Wednesday, December 14, 2005

> I have configured Linux so it boots under X mode.

> Now it always starts in this mode, and I'd like to know how to (which
> command) make Linux boot under Text Mode.

Pretty straightforward. Bring up a shell and edit the /etc/inittab file.
The very first section should discuss the "default runlevel," with a bunch
of #'d-out lines describing each runlevel. Following this, look for the
following line (or something close to it):


The 5 indicates to start in X. Change this to 3, save the inittab file, and
presto --- next time you boot up, you'll find yourself in bash.

Booting Linux in Text Mode (inittab)

> I have configured Linux so it boots under X mode.

> Now it always starts in this mode, and I'd like to know how to (which
> command) make Linux boot under Text Mode.

Pretty straightforward. Bring up a shell and edit the /etc/inittab file.
The very first section should discuss the "default runlevel," with a bunch
of #'d-out lines describing each runlevel. Following this, look for the
following line (or something close to it):


The 5 indicates to start in X. Change this to 3, save the inittab file, and
presto --- next time you boot up, you'll find yourself in bash.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

> I would like to filter the result of an "ls" command in order to get
> only the list of the files
> modified for example after January 21 at 10:20. Do you know any filter
> or pipelined
> command that can be used for this purpose ?
> Thanks for your help.

# touch -t 200101211020 /tmp/testdatefile
# ls -l /tmp/testdatefile
-rw-r--r-- 1 landt staff 0 Jan 21 10:20 /tmp/testdatefile
# find ./* -prune -newer /tmp/testdatefile

The ./* and -prune say to search all files in the CURRENT DIR ONLY!
This will test all files that the 'ls' command would. Change it
to find . -newer ... for ALL files recursively.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ups.... esto costó encontrarlo, pero al final funcionó....

If you are having problems with the MPT Initializing... your
phone, I have figured out how to do it. I have Windows

Before you start any of this, make sure that your
phone is not plugged into the USB connection. Make it
seem as if the phone and the computer were never

1. Go to Control Panel-->System-->Hardware-->Device
2. Expand "Modems" and make sure that there are not
any unusual modems under the expanded category. In
other words, only ONE should be installed and it
should be the modem that is in your computer, nothing
3. Download and Install MPT v3.11. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO
INSTALL YOUR PHONE. When it asks to detect your phone,
click cancel.
4. The default phone picture will come up. Now, go to
Menu-->Setup-->Live Update. Follow the prompts to
detect, download and install MPT v3.25b.
5. Do not launch MPT. Make sure the program is closed.

6. NOW, plug your phone into your computer via the
mini-USB cable. Your computer should detect "New
Hardware." Your computer will prompt you to install
the software. It will ask you if you want the computer
to search for you (Recommended) or it will ask you if
you want to manually select the software from a list
(Advanced). Make sure you go to the option that allows
you to select from a list.
7. It will ask you to search your computer hard drive.
You need to direct it to the driver that comes in the
MPT v3.25b you just installed. Click BROWSE. The
folder you are looking for is titled
"W2K_XP_USB_Drivers". It will most likely be in
"C:\Program Files\mobile PhoneTools\Inf" You will need
to direct your computer to the location that you put
the mobile PhoneTools folder in. When you download the
file you will need to remember where you told WinRAR
to open the file at and direct the computer to the
'Inf' folder. To make it easy, put the downloaded
folder in your 'Program Files' folder..
8. Once you have directed the computer to search for
the driver in "W2K_XP_USB_Drivers", click on INSTALL
or NEXT to continue with the "search and installation"
of the phone. It should say "Motorola USB Modem" as it
is installing.
9. Allow the entire process to complete. Once it is
done and you have clicked FINISH, unplug your phone
from the USB cable and power it OFF.
10. Turn your phone back on and allow it to cycle to
the main screen.
11. Plug your USB cable back into your phone and make
sure it is connected to the computer. Your phone
should start charging.
12. This is confirmation USB drivers were installed.
13. Use always the same USB port.
14. NOW, start MPT and choose USB method for finding
the phone when prompted. The program should
detect your phone in you should be up and

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Default AND to narrow

Example: physician assisted suicide

OR to combine synonymous terms

Example: bipolar OR manic depressive

- to eliminate terms

Example: dolphins -football


( ) to nest synonymous terms when the search statement also contains the default AND Boolean Operator.

Example: hate crimes (teens OR childs)


" "

Example: "physician assisted suicide"


Stemming Technology



* Use in place of common words in long search statements to work around limit of 10 search terms/syntaxes.

Example: "* * nothing * * * blood toil tears * sweat" Churchill "world war"

Stop words

Use + to force common words if important for the search.

