System Sales
Graphic Design


System Sales

Tech Docs
Product Info


Contact Info.
Ken Goldstein

About CATI

Something Completely

Virtual Hawaii

Links around town!






Installing Windows 2000 Without (Much) Pain
(Reference: )

Windows 2000 has finally arrived! You're itching to grab one of those shiny new Win2000 CDS and turn it loose to do its work on your PC. But you've got questions. Lots of questions.

Just how big a deal is the Win2000 setup process, anyway? Should you clean-install, or upgrade your existing Windows installation? Will the new Windows like your hardware? What should you check before you get started? Our step-by-step instructions will get it up and running on your PC in a hurry.

The good news is that installing Win2000 may be easier than installing NT 4.0. In fact, it could be easier to install than Win98 on some PCS. But attaining that state of setup grace requires a foresight and planning. Before you up that disc, you need to know exactly what you want from Windows 2000, and what the pressure points are. What, for example, should you do to make Win2000 and Win98 co-exist on your PC? What file system should you choose? And what's the best way to set up your disk partitions? Will you have trouble finding device drivers?

That's where this essential guide to installing Windows comes in. This is the step-by-step guide to installing Windows 2000 Professional. You'll find everything here you need to set up the new Windows smartly and successfully. Everything from the Pre-install Checklist, to Step-by-step Setup Instructions, to prudent Post-install Tweaks. Follow this guide from beginning to and you'll master the process of setting up Win2000 - and save yourself a lot of potential frustration to boot.

Multiply Your Efforts

For the most part, this guide focuses on the "one person/one PC" Win2000 Pro installation. In that setting, the setup tools Microsoft gave us are the best way to go. But if you're faced with the prospect of installing Win2000 to five or more workstations, you can add to what this guide delivers by using an automated deployment solution like Symantec's Ghost or Innovative Software's ImageCast IC3. Either one can push clones of a single system setup across your network to multiple PCS. IT managers and system administrators should also check out Microsoft TechNet's Windows 2000 ? Deploy site, which offers many useful solutions for installing Win2000 both remotely and locally.

Ready to get started? If you're primarily a Win98 user, your next stop should be the Windows 98 Orientation page. NT users can skip to the Windows NT Orientation. (top)

Windows 98 Issues: Upgrades

Unlike Windows NT 4.0, Win2000 is designed to upgrade a PC running Windows 98 or 95. Based on our experiences with such upgrades, though, you'll get far cleaner, faster, and more dependable results if you avoid upgrading an existing Windows 9X setup and simply start clean.

There are only two circumstances where upgrading Windows 9X is acceptable:

1. When you have a great many installed applications that you can't easily reinstall

2. When you have many user accounts or settings that cannot be readily migrated

Still, the best thing is to employ everything in your power not to upgrade an existing installation. We've had far too many bad upgrade experiences with Windows 98 (and Windows 95) machines that were irretrievably trashed as a result of the upgrade. (Besides, it's always best to avoid operating system upgrades where possible.) If you're determined to upgrade instead of clean install, please do the smart thing and back up everything before proceeding, both data and system files. Don't kid yourself into thinking you're exempt from disaster.

The best possible way to install Win2000 on a Windows 9X system is to create a parallel install. This means placing Win2000 and Windows 9X in separate directories or separate drive partitions. This isn't hard to do and is spelled out later in the installation instructions: all you need to do is specify a different directory than the existing one for Windows. But be advised, you must have at least 850 MB of free space on the target drive to do this. To be on the safe side, we recommend at least 1 GB free. (See our resources section in the Pre-install Checklist for the lowdown on system requirements.)

For best results with parallel installs, use another drive. One reason for this is that Windows places components in the Program Files folder of the system drive that may not be cross-compatible with other Windows versions. If you have Win9X on C: and space on D:, install Win2000 on D:. This way you'll have two discrete Program Files directories, one on C: for Win9X and one on D: for Win2000. No possible confusion there. Trust us in this: putting Windows versions in their own partitions is the most reliable way to work with a multiple-boot environment.(top)

Windows 98 Issues: File systems

If you're installing Win2000 on a Windows 9X system, you need to think about the file-system issue - even if you're upgrading Win9X. Win2000 works transparently with FAT (also known as FAT16) and FAT32, which makes it possible for Win2000 to coexist on the same drive as a Win9X installation, without any major problems.

