The Software:
Windows XP Service Pack 1

The Hardware:
Dell Optiplex GX280

Total Time:
45 minutes (+ updates)

1. Insert Windows XP CD.
2. Restart computer.
3. Press F12 on the initial loading screen (Dell Logo) to enter the Boot Menu.
4. Select boot from Optical Drive (in this case the On-Board SATA CD Drive).
5. Press Enter when you are at the Windows XP, Setup screen. This will set up Windows now.
6. Agree to the End User License Agreement (commonly referred to as EULA) by pressing F8.
7. Delete any partitions by selecting and them and pressing D.
8. Confirm your choice by pressing L when prompted.
9. Create the partition(s) by pressing C and specifying the size(s). Since this computer will be used for a workstation operating in a domain, in which users are accustomed to only having one partition and working primarily off of the server, we will only set up one partition. However, 10. Format the drive. Choose the quick format option only if there is nothing there, or your crunched for time. The regular format process is much longer, particularly on larger drives, but will result in a cleaner drive.
Windows will now format the drive and begin the automatic installation. (Feel free to walk away, unless you’ve used a floppy disk on installation, which will need to be ejected prior to the automatic reboot.) Then, Windows will load the installation files and reboot starting Windows XP. At this point, Windows continues the automatic installation and continues to provide a status bar, showing you what progress is being made.
11. Set any regional or language settings you desire (i.e. keyboard inputs, etc.).
12. Enter a name and organization name.
13. Enter the product key (activation code).
14. Enter your Licensing Mode.
15. Enter the computer name and an administrative password (twice).

Two Cent Tip: choose an easily remembered password for your administrator account on installation. This is only for local administration and you will likely not use it much, if you are operating in a domain. It will have to meet Windows XP password complexity requirements.

16. Enter the time and time zone.
17. At the Networking Settings screen, you can put in either your Typical or Custom Settings. Typically, I choose with Typical. Click Next.
18. At the Workgroup or Computer domain, I leave it on workgroup. Since I prefer to set up my network settings later, Workgroup is the most sensible option. Setting up the computer to connect to a domain without that information is useless. Click Next.

Windows will now bring up the Windows Welcome Screen. You will be prompted to enter a user name. Congratulations! You’re done! [Unless of course you’re on a Dell Optiplex GX280 and you have installed XP Service Pack 1, but more on that later.]

Now, just connect to the Internet and download Windows Updates.