Example: "+to +be +or +not +to +be"


Field Searching is one of the most effective ways to narrow and customize a search in Google. Special syntaxes are used to designate various types of field searches.

See below, Useful Special Syntaxes and Mixing Syntaxes

Synonymous Terms

~ immediately before a key term will search for synonyms.

Example: ~buildings

Special Syntax


This syntax restricts a search to titles of Web sites; it can be effectively combined with other syntaxes to customize a search. An alternative syntax, allintitle: looks for all the words in the title of a Web site; allintitle: does not mix well with other syntaxes.

Example: intitle:"bob marley" "popular music"


This syntax restricts a search to the URLs of Web sites. It can be an effective way to find sites from within a domain, directory or path; it can also be effectively combined with other syntaxes to customize a search. See site: below.

Example: intitle:"civil liberties" terrorism inurl:cnn
Example: intitle:turkey intitle:carve inurl:help
Example: inurl:butterflygardening


This syntax allows you to limit a search to a site or a top level domain. It is similar to inurl: but will not search for a site within a subdirectory (i.e., anything beyond the /). Some advantages to using inurl: over site: are:
You can use inurl: by itself without using any other search terms or
You can use inurl: to search subdirectories.

Example: intitle:"hate crimes" site:gov
Example: intitle:"hate crimes" OR "gay bashing" site:org
Example: intitle:"binge drinking" site:edu


This syntax searches for words in only the text of a Web site. It ignores link text, URLs and titles which makes it a useful syntax for finding search words that are commonly used in URLs or links. It can be effectively combined with other syntaxes to customize a search.

Example: intext:html site:edu
Example: intext:"" inurl:help


This syntax searches for text in a Web site's link anchors (i.e., the text you click on get to a Web site). Since the anchor text for a link is usually descriptive of the page it links to, the inanchor: syntax can be a useful way to limit a search to relevant sites. It can be effectively combined with other syntaxes to customize a search.

Example: inanchor:"Google Help"
Example: inanchor:AIDS inanchor:grants

For a fun experiment, try typing your name as a phrase with the inanchor: syntax!


This syntax returns a list of Web sites linking to a specific URL. The link: syntax can not be combined with another syntax.



This syntax allows you to limit a search to a specific date or range of dates that a site was indexed by Google (this is not the same as the date the site was created.) The only drawback to this syntax is that it works with the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian Calendar (the one we use). To use daterange: first go to the Julian Date Converter at the U.S. Naval Observatory (

Example: intitle:"george bush" daterange:2452389-2452389
(this would search for April 24, 2002)


This syntax searches for specific filename extensions. Google searches for PowerPoint (.ppt), Excel (.xls), and Word (.doc) documents as well as Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), Adobe Postscript (.ps) and Rich Text Format (.rtf).

Example: intitle:"hate crimes" filetype:pdf
Example: intitle:google filetype:doc
Example: intitle:"date rape" site:edu filetype:ppt


This syntax searches for Web sites related or similar to a specified URL. This is a good way to retrieve categories or types of Web sites.



This syntax provides a page of links to more information about a specified URL including a link to the page's cache, a list of Web sites that link to the specified URL, a list of Web sites related to the specified URL and Web sites that contain the specified URL.


Date Searches

Google Search Statement

(August 2004)

Search Strategies

date rape


Default Boolean AND search.

"date rape"


Phrase search.

intitle:"date rape"


The phrase must be in the title.

intitle:"date rape" inurl:cnn


Site must be from CNN.

intitle:"date rape" site:edu


Site must be from an educational institution.

intitle:"date rape" alcohol site:edu


The word alcohol is added to the previous search.

intitle:"date rape" inanchor:statistics


The word statistics must be an anchor (clickable) in the site.

"date rape" site:edu filetype:ppt


Site must be a PowerPoint presentation from an educational institution.

Sample Search

Google Search Statement

(August 2004)

Search Strategies

women ancient greece


Default Boolean AND search.

women "ancient greece"


Default Boolean AND and phrase search.

(women OR woman) "ancient greece"


Boolean OR, default Boolean AND and phrase search.

~women "ancient greece"


Synonymous terms for women and phrase search

"role +of women" "ancient greece"


Two phrases with forced stop word and Boolean AND search.

intitle:women "ancient greece"


Women must be in the title, Boolean AND and phrase search..

women "ancient greece" inurl:pbs


Site must be from PBS.

women "ancient greece" site:edu


Site must be from an educational institution.