Even so, no version of FAT should be left on the system if you want take advantage of NTFS security features, and any Win2000 installation on a FAT or FAT32 partition will be far more vulnerable to casual attacks (all someone has to do is put in a Windows boot floppy to get into the system!) than if the system were on NTFS drives.

On the other hand, if you're looking for the best mix of interoperability and security, use FAT32 as a happy medium between each OS. You can use a FAT32 drive as a data repository while you upgrade your OS and application drive(s), then convert the FAT32 drive to NTFS using the Win2000 command line command:

CONVERT {drive letter}: /FS:NTFS

Down the road though, think about moving any data you need to migrate between OS's completely offline - say, to a local-network shared drive or a backup volume - then convert all drives to NTFS and restore your data back onto your local system.(top)

Windows NT 4.0 Issues: Upgrades

Upgrading an NT 4.0 system to Win2000 has in our experience gone far more smoothly and with fewer complications than any Win98?to?2000 upgrade. This is probably due to the close brotherhood under the skin between the two operating systems: they have a lot in common.

Despite this, it's best not to chance anything. Stick with doing a good, thorough set of backups before you upgrade. This includes everything - your OS and applications directories as well as your critical data. We've seen situations where an attempt to rollback a Win2000 upgrade resulted in a partly broken system because Internet Explorer 5.0 (which isn't stored in the /WINNT directories) wasn't also restored.

Remember, your best operating system installation is always a clean installation, where no previous operating system was upgraded.(top)

Windows NT 4.0 Issues: File systems

If you're mixing Win2000 and NT 4.0 on one PC - installing them in parallel directories or separate drives -- bear something in mind with regard to NTFS. Win2000 automatically makes certain changes to all pre-existing NTFS volumes during setup because it upgrades them to NTFS v.5. While it doesn't make those volumes inaccessible to NT 4.0, the conversion does make it impossible for you to run CHKDSK on those volumes from NT 4.0. You'll need to boot Win2000 in order to do any error checks in such a system. The bigger issue, though, is that, should you ever decide to remove Win2000 from your system in favor of NT 4.0, you won't be able to run CHKDSK at all. If you're just testing the waters with Win2000 on an NTFS NT 4.0 PC, all we can say is be aware of this before you dive in.

Also bear in mind that Win2000 will upgrade the NT Boot Loader to a 5.0 revision. That alone doesn't create problems, but some people notice it and are worried about it. It is, however, completely backwards-compatible.(top)

The Pre-Install Checklist

The first step in setting up Win2000 is to make sure you've got everything at hand you need to do it right. You wouldn't cook a meal without the right ingredients, and you definitely don't want to install an operating system without the proper preparation, facts, files, and resources. Here's everything you need:

Which version of Win2000? Win2000 comes in a few different flavors. Windows 2000 Professional
retails for around $300 (Win9X upgrades are $219 and NT upgrades are $149; see also Microsoft's details on Win2000 pricing). The Pro version is designed for desktop Windows users, and equates to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation or Windows 98. Windows 2000 Server (with 10 Client Access Licenses) goes for about $900, and it corresponds to Windows NT Server. There's also an Advanced Server version of Win2000 not covered in this guide. Browse over to Microsoft's site on pricing  for more detailed info.

Win2000 Server is really only needed if you're running a bona-fide server, and have the inclination and expertise to deal with it. If you're using desktop-type applications, you'll do fine with Professional. Don't get what you don't need. Actually, Win2000 Pro includes a stripped-down, 10?connection version of Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0, which is useful for prototyping Web sites or learning ASP. If you don't want to install Win2000 Server to play with this stuff, you don't have to.

Consult some excellent Win2000 resources. Before you actually get going with Setup, be sure to visit the Web pages Microsoft created to aid you in this endeavor. The company's "Upgrading to Windows 2000" page <> is an excellent starting point, which leads to several other resources including the official system requirements and the Readiness Analyzer. Based on a recommendation from Microsoft, you might also check out the independent "Hardware Update" Web service, which among other things helps you determine whether your PC already has a Win2000-compatible BIOS or needs a BIOS update. 

Another solid Windows 2000 resource is's "Say Hello to Windows 2000" special report and final review. Among many other useful details you'll find in this guide is their "Real-World Win2000 System Requirements." Check this out before installing. (top)

Drivers for Disk Controllers, especially RAID arrays

This is probably the first and most important thing you need to have handy, since you can't even get through the first stage of the installation without access to mass storage devices. Since Win2000 has an up-to-the-minute driver set on its release CD, chances are you won't need to dig up a driver for the average desktop PC, but as time goes on and newer hardware gets released, the chances increase that your controller(s) won't find a compatible driver on the Win2000 CD.

