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Part: I Introducing Windows XP Home Edit... > Getting Your Hardware and Software R... - Pg. 25

25 Chapter 2. Getting Your Hardware and Software Ready for Windows XP In this chapter General Considerations Hardware Requirements Preparing Your Hardware for Windows XP Preparing Your Software for Windows XP Troubleshooting Special Note Regarding XP Media Center Edition PCs Tips from the Windows Pros: Shopping for the Right Hardware and Software General Considerations So much for the hype about Windows XP, all its new features, and some of the details of its design and architecture you learned about in Chapter 1, "Introducing Windows XP Home Edition." So, the question at this point is, "Are you really going to install it?" If you are, you should go ahead and read this chapter and the next one. In this chapter, I'll coach you on preparing for the installation and checking your hardware and software requirements; then I'll discuss some compatibility issues that might affect your product-purchasing decisions. The next chapter covers more specific installation issues, such as choosing disk formats, upgrading versus installing fresh, and dual-booting. I'll also walk you through the setup procedure. Of course, if Windows XP Home Edition is already installed on your PC, you can probably skip Chapter 3, "Installing Windows XP Home Edition." You should, however, at least take a brief look at this one because it includes some discussion that might affect software and hardware installation decisions you might make when using Windows XP Home Edition in the future. Understanding what you can do with, and shouldn't expect from, an operating system is always good background material when you use as complex a tool as a computer on a regular basis. Pay particular attention to the section about RAM and hard disk upgrades and how to research hardware compatibility, and check out the Windows XP-approved applications list on the Windows Catalog site. As you'll learn in the next chapter, the Windows XP Setup program automatically checks your hard- ware and software and reports any potential conflicts. Using it is one way to find out whether your system is ready for prime time. It can be annoying, however, to find out something is amiss at midnight when you're doing an installation, especially when you could have purchased RAM or some other installation prerequisite the previous day when you were out at the computer store. Likewise, you don't want to be technically capable of running Windows XP Home Edition only to experience disappointing performance. To help you prevent such calamity or surprise, the first part of this chapter will cover hardware compatibility issues.