"role +of women" "ancient greece" site:org


Site must be from an organization.

women "ancient greece" site:edu filetype:ppt


Site must be a PowerPoint presentation from an education institution.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


# (A free torrent site, this Canadian database is fighting off the threat of an MPAA law suit. The site owner is a true libertarian, and is mounting a compelling defense against the MPAA. Read the details at the Isohunt home page. This is an outstanding torrent database, and P2P users are cheering for its continued success and operations.)

# (Currently a free torrent site, Torrentspy is also an outstanding site for overall size, speed, and user-friendliness. Alas, there are fears that will be shut down in the near while.)

# (This site is out of Europe, and has managed to evade RIAA and MPAA prosecution to date. The user following is also growing quickly as people discover this tremendous database. Special thanks to our About readers for this URL!)

# (Also a no-fee torrent site, MiniNova is still young. But it is a clean and reliable interface with fast access and searching. With time, the membership and database here will grow.)

# (Also known as “VIP Torrents”, is a free Torrent site with a spartan look and fast searching format.)

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Friday, December 02, 2005

Mod Function and Negative Numbers

Date: 04/28/2000 at 11:17:09
From: Anne
Subject: Using the mod() function with negative numbers

I work in IT - Technical Support. I am trying to sort out a problem
for a user who is using the MOD() function in Excel 97 as follows:


He thinks it should return a value of 40, but it returns a value of

It returns a value of 40 if we do the following:


Now I am wondering why the negative sign makes a difference. You can
see from my age that it was years ago that I had math, and I was very
good at it. But I cannot remember how negative numbers work in

Can you help me?


Date: 04/28/2000 at 12:57:10
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Using the mod() function with negative numbers

Hi, Anne.

There are different ways of thinking about remainders when you deal
with negative numbers, and he is probably confusing two of them. The
mod function is defined as the amount by which a number exceeds the
largest integer multiple of the divisor that is not greater than that
number. In this case, -340 lies between -360 and -300, so -360 is the
greatest multiple LESS than -340; we subtract 60 * -6 = -360 from -340
and get 20:

-420 -360 -300 -240 -180 -120 -60 0 60 120 180 240 300 360
| | | |
-360| |-340 300| |340
|=| |==|
20 40

Working with a positive number like 340, the multiple we subtract is
smaller in absolute value, giving us 40; but with negative numbers, we
subtract a number with a LARGER absolute value, so that the mod
function returns a positive value. This is not always what people
expect, but it is consistent.

If you want the remainder, ignoring the sign, you have to take the
absolute value before using the mod function.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum

Date: 05/02/2000 at 04:58:50
From: Norwich C.C. Network Services
Subject: Re: Using the mod() function with negative numbers

Thanks very much for sorting this out. I had worked out how it was
arriving at the result, but did not know whether it was correct. We
had also tried it in Lotus 1-2-3 and the result given was -40, which
was what the user expected. Nice to have built some user confidence in

Thanks again for your help.


Date: 05/02/2000 at 17:16:19
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Using the mod() function with negative numbers

Hi, Anne.

It occurs to me that I don't quite want to leave you trusting Excel
too much. A comment I had considered making before was that a program
may often use its own definitions for functions like this, and
apparently Lotus proves my point that "mod" can be taken in different
ways. You should always go by the manual, not by what a mathematician

Excel has its own share of mathematical foibles; here's a copy of an
answer I gave to someone who asked about its handling of -a^b:


The proper rule is that negation has the same precedence as
multiplication and division. After all, negation means multiplication
by -1. So -a^b should be taken as -(a^b).

Some time ago when I was researching order of operations for another
inquiry, I ran across this page from Microsoft explaining this quirk:

XL: Order of Precedence Causes Unexpected Positive Value

It doesn't claim that their rule agrees with the mathematical world,
only that they make their own standards, and don't have to agree with

This behavior is by design of Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Excel uses
an order of calculation to evaluate operators in formulas. The order
of evaluation of operators dictates that a minus sign (-) used as a
negation operator (such as -1) is evaluated before all other
operators. Because of this order, the formula =-1^2 represents the
value -1 squared, and returns the value 1, a positive value.
Note that this has been the standard method for evaluating formulas
since the first version of Microsoft Excel.

NOTE: This order of operation is different from the order of
operation in Lotus 1-2-3.

What I suspect is that the programmers were accustomed to the C
language, in which unary operators such as negation have higher
precedence than any binary operator; there is no exponent operator in
C. When they added the exponent operator, they may simply have
forgotten that it should have higher precedence, or they may have
found it was easier to program this way. Once the rule became
established, they couldn't change it and make customer's programs

There are many other instances where calculators or software make
their own rules; sometimes this is because of limitations of their
interface, sometimes because of a misguided desire to "improve" the
rules. In any case, we can't use any piece of software as our guide to
mathematical practice, and students should be taught not to confuse
the rules of a particular program with those of math. We wouldn't want
Microsoft to be making these decisions for us anyway, would we?