If you do use a vendor-provided driver, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for creating a Win2000 boot-time installation diskette for it, since you'll most likely need to supply the drivers in the initial stages of booting. These drivers are generally loaded during the search for disk controllers, outlined below, and are also usually loaded a second time when the file-copying process begins. The installation program will prompt you for a vendor-provided driver disk at the right times. Make sure you have it handy before you start the install.

RAID arrays get special treatment during setup, and you'll need to bone up on that in advance at your hardware maker's site. Also, check out the setup process related to RAID arrays for a bit more detail. (top)

Drivers and Firmware for All Other Needed Hardware

Although Win2000 has a remarkably large library of hardware driver files on its installation CD, it's far from complete. Many manufacturers plan to release Win2000 drivers for their hardware later on. Do the research and find out if a vendor has provided third-party drivers for your hardware. If they have, save yourself the trouble of scrambling around later and get them before you start the installation. The same goes for hardware released after the Win2000 CD went to manufacturing in late December 1999.

This is especially important for system-critical drivers like network cards, disk controllers, and video adapters. That way you'll be able to add them then and there, without having to get a network connection running, which will be a real relief if you have trouble getting networking to function correctly.

Firmware is also important and frequently underrated. Many manufacturers offer revised flash BIOS and firmware upgrades that fix bugs and possible post-Y2K problems, and add enhanced features. This includes motherboards: many motherboards need to get the most recent flash to work properly with Win2000, especially for things like power management. Flash your machine's BIOS before entering setup, and make sure it works with your existing OS (if there is one) before starting. Please take a very detailed look at Microsoft's Important Upgrade Issues Web-page for more information.

Backup all irreplaceable data. This should go without saying, but we'll say it anyway. If there's anything on the target machine that isn't backed up -- back it up. You'll be very glad you did in the event the installation process heads south. Also, if you can afford the space, backing up your system partition couldn't hurt either. Never turn down a chance to make a backup! (top)

Drivers for Removable Drives

Most removable drives, such as SCSI-based magneto-optical drives or ATAPI-driven removable disks like the Zip-drive, will work fine in Win2000 for basic operations without a native driver. Formatting disks or doing other low-level operations, however, will often require a manufacturer-written driver, so be sure to track those down and keep them handy for when you've finished the initial stages of the install. This also goes for magneto-optical drives and any devices that use UDF (Universal Data Format), such as DVD-RAM or DVD-RW drives. (top)

Graphics cards

Win2000's built-in list of graphics card drivers is extremely impressive, but newer, more powerful cards are coming out all the time, and the drivers on the install CD may not be the fastest or most up-to-date.

The NVidia GeForce 256, for instance, isn't supported by the Win2000 release CD. If it's available as you read this, get the latest Microsoft-certified driver (sometimes listed as "WHQL certified") from your vendor. A Microsoft-certified driver has been quality tested to ensure it performs to spec and will not bomb your system. Note that the most recent drivers from a given manufacturer may not be Microsoft-certified, and they may more likely be optimized for a slight performance edge than for reliability. We strongly recommend you go with a certified driver for stability, when one is available. (Note: In the case of the GeForce 256, the NT 4.0 driver works. That's a temporary workaround until a Win2000 driver is made available.) (top)

Special Input Devices

Keyboards, mice, and thumbprint scanners (to name a few) count as input devices, and some will require the right software layer to work properly. Again, if this is extremely recent hardware, chances are you won't find the drivers on the Win2000 install CD; check with the manufacturer. Even so, Win2000's Setup should automatically detect such devices without incident. (top)

Multimedia Controllers

This includes not only sound cards but peripherals like cameras and scanners Win2000 supports the vast majority of Plug-and-Play multimedia devices released before the end of 1999, although there are a few exceptions UMAX's older scanners, for instance, like the PowerLook II, are not supported with native Win2000 drivers. (top)

Modems and Network Interface Cards

Be warned that while some network cards will claim "compatibility" with a certain chipset, they really won't work at their best without a vendor driver. Intel's controllers (especially their OEM models for Compaq's computers) are notorious for behaving like this. The good news is, the Win2000 driver for Intel network cards is far better behaved than the NT 4.0 driver.

