING YOUR DRIVERS, SERVICE PACKS, AND DIRECTX!
So you're inside your operating system. Now what? Things might seem unstable and slow; your screen resolution and color depth might seem rather low (stuff will look big and ugly). You need to install drivers. Prior to installing any drivers, it's best you install any service packs for your operating system. For Windows XP and 2000, simply go to http://www.windowsupdate.com in Internet Explorer - it won't work in Firefox or other Mozilla browsers. Click "scan for updates" and choose to install only service packs (which will be in the critical updates section).
For those XP users who wish to use just Service Pack 1, and not Service Pack 2, you can find the manual update here. I recommend experienced users stick with SP1 because it allows more tweaking to be done, and SP2 adds very little for the experienced user. In fact, there are even some programs that have problems with it. However, inexperienced users should stick to SP2 because it does have a few security features which are important.
* If you are running Windows 98, download and install the unofficial service pack here:
* If you are running Windows ME, download and install the unofficial service pack here:
These two service packs are extremely important for stability and performance. Their existence alone prevents me from writing a huge Windows 9x tweaking guide, because they make the vast majority of Windows 9x tweaks a waste of time. Don't worry about the unofficial part; these packs are more reliable than anything you will ever get from Microsoft for Windows 9x.
After you have your service pack, it's time for DirectX. To install DirectX (the current version is DX9c), go here, download it and install it. You can also find it on the CDs/DVDs of most new games.