So the score is Microsoft 1, Lotus 1!

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum

Date: 05/03/2000 at 08:53:33
From: Norwich C.C. Network Services
Subject: Re: using the mod() function with negative numbers

Thanks for that!

I will remember not to trust Excel too much.


Date: 07/05/2001 at 13:58:23
From: A. H. Banen
Subject: Mod Function and Negative Numbers

Dear Dr. Peterson,

Concerning the topic "Mod Function and Negative Numbers," I found it
strange you did not refer to the simple rule concerning integer
division and modulo calculation: Given the integer numbers A and B
(where B cannot be equal to zero), the following holds:

A = ( A DIV B ) * B + A MOD B

e.g. for A = 340 and B = 60
A = ( 340 DIV 60 ) * 60 + ( 340 MOD 60 ) =>
A = ( 5 ) * 60 + 40 =>
A = 340

Also, when A = -340 and B = 60
A = ( -340 DIV 60 ) * 60 + ( -340 MOD 60 )
A = ( -5 ) * 60 + ( -40 ) =>
A = -340

From this can be derived that MOD(-340, 60) should have been -40

Andre Banen

Date: 07/05/2001 at 16:17:04
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Mod Function and Negative Numbers

Hi, Andre.

You're right that this relation is relevant to the question; below
I'm going to include a more detailed answer.

But it only proves what MOD should do _if_ we know how DIV is defined;
that is, it is a statement of consistency between the mod function and
the direction of integer truncation. You're _assuming_ truncation
toward zero, so that -340/60 gives -5. But in Excel, we see that the
relation looks like this:

A = ( -340 DIV 60 ) * 60 + ( -340 MOD 60 )
-340 = -6 * 60 + 20

This is perfectly consistent if their integer division truncates
toward -infinity rather than toward zero, so that -340/60 is taken to
be -6. And that's just what I said, using words rather than the

The mod function is defined as the amount by which a number
exceeds the largest integer multiple of the divisor that is
not greater than that number. In this case, -340 lies between
-360 and -300, so -360 is the greatest multiple LESS than -340;
we subtract 60 * -6 = -360 from -340 and get 20.

So in fact I did refer to your rule.

Here's a more complete answer:

Computer languages and libraries are notoriously inconsistent, or at
least unmathematical, in their implementation of "mod" for negative
numbers. There are several ways it can be interpreted in such cases,
and the choice generally made is not what a mathematician would
probably have made. The issue is what range of values the function
should return. Mathematically, we define "modulo" not as a function,
but as a relation: any two numbers a and b are congruent modulo m if
(a - b) is a multiple of m. If we want to make a function of this, we
have to choose which number b, of all those that are congruent to a,
should be returned.

Properly, the modulus operator a mod b should be mathematically
defined as the number in the range [0,b) that is congruent to a, as
stated here:

In many computer languages (such as FORTRAN or Mathematica), the
common residue of b (mod m) is written mod(b,m) (FORTRAN) or
Mod[b,m] (Mathematica).

The value of b, where a=b (mod m), taken to be nonnegative and
smaller than m.

Unfortunately, this statement about FORTRAN, and implicitly about the
many languages that have inherited their mathematical libraries from
FORTRAN, including C++, is not quite true where negative numbers are

The problem is that people tend to think of modulus as the same as
remainder, and they expect the remainder of, say, -5 divided by 3 to
be the same as the remainder of 5 divided by 3, namely 2, but negated,
giving -2. We naturally tend to remove the sign, do the work, and put
the sign back on, because that's how we divide. In other words, we
expect to truncate toward zero for both positive and negative numbers,
and have the remainder be what's left "on the outside," away from
zero. More particularly, computers at least since the origin of
FORTRAN have done integer division by "truncating toward zero," so
that 5/2 = 2 and -5/2 = -2, and they keep their definition of "mod" or
"%" consistent with this by requiring that

(a/b)*b + a%b = a

so that "%" is really defined as the remainder of integer division as
defined in the language.

Because FORTRAN defined division and MOD this way, computers have
tended to follow this rule internally (in order to implement FORTRAN
efficiently), and so other languages have perpetuated it as well. Some
languages have been modified more recently to include the more
mathematical model as an alternative; in fact, FORTRAN 90 added a new
MODULO function that is defined so that the sign of MODULO(a,b) is
that of b, whereas the sign of MOD(a,b) is that of a. This makes it
match the mathematical usage, at least when b is positive.