In some cases you'll find important device configuration utilities are available only from the manufacturer's Web site. They don't ship with the Win2000 driver. Never try to set up a network device without checking this first -- you may wind up wasting time and energy getting it running without knowing exactly what you need to do. (top)

Printers and Output Devices

Vendor drivers for printers often have substantially more functionality than the drivers that ship with Win2000. This is especially the case with PostScript-enabled printers, where the vendor driver may support added features, like watermarking, while the Microsoft driver does not. (top)

Installation Methods

There are two main ways to begin Windows 2000's installer, the graphical setup and the Floppy or CD-boot method. One of the two will be just right for you. Read this section to find out what your options are, and to make that determination.

Install Method 1: Graphical. If you're running another version of Windows with the AutoRun feature enabled, you can just insert the CD-ROM and receive a pop-up installation menu. (If AutoRun isn't enabled, you can open the CD in My Computer and double?click the SETUP.EXE file to start the graphical installation.) Many people mistakenly believe it's only possible to start an upgrade installation in this fashion; actually you can clean install a multiple-boot installation in this manner, too.

Graphical setup, also known as GUI mode installation, is both a little easier and a little trickier than the "from scratch" NT?like Floppy or installation (which we'll explore in a minute). Here's the key thing you need to know about Graphical Setup: it's best suited in two specific installation situations. The first is an upgrade installation, wherein you convert an existing Windows 9X or Windows NT installation to Windows 2000. We've already suggested you avoid upgrades, if possible. Still, GUI mode is the easiest way to accomplish an upgrade installation if you're not going to take our advice. It's also the fastest way to upgrade an existing RC2 or newer installation of Win2000.

The second installation situation is a multiple-boot configuration, where Windows 2000 installs into a different directory or partition and leaves your existing version of Windows intact. Win2000 can set up dual-booting with either Win9X or NT 4.0. It can even configure a three-way multiple boot
with both earlier versions of Windows, if they're already installed on your PC, using NT 4.0's dual-boot configuration. And Win2000 does this automatically as part of its setup process. Each time you start the PC, you'll be given the choice of which version of Windows you want to boot. For more on managing multiple-boot functions, see About Multiple Boot.

If you don't want a multiple-boot setup, and you don't want an upgrade install, GUI mode isn't for you. To perform a clean install that leaves only one operating system on your drive, move to the next page, and just bulldoze your disk. Otherwise, skip ahead to the Graphical Setup.

Install Method 2: Floppy or CD-boot. The second method of installing Win2000 -- directly booting to the Win2000 CD or its boot-floppy disks -- will be familiar to anyone who's ever installed NT. To pursue this method, start with our Floppy or CD Setup section. But you might want to read the rest of this page if you're not sure whether your PC can boot to a CD, or you lack the Win2000 floppy disks.

If there's no OS on your hard drive, and your PC can boot from a CD, simply turn on the computer, place the CD in its drive and let it boot. Most computers shipped over the last three years or so have this ability to boot to a CD-ROM. But many of them arrive from the factory with the function turned off. Check your system's BIOS Setup settings (look for "Boot Devices" or "Boot Order") to see if it's something you can turn on, and consult your computer's manual for specific information on how to configure the setting.

If there's no operating system on your hard drive, and your PC can't boot from a CD, use the boot
floppies you should have received with your Win2000 CD. There are four of them. Place the first one in its drive and start or restart the PC. If your copy of Win2000 came without floppies, use the

MAKEBOOT utility as described below:

Creating Win2000 Boot Floppies

1. Fully format four high-density floppy-disks, preferably new ones

2. Go to the \BOOTDISK folder in the Win2000 CD-ROM, where you'll find two .EXE files: MAKEBOOT and MAKEBT32

3. On a Win95/98 PC, run MAKEBOOT; on an NT machine, run MAKEBT32

4. Follow the on-screen prompts to build the four floppies you need to boot the Win2000 installer. Be sure to label your disks in order!

5. When you're done, just place the first floppy in your computer's floppy-drive, and turn on the machine. (Do not try this with an LS-120 "SuperDisk" drive, as MAKEBOOT and MAKEBT32 will not recognize these drives as floppy-drives.)

