XP Pro Installation (Part 1)

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The first thing that the boot CD does is detect what is readable from the hard drive. If there is a recognizable partition, it will provide a timeout value so that a key may be pressed to boot off of the CD. (See xppro450.png and later graphics.) If no such key is pressed, the hard drive will be booted. If there are no partitions, then Windows XP will boot off of the CD drive. If there are partitions that aren't recognizable (such as a Linux partition)... uh... this hasn't been tested yet.

Initial startup, first instructions

Once the boot CD decides to continue on its boot process, the Windows XP CD begins by clearing the screen (showing [a blank screen]). Then [the screen has a blank line, and then displays a message “Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration...”], before displaying [a blank screen] again.

The screen then changes blue, and provides some instructions for interactivity: [“Windows Setup” screen's bottom bar says “Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver...”].

If the F6 key is pressed at this point, this will actually do nothing that is immediately visible or otherwise recognizable. The setup program will simply make a record, in RAM, that drivers are desired, and then that will affect things later. At this point in the installation process, the fact that F6 was pressed doesn't really get acknowledged to the end user (yet).

Whether F6 is pressed or not, the bottom row of text changes, so [“Windows Setup” screen's bottom bar says “Press F2 to run Automated System Recovery (ASR)...”].

Pressing F2 will quickly bring up the ASR screen. Even though the directions to press F2 (if desired) are directions that show up after the directions to press F6 (if desired), pressing F2 has the earlier visible impact on the installatin process. If the F6 key was pressed on the previous screen, the pressing of F6 has so far still had no effect, except that the computer is remembering that F6 was pressed, so that will have an effect after the whole ASR bit is taken care of.

Step if F2 was pressed for ASR
Automated System Recovery (ASR)

This option lets ASR disk(s) be used. ASR disks are like backups, and are prepared on a working XP system. (To clarify: this means that a working XP system needs to exist to create the ASR disk(s). Then, at a later time, those ASR disk(s) can be used with Windows XP setup.) If F2 was pressed, Windows Setup begins the process of using some ASR disks that were prepared from a working system. This option does not provide any usefulness for a user who has not used a working system to create ASR disks.

[“Windows Setup”: “Please insert the disk labeled:” “Windows Automated System Recovery Disk” “into the floppy drive.” “Press any key when ready.”]

[“Windows Setup”: screen's bottom bar says “Preparing for Automated System Recovery, press ESC to cancel...”].

When this guide was initially created, the ESC key was pressed to simply continue onward. (So, that is an option that ends up working out well.)

Several things are loaded (Part 1)

[“Windows Setup”: screen's bottom bar says “Setup is loading files (Windows Executive)...”].

Windows Executive
Hardware Abstraction Layer
Kernel Debugger DLL
Windows Setup
ACPI Plug & Play Bus Driver
PCI IDE Bus Driver
CMD IDE Bus Driver
ALI IDE Bus Driver
Volume Manager
“Dymanic Volume Support (dmio)” (without quotes, and yes, this results in parenthesis being embedded)
Universal Host Controller
Generic USB Hub Driver
Human Interface Parser
Serial Port Driver
USB Keyboard
SCSI Port Driver

(There may have been more that show up.)

Next step: Loading disk drivers

After loading this first batch of things, a screen such as the following may appear. It will appear if F6 was pressed.

[“Windows Setup”: Listing drives that it plans to add, and gives an offer to load additional (disk-related) drivers].

If S is pressed

Pressing S advanced to: [“Windows Setup”: “Please insert the disk labeled” “Manufacturer-supplied hardware support disk”]. Right, ha ha ha. Like an officially created disk is going to have a label that really actually says “Manufacturer-supplied hardware support disk”. Pphft.

From that screen, pressing Esc goes back to the previous screen ([“Windows Setup”: Listing drives that it plans to add, and gives an offer to load additional (disk-related) drivers]). Pressing Enter tries to proceed. If there is an invalid disk, the screen that appears is: [“Windows Setup”: “The file txtsetup.oem could not be found.” “Press any key to continue.”]. Then pressing a key will act as if Esc was pressed on the previous screen (so it goes back to [“Windows Setup”: Listing drives that it plans to add, and gives an offer to load additional (disk-related) drivers]).

If F3 is pressed

Pressing F3 results in a [“Windows Setup”: warning about quitting (shown when F3 is pressed)]. From here, pressing Enter will go back to the previous screen. If, instead, the F3 key is pressed again, [“Windows Setup” states “Press ENTER to restart your computer.”]

Pressing Enter again will seem to reboot. If the XP Pro CD is still in the drive then it may show a blank screen and then the text “Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration...” is shown.

This differed from if F3 is pressed later in the installation, which would show a 15 second count down and then show the BIOS's startup screen before the CD is booted from.

Pressing Enter on the screen listing drivers that will be installed

It is now time for this documentation to backtrack a bit. If Windows Setup is on the [“Windows Setup”: Listing drives that it plans to add, and gives an offer to load additional (disk-related) drivers], and the ENTER key is pressed, then progress gets made. (Yippee!)

Loading more things

If neither F2 or F6 was pressed, some of the previous screens do not occur. The following screens appear as the next step in Windows XP Pro Setup (regardless of if F2 or F6 was pressed earlier).

Additional things are loaded. Windows Setup displays files that get loaded. For example, [“Windows Setup”: “Setup is loading files (Adaptec AHA-154X/AHA-164X SCSI Host Adapter)...”]. The value in between the parenthesis changes as things are loaded, and at least the following lines appear:

Adaptec AHA-154X/AHA-164X SCSI Host Adapter
LSI Logic C8100 PCI SCSI Host Adapter
Mylex DAC960/Digital SWXCR-Ex Raid Controller
Advansys 3550 Ultra Wide SCSI Host Adapter
QLogic ISP 1240 SCSI Host Adapter
Adaptec AHA-294XU2/AIC-7890 SCSI Controller
LSI Logic C8xx PCI SCSI Host Adapter
LSI Logic C896 PCI SCSI Host Adapter
IBM Portable PCMCIA CD-ROM Drive
Adaptec 2000S/3000S Ultra160 SCSI RAID Controller
HPT370 UDMA/ATA100 RAID Controller
“Dynamic Volume Support (dmboot)” (without quotes, and this text being included within parenthesis does mean there are nexted parenthesis (where some are embedded between others)
SCSI Disk
SCSI Floppy Disk

Detection of hard drives
Possible reboot

Around this time (after loading some drivers, before getting to the xppro080.png), a screen may appear: [“Windows Setup”: “Setup” ... “corrected” a “problem, but a reboot is required.”]. This was seen when the hard drives couldn't be written to. (The easiest way to encounter this may be having a virtual machine's file have permissions that do not allow writing to the virtual hard drive.)

Then the machine will reboot (showing the BIOS screen). The biggest problem to this scenario is that the message is inaccurate: Setup has not “corrected the problem,” because the same thing happens after a reboot. (It is understandable why Setup's fix didn't seem to have any effect. However, more careful software would check that the data was successfully written before declaring a fix.)

Choice of how to proceed

Eventually Windows XP's setup gets to:

[(Windows XP Setup states that it is...) “Processing information file...”]

[“Windows XP Professional Setup” offering to set up Windows XP, or run the Recovery Console]

(Additional resources have been prepared, but have not yet been posted to this guide.)