Similarly, in Ada there are two different operators, "mod" (modulus)
and "rem" (remainder). Here's an explanation with plenty of detail:

Ada '83 Language Reference Manual - U.S. Government

Integer division and remainder are defined by the relation

A = (A/B)*B + (A rem B)

where (A rem B) has the sign of A and an absolute value less than
the absolute value of B. Integer division satisfies the identity

(-A)/B = -(A/B) = A/(-B)

The result of the modulus operation is such that (A mod B) has the
sign of B and an absolute value less than the absolute value of B;
in addition, for some integer value N, this result must satisfy
the relation

A = B*N + (A mod B)

For positive A and B, A/B is the quotient and A rem B is the
remainder when A is divided by B. The following relations are
satisfied by the rem operator:

A rem (-B) = A rem B
(-A) rem B = -(A rem B)

For any integer K, the following identity holds:

A mod B = (A + K*B) mod B

The relations between integer division, remainder, and modulus are
illustrated by the following table:

A B A/B A rem B A mod B A B A/B A rem B A mod B

10 5 2 0 0 -10 5 -2 0 0
11 5 2 1 1 -11 5 -2 -1 4
12 5 2 2 2 -12 5 -2 -2 3
13 5 2 3 3 -13 5 -2 -3 2
14 5 2 4 4 -14 5 -2 -4 1

10 -5 -2 0 0 -10 -5 2 0 0
11 -5 -2 1 -4 -11 -5 2 -1 -1
12 -5 -2 2 -3 -12 -5 2 -2 -2
13 -5 -2 3 -2 -13 -5 2 -3 -3
14 -5 -2 4 -1 -14 -5 2 -4 -4

So what's the conclusion? There are basically two models, reasonably
distinguished in Ada terms as Remainder and Mod; the C++ "%" operator
is really Remainder, not Mod, despite what it's often called.
Actually, its behavior for negative numbers is not even defined
officially; like many things in C, it's left to be processor-dependent
because C does not define how a processor should handle integer
division. Just by chance, all compilers I know truncate integers
toward zero, and therefore treat "%" as remainder, following the
precedent of FORTRAN. As _C: A Reference Manual_, by Harbison and
Steele, says, "For maximum portability, programs should therefore
avoid depending on the behavior of the remainder operator when
applied to negative integral operands."

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum

Date: 07/06/2001 at 04:22:22
From: A. H. Banen
Subject: Re: Mod Function and Negative Numbers

Dear Dr. Peterson,

I must concur with almost of your reasoning with one exception: you state I
have a _presumption_ about truncation towards zero. But, toward the end of
the very complete answer you sent me, you quote from
references found in the Ada '83 Language Reference Manual that integer
division has to satisfy the identity (-A)/B = -(A/B) = A/(-B). When this
identity is observed there is only one correct outcome of the integer divison
-340/60 (i.e. -5).

I can only hope that the identities the above site states to be
satisfied by integer devision, remainder and modulo function, are not the
presumption used by the definition of Ada, but that these are fundamental
identities all calculus is based on. I really hope you can confirm the
latter, as the trouble I had finding valid definitions of integer division,
etc. on the Internet really bothers me.

Also, the links you quoted to MathWorld ( are no
longer valid, which is very disappointing as Wolfram really has given
mathematics on the computer its rightful place.

And thank you for your answer.

Andre Banen

Date: 07/06/2001 at 09:05:12
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Mod Function and Negative Numbers

Hello again!

I am aware that MathWorld has been unavailable for some time; we have left
links to it in many places, hoping that it will come back. I was very glad
that I had quoted from it rather than just giving a link.

I called "truncation toward zero" a presumption with regard to how Excel or
any other program should work; the developers of any particular programming
language or program are free to define conversion from "real" to integer in
any way they choose, as long as they define it. There is certainly no
presumption that those developers always make the mathematically "proper"
choices, since they may have different goals. The fact is that both forms of
truncation make sense in different applications; both "remainder" and
"modulo" are useful. Therefore it would be wrong to claim that only one is
valid. As I said, "Mod" is more mathematical, and there are many
formulas for which it is necessary (causing great difficulties for C
programmers); but "Rem" is useful in other cases, particularly since it is
consistent with the most natural definition of integer division. You show a
preference for Rem, and I won't argue against you, as long as you recognize
that Mod has its place as well.

Note that the identity you refer to is used in Ada only to define integer
division, and that Rem is defined from that; Mod is defined separately, but
is consistent with the "greatest integer" formulation of integer division,
which does not satisfy that identity. There is no reason it should; it has
different purposes.