To pursue the non-graphical method of installing Win2000, please jump to the Floppy or CD Setup page. (top)

Graphical Setup

As mentioned under Installation Methods, to launch the GUI mode installation, you start with a running session of a previous Windows version. Just insert the Win2000 CD in its drive. So long as Windows' AutoRun function is enabled, you'll get a pop-up installation dialog for Win2000. If AutoRun isn't enabled, just open the CD drive icon in My Computer and double-click the SETUP.EXE file to start the graphical installation.

In order to avoid an upgrade installation, the first thing you must do is click "No" to the dialog that asks "Would you like to upgrade to Windows 2000?" If an upgrade is your goal, click "Yes" and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you clicked No to the upgrade offer, the graphical setup panel will be revealed. Now click the "Install Windows 2000" button. You'll be asked where you want to upgrade your current Windows installation (this may be grayed out if you've got a non-compatible version), or whether you'd prefer a new installation of Win2000. Select the second choice to install a clean multiple-boot version of Windows 2000. If you're installing into the same drive partition as your current version of Windows, be sure select a different directory into which to copy the Win2000 files. (We recommend naming it \WIN2000, as that's generally not already in existence.) Click Next to advance to the next step.

After the licensing agreement and the product key, graphical setup displays three sets of options. The Language Options button lets you choose which languages Win2000 should support; most people should leave this alone. The Accessibility Options let you turn on the Narrator or Magnifier features

during Setup if you need them. The Advanced Options button is the most important, and offers controls for the following options:

Location of Win2000 files. This designates from where Windows 2000 will copy its setup files -- most probably your CD. Unless there's a specific reason to make a change, leave this setting alone.

Windows installation folder. This option is where you select (or create) the directory into which Win2000 will be installed, such as D:\Windows or C:\Win2000. Do not select the directory for your current version of Windows, which might be C:\Windows or C:\WinNT.

Copy all setup files from the Setup CD to the hard-drive. This setting places a copy of the setup files on your hard drive, and probably should not be checked unless for whatever reason you will not have CD-ROM access (or network access if you're installing over a network) during setup.

Choose the installation partition during setup. This is the most important option of them all, and it's part of what makes the GUI mode installation a little tricky. Unless you're performing an upgrade, you should always check this option. (The choice will be given to you after Setup reboots.) By default, Win2000 installs on the same drive as your existing Windows installation, which may not work for you in all cases. Although there's a healthy debate surrounding this point, we generally recommend installing Windows versions to separate partitions whenever that's possible.

Once you've finished and press OK, the machine will reboot. If you copied over files from the CD-ROM to the hard drive, be sure to remove the CD-ROM to keep the system from booting it accidentally. 

We've come to the point at which the "Floppy or CD-boot" and "Graphical Setup" methods rejoin. So, please skip ahead to Setup Step-by-Step. (top)

Floppy or CD Setup

You're here because you've consulted Installation Methods and chosen to start setup by booting directly to the CD or to Win2000 setup floppies. This process begins very differently from the Graphical Setup. In fact, it's more like an updated version of the NT 4.0 install process. It's also the more traditional approach for installing most operating systems. And it's easy to do. Just insert the CD or first Win2000 floppy disk and start or restart your PC.

If you're using floppies, you may be instructed to switch disks by the system at any point during this setup, so stick around and have all the disks handy.

Once you boot the system, the first thing you should see is the prompt "Setup is inspecting your computer's hardware configuration." This part should take a few moments, so be patient. (top)

The Blue Screen of Death

The infamous "Blue Screen of Death" -- or BSOD, as it's commonly referred to -- error code usually blames the "INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE." This happens if the hard-drive or drives in your system are using a controller driver that isn't present on the boot floppies or the CD?ROM. To get around this, first determine the exact make and model of the disk-controller being used to boot your system. This often happens with some less-common breeds of SCSI controller or RAID adapter, but it can also happen with "generic" ATAPI controllers.

If you believe it's just the generic ATAPI two-channel disk-controller that comes bundled with most PCS, you could be wrong: many of those aren't generic at all, but require special manufacturer-written drivers. Several of the Compaq systems in our labs, for instance, do this. Check the Web support site for your make and model of PC or motherboard, and find appropriate Win2000 drivers for the controller in your system. If there aren't any, you may want to see if a Windows NT 4.0 driver will work, but it may not always work.

