Make SURE you have a boot disk that can access your CD ROM drive. I cannot stress this enough. Boot with your boot disk and ensure that the drivers that are loading can access your CDROM. Insert the Windows CD, change to the CDROM drive letter, and type DIR to make sure you can read the Windows CD. To make double sure, open a file like ReadMe.txt. Click here to find out how to create a bootable floppy disk with CD ROM support. Make sure you test it before proceeding!
Newer machines may have the facility of booting from CD/DVD drives. Check your
motherboard manual to see if this is a feature you have.
Make SURE you have the Product Key for your Windows installation. Depending on how it was purchased, the Product Key could be on a little sticker on the back of your Windows CD jewel case (or cardboard sleeve) or in the case of an
OEM (original equipment manufacturer) CD, it could be on the front of the OEM booklet. If somehow you have lost your Product Key, it can be obtained from your current installation by looking in the system registry. To find your Product Key, open Regedit and navigate to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ MICROSOFT \ WINDOWS \ CURRENTVERSION
Click on the CurrentVersion key in the left pane of regedit, and in the right pane, scroll until you find the value ProductKey. This is your CD Key (not to be confused with ProductId which is the number Microsoft assigned to you when you registered Windows. This is for Retail Versions). If this is an OEM version, the key will have OEM in it and MAY be called
ProductID rather than ProductKey. Write down both values if you are unsure!
One more thing I should mention. If your version of Windows is an "upgrade" version, make sure you have your previous installation disks because setup will ask for them to verify eligibility for upgrade. Since you are about to do a clean install, there will not be a previous operating system installed. This is not a problem as long as you have your previous installation disks. Setup will prompt you
Page 1: Before you begin
Page 2: Pre-format
check list (this page)
Page 3: Partitioning
Page 4: Formatting
your partition & setting up Windows