I think the provision of two formulations as in Ada is reasonable, and would
not try to prove that one is invalid. The fact is that there is no definition
of "integer division" in math; rather, we divide and apply the greatest
integer function or some variation of it to the resulting rational number,
depending on our needs. Integer division is a formulation of computer
languages, and they define it for their own use.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum

TweakHound -The Right Way To Install Windows XP part 2

The Right Way To Install Windows XP

By Eric Vaughan

September, 2005

There is often more than one way to do things "the right way". Installing and setting up an operating system is no exception to this. This guide is based on my experience working with XP since RC1, doing more custom installations than I can count, and interaction/discussion with other geeks. I have found this method to offer the best results for performance, stability, and error free installation. I make no guarantees. If you have a problem it is more than likely your hardware and/or its drivers, or you didn't follow the drivers installation instructions. I don't have or claim to have all the answers. If you have a suggestion for this guide, or think you have a better method of doing something, contact me.

If you just want to see the order I use to install XP and its apps, click HERE.

Wanna know exactly how I do it? See: How I Install Windows XP

* Please read through this entire guide before doing anything.

**If you are on a broadband connection. Make sure you are behind a firewall router before installing XP.

Can I Use XP?

Check with Microsoft to make sure your system meets the requirements ( more on that follows). Check here for XP Pro and here XP Home. The Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List is also a good starting point. Some inexperienced folks think it's a myth that XP needs high end hardware to run. doesn't exactly take high-end hardware but Microsoft's specs are, quite frankly, a joke. "Run" is the optional term here, I've seen it "run" on a lot of stuff. On anything less than 800 MHz, with 256 of RAM, sure it "runs"... like a 3-legged turtle in quicksand. My recommended minimum specs: 1 GHz with 512 MB of RAM.

Which Version?

Since XP was released there has been considerable argument and misinformation over which version is best. The vast majority of people will find XP Home more than adequate. For a view of the differences and recommendations from Microsoft go here: Five editions of Windows XP compared.

Backup Everything!

Save all your docs, picture, music, email settings, and files to another computer and/or removable media such as an external drive or CD/DVD.

A very useful FREE tool for this is Microsoft's SyncToy v1.0 for Windows XP.

It is a good idea to fully update your anti-virus software and do a full computer scan before doing this.

If you use an imaging program like Acronis True Image I highly suggest making a final image of you entire drive before continuing in case something goes horribly wrong. This should be written to a CD/DVD.

Download What You'll Need

Download Service Pack 2

If your XP CD does not have Service Pack 2 then download Service Pack 2. After you do this I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you make a slipstreamed Service Pack 2 Installation Disk.
"Slipstreaming" refers to integrating something (in this case SP2) into the Windows XP disk. This makes for a faster, cleaner, safer installation.

For a simple slipstream only guide I like:
Paul Thurrott's Slipstreaming Windows XP with Service Pack 2

For an advanced slipstreaming and installation customizing guide see:

MSFN's Creating the ultimate Unattended Windows XP CD

For an advanced slipstreaming and installation customizing program check out nLite.

I've like all 3 and have used them without issue.

Download Drivers

Download and install a System Information Tool. The three I prefer are:

SIW, SANDRA Lite 2005.SR2, Everest .

Use the information from these tools to determine your hardware and download the latest drivers from the vendors. If your components are "built-in" (mounted on the motherboard) then see the Motherboard or System Manufacturer for drivers. If you have older hardware (+ 1 year) chances are XP w/SP2 already has sufficient drivers and Windows Update may have the drivers or updated drivers. If your hardware is newer than Service Pack 2 then it should have come with a CD containing those drivers. Still, it doesn't hurt to go to your manufacturers download site and check to see if you have the latest version of everything. Video cards seem to have new driver updates more than most hardware and you will absolutely want the latest drivers for them. FWIW - There are often different versions of drivers (WHQL, beta, alpha, etc.). Personally, unless I'm doing testing, I usually only use WHQL drivers and usually after they have been out a week or more. Let someone else discover if they have issues or not. The important drivers are:

-Motherboard - these are most often referred to as "Chipset Drivers".

(yes fellow geeks I know, but that is a good enough description for those using this guide)



-Storage controllers - things like SCSI, SATA, ATA, or RAID cards/components.

NIC & Modem drivers - NIC = Ethernet card

Popular vendor links:

Prepare Your Computer
Turn off your power supply and monitor. Unplug the power supply. Now unplug everything from the back of the computer. Take the left side (as you look at the front) of the computer case off. On some cases the top and sides are one piece, if so remove the whole thing. Vacuum the inside of the computer, especially around the fans. It may be necessary to remove the front cover to adequately clean in front of the front fan. A can of compressed air helps tremendously with this.