Another reason for the INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE error is tied to booting from the CD-ROM. Some systems that fail this way work fine if you boot from floppies. Yet another argument for building and keeping a set of Win2000 boot disks. (top)

Setup Step-by-Step

No matter what came before, everyone gets to this point -- and it's the heart of things. Although the graphical and floppy or CD-based installations come together now with setup restarting your soon-to-be Win2000 PC, there are some minor variations depending on which path you followed, and options you may have chosen earlier. So we may describe some steps you've already seen, or that you won't see.

When the first stages of the boot succeed, the screen turns blue with the legend "Windows 2000 Setup" displayed at the top, and the message "Press F6 if you need to install a third-party SCSI or RAID driver" shown at the bottom. If you're running a server with a RAID array, you must push F6 at this point and supply the diskette with the appropriate driver for your RAID controller (the on-screen instructions will tell you what to do). Keep that disk handy, too, as you'll need it later on when Win2000 copies files to your hard-drive.

Setup now copies a few files required to begin installation, including device drivers that may be needed in the initial stages, as well as the Win2000 kernel itself. When the kernel boots, the screen will flicker and you'll see (after another short delay) setup's Welcome screen. To start the Setup, hit Enter.

The first stage of setup, which is conducted entirely in the blue-screened text mode, involves making some basic decisions about your system setup, and copying over the files needed to run Win2000.

If you're installing Win2000 on a system with a blank hard-drive or with an incompatible file system, you'll get a warning about this, and will be asked to press "C" to continue setup. (If you continue, all contents of your hard-drive will be erased.)

The next step (for non-GUI installations) is the licensing agreement. If you aren't familiar with it yet, do yourself a favor and take the time to read it. It's a good idea to know what the fine print says. When you're done, hit F8 to continue. (top)

Drives and Partitions

Setup's next step is to poll the available drives on your system and look for volumes where Win2000 can be installed. If you read the list of available disks and don't see a drive you know to be there -- or you get an error message that no drives can be found -- then chances are you don't have a needed disk-controller correctly installed. This happens more frequently with RAID controllers that aren't specified at the start of booting.

It's decision time. Look at the list of available drives and select the volume, or partition, where you want Win2000's files to reside. If you haven't determined yet where it should be installed, you can
always quit the installation, and read through the first several pages of this guide to help form your decision. This isn't a good time to hazard an impulsive guess. Once you've figured it out, restart the setup process.

You can select an empty partition or one that already has data on it. If you choose an existing FAT16 or FAT32 partition, you'll be asked whether you want to convert that partition to NTFS. If you don't want to make any changes to the partition type, just select "No changes." In fact, when in doubt, do not convert to NTFS. You can always upgrade a FAT16 or FAT32 partition to NTFS later (using the CONVERT command). You have an especially good reason to leave it alone if you're creating a multiple-boot environment, or if you're just testing Windows 2000, possibly temporarily. The only time you should convert to NTFS is if you're running a clean install on a machine that will have only Windows 2000 on it, and you have no intention of switching Windows versions any time soon. (top)

File System Considerations

If you press C to create a partition in an empty space, you have the option to choose how big a partition you want to create and what file system to use, including FAT16, FAT32, or NTFS. Bear in mind that if nothing else stands in the way of installing NTFS, it's a better file system than any of the FAT file systems. (The version of NTFS that comes with Windows 2000 is a slight upgrade over the NT 4.0 version.) Unlike NT 4.0, Win2000 recognizes FAT32 drives. For flexibility sake, FAT32 is probably your better choice in a multiple Windows environment, so long as your existing Windows supports it. Pre-Windows 95B and all previous versions of NT do not support FAT32. If any of those operating systems is present on your system, install Win2000 to a FAT16 or FAT32 partition. To prevent possible compatibility problems, we recommend that a system partition should not be larger than 2 GB, at least at first, no matter what file system you're using. That helps you avoid compatibility problems with older versions of Windows, and also to avoid limitations of older computers.

When installing Win2000 on a system with one hard-drive, you should allocate a separate partition at the front of the drive for spare files, booting, and for swap space. The size of the partition should be your installed RAM size plus another 32 MB.

If you create multiple partitions on a boot-drive, Windows will always install its boot-loader information in the first partition. For instance, if you create a 100 MB C-drive for swap space and a D-drive of 1.5 GB for your main Win2000 files, the boot loader will be installed on C:. There's no way to change this during installation, but it can be edited later.