This is a great time to add any hardware!

Put it all back together. Plug everything back in. Turn on your power supply. Start up the computer and make sure everything works. Shut it off again.


*Note to wi-fi users. I recommend you use a wired connection for everything until XP is completely setup. Disable the wi-fi connection on first boot or as soon as you get the drivers installed. To disable the connection Open your Network Connection Properties, go to Start > Run > type control ncpa.cpl exactly as you see here > right-click on the wi-fi connection and choose disable.

Start your computer and insert the XP disk. If your computer supports booting from a CD you may need to change the bios startup options. The key you press to access the bios may differ depending on the make of your computer. Most use the DELETE key, if not then it will be one of the FUNCTION keys (F1, F2, etc.) Save changes and exit. If your computer does not support booting from CD then insert the first Windows XP floppy disk.

As the system boots you will see a message at the bottom of the screen:

"Press F6 if you need to install a 3rd party SCSI or RAID driver." If you do, follow the instructions.

Now setup begins. If you had another Operating System on your computer you will be asked what type of installation you want to perform. NEVER, EVER UPGRADE AN OPERATING SYSTEM!!! You will perform new installation.

There are many reasons to do a clean installation rather than an upgrade. They all boil down to 2 important ones. Less chance of errors and performance. The following statement from Microsoft can be found here: Benchmarking on Windows XP.

Clean Installation Preferred
When benchmarking Windows XP, Microsoft strongly recommends a clean installation using NTFS. There are several reasons why performance for a clean installation will tend to be superior to that for upgraded systems. An upgraded system will constrain the placement of files and file system data. The old disk format may not use an optimal file system cluster size. In a clean installation, the placement of file system data on the disk and the internal organization of that data can be optimized, resulting in a smaller system footprint and fewer and faster I/Os when using the system.
When performing a clean install, Microsoft recommends that NTFS be used and that the system be installed in a single partition on each disk. Under Windows XP, big partitions are better managed than in previous versions of Windows. Forcing installed software into several partitions on the disk necessitates longer seeks when running the system and software.
If you do choose an upgrade from Windows 2000 or Windows 9x, you may be working with a FAT32 file system. Performance will generally be better if the file system is left as it is, rather than converted to NTFS. A partition converted from FAT32 to NTFS may have to use 512-byte clusters, rather than 4096-byte or 8192-byte clusters, which can result in a higher number of fragmented files.

Next comes the ever popular EULA, press F8 and move on.

If there are partitions on your drive press D to delete them. Then press C to create a new partition.

If you create or resize partitions BE CAREFUL, you will destroy data on other partitions if you do this. On a computer with a single hard drive I usually use a partition of around 10gb for Windows XP. I install the applications on the same drive and I use a backup program. It makes things easier. If you desire the utmost speed and efficiency, put Windows XP and the applications on a drive by itself with no other partitions. Given the size of hard drives these days this may be expensive and/or impractical. After pressing C the following screen will appear. Type in a size for your partition and press the Enter key.

If everything looks right, use the arrow key to highlight the correct partition (should be C:) and press the Enter key.

Format this partition using NTFS. Personally I think it's best not to use the "Quick" option. Using the standard option checks the disk for bad sectors. This will take a while. Some people have asked "I've heard that FAT32 is faster, why use NTFS?" First NTFS is only about 1-2% slower than FAT32 and only on drives/volumes 32GB in size or smaller. It is faster because of the overhead created by the security of NTFS. Second, you can eliminate the majority of that overhead by following my tweak guide. Third, the aforementioned security is exactly why you should use NTFS!

After formatting the setup files will be loaded and the system will reboot. At this point if you had a floppy in the drive then remove it.

(click on Thumbnails for a larger view)

As setup begins you'll be asked to fill in some info. Most are self-explanatory. Click on the Thumbnails for larger views if you desire.

Windows will ask for Region and Language (the default is U.S., English)

Your Name. First name will do.

Your CD shipped with a Product Key. Enter it now.

Computer Name and Administrator Password

Time Zone, Date & Time

Network Settings. Leave it as is.

Type in your workgroup name or leave as is if you don't have one.

When the basic install is finished you'll see this screen. Click Next.

Choose your poison and click Next.

Choose your poison and click Next.

Absolutely DO NOT Activate yet! Click Next.

Fill in the appropriate info and click Next.


What the first screen looks like:

After Initial Installation

If you did not make a slipstreamed CD and you downloaded it ahead of time, install Service Pack 2.

Those with a newer computer or motherboard may need to install your motherboard or chipset drivers here. Use the CD that came with the hardware or that you downloaded, reboot.

For people who hate the new GUI you can switch to a more classic view. Right click on START > click properties > click the classic start menu button, now click CUSTOMIZE > place a check in the EXPAND CONTROL PANEL option. All CONTROL PANEL options can now be accessed from START > SETTINGS > CONTROL PANEL > (option) If you are like me and want to see all of the programs in the start menu (instead of a few items and some arrows at the bottom), uncheck the USE PERSONALIZED MENUS option. Click OK to close that box and APPLY to close the next.

What they look like:

(click on Thumbnails for a larger view)

New Start Menu

Classic Start Menu

Now load your video card drivers. The download page for those drivers had instructions on it for a reason. The biggest reason people have problems installing video cards is not following these instructions.

If you are going to add more user accounts to your computer, now is a good time to do it.

Reboot and start up in Safe Mode (press F8 while booting and choose Safe Mode)

Press the Windows & R keys > type cleanmgr /sageset:50 . Ensure there is a space between cleanmgr and / > click OK. In the resulting screen, choose your options by checking the boxes. I choose all but the bottom two. Click OK. Press the Windows & R keys > type cleanmgr /sagerun:50. When Disk cleanup is finished, Reboot.

Windows Update

*Note to wi-fi users. I recommend you use a wired connection for everything until XP is completely setup. Disable the wi-fi connection on first boot or as soon as you get the drivers installed. To disable the connection Open your Network Connection Properties, go to Start > Run > type control ncpa.cpl exactly as you see here > right-click on the wi-fi connection and choose disable.

Now you need to load your ISP software, or configure your computer for your broadband connection. If XP didn't already install the NIC/modem drivers for you, install them now. Then load your ISP software.
Sign on to the web. DO NOT check email, DO NOT IM, just go to Windows Update ( START >WINDOWS UPDATE).

Now...Microsoft has decided to be a royal PITA and has introduced a series of "validation" checks to ensure you are using a "valid" copy of XP. What it boils down to is they are assuming you are a criminal and you have to prove you aren't. This is also a major inconvenience because you'll now have to activate XP instead of being able to wait to make sure everything is running right before activating. A series of screens will pop up asking to install this and that. You want to update automatically you have no choice. Click yes, next install, whatever and get that stuff installed.

When all that Bravo Sierra is finished, click on the SCAN FOR UPDATES link. You'll get a choice between Express Install and Custom Install. Choose Custom Install. Install the High Priority Updates, under the Software, Optional section choose >.NET Framework, and Windows Media Player 10, Check the Hardware, Optional section to see if anything is there and check those too. When those are finished, reboot sign on to Windows Update again and install any remaining High Priority updates. Reboot into Safe Mode again and run cleanmgr /sagesrun:50

Install Remaining Hardware

***Try to follow the manufactures instructions on installing your hardware. Check your manual or the manufacturers support pages for these. Some hardware may require you to install software before installing/attaching hardware.


To open DEVICE MANAGER: Press the Windows + R keys, type in devmgmt.msc .

Any hardware without a driver will be in a section with a yellow question mark:

Device Manager

(click on Thumbnail for a larger view)

If that hardware has a CD or file that will automatically install everything, run it now.

If you have anything left in DEVICE MANAGER that hasn't had its driver installed, try the following before attempting to install the driver manually.

Right click on the device > choose UPDATE DRIVER > in the resulting screen choose Install the software automatically. If your lucky XP will already have the driver. If not you'll have to do it manually.

To install a driver manually: In DEVICE MANAGER, double-click that hardware item > Click the Reinstall Driver button > in the resulting screen check No, not this time and click Next >

- If you know exactly what driver you want to install choose Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) and in the following screens browse to the location of the file to install the driver. Insert the manufacturers CD if needed.

- If you do not know exactly what driver to install insert the manufacturer CD and choose Install the software automatically (Recommended) > If that does not work, go back and this time choose Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) > in the resulting screen in the Search for the best driver in these locations section check the box that says Include this location in the search and browse to the file that contains you driver. If that fails you'll have to do it manually.

If you need to partition and/or format other drives and partitions, do so now. You can do this from ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS > DISK MANAGEMENT or use a program like Acronis Disk Director.

Install Peripheral Devices

This will be devices like printers, mp3 players, cameras, scanners, etc...

***Try to follow the manufactures instructions on installing your hardware. Check your manual or the manufacturers support pages for these. Some hardware may require you to install software before installing/attaching hardware.

If you use an Imaging program like Acronis True Image. Install it now and make a backup.