If you choose an empty partition, setup will format the partition in question for you, and also run integrity tests on the listed drive. When that's completed (which can take a bit of time on larger drives), setup copies the rest of the files to your hard-drive and reboots again. The file copying may
take anywhere from two to 20 minutes depending on the performance of your PC's CD and hard drives.

Once that's done, follow the setup on-screen directions for rebooting

Setup's next step is to provide a list of possible optional components to install. Win9X users in particular, take heed. There's very little if anything most desktop PC users should change from the default installation settings on this dialog -- unlike Win98 and Win95. When in doubt, leave each of the dialog's options, which are detailed on this page, as you find them.

Accessories and Utilities. (Checked by default.) Applets and programs, such as the Calculator or the Character Map, that offer additional conveniences to Win2000.

Certificate Services. (Available only on Server.) A certification authority that lets you issue certificates for public-key security apps, such as SSL in IIS.

Indexing Service. Background indexing service that builds an index of common text file formats for fast context searches across your system.

Internet Information Services. Also known as IIS, this is Microsoft's Web server.

Management and Monitoring Tools. Tools for monitoring and improving network performance.

Message Queuing Services. Services that help you create distributed applications.

Networking Services. Additional network components that aren't installed by default.

Other Network File and Print Services. File and print services that support interoperation with non-Microsoft standards.

Remote Installation Services. Remotely installs Win2000 on remote-boot enabled computers.

Remote Storage. Archives files to magnetic tape.

Script Debugger. Identifies scripting errors.

Terminal Services / Licensing. (Available only on Server.) Accesses Win2000 Server remotely in a graphical desktop.

Windows Media Services. (Available only on Server.) Installs components for streaming media from a Web server.

Check only the components that apply, or that you're sure you need. They can also be added later. If you're using 2000 Server as a file and print server only, for instance, you can uncheck IIS without flinching.

We're almost done with setup, at last. The next step is adjusting date and time. Be sure to use the correct time-zone for your computer, or you'll get bizarre results with scheduling applications and anything else that's time-dependent.

Network settings are next. Setup gives you two basic options. The first is Typical, which installs the most commonly-used configuration for networking: TCP/IP, Microsoft Networks client, and File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks. The second option, Custom, lets you add and configure network protocols and services. If you're in a Windows networking environment with NT or Win2000 servers, Typical will probably work fine; that choice delivers you straight to the Workgroup/Domain selection page. If you're in a Novell NetWare environment, for example, Custom could be a better choice. In a business setting, you may need information provided by your network administrator.

Right after you choose network settings, setup gives you the choice between registering your computer with a specific workgroup or a Win2000/NT domain. Select the top choice on the page ("No, I am not part of a domain") if you want to register with a workgroup, and the bottom choice ("Yes") if you want to register with a domain (if available). No matter whether you choose "Yes" or "No," you must type either a workgroup name or a domain name in the field at the bottom -- otherwise your PC will not have LAN access.

The last part of the setup process is non-interactive and consists of copying the required components and configuring the operating system. This part can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of options you're installing and your system's performance.

Once that's done, reboot. Congratulations! You've now got yourself a basic Win2000 system, and it's time to move on to the post-install configuration steps. (top)

Post-Install Tweaks

Once you've rebooted your newly-installed copy of Win2000 and admired the soothing cerulean color scheme, it's time to bring the operating system's components up to date. This means adding service packs, defragging the system, and updating any "placeholder" device drivers that have been installed by the system, such as the video driver. (top)

Configuring Drivers

The Win2000 CD comes with a fairly large library of drivers, but it doesn't contain everything, and it certainly doesn't contain the most recent versions of everything. One of the first things you need to do once Win2000 is up and running is to get the most recent editions of critical drivers, if you didn't do so in preparation for the installation.

Video drivers are typically not up-to-date with the first boot of Windows 2000, and are sometimes a little thorny in the early going. Some manufacturers have an automatic setup program that does all the work for you, while others expect you to do the installation "by hand." Matrox, for instance, has an excellent setup program that also installs useful display-configuration System Tray utilities. They add the ability to switch resolutions and color depths on the fly, and more. Hit up the your card manufacturer's Web site and find out exactly what you need to do to get your video driver and ancillary software fully installed. It'll help you get the most out of your Windows 2000 system.

In many cases, manufacturer instructions will direct you to update the video driver through the Settings tab in the Display properties box (which you can access by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Properties). If you choose Display Type, then Change, you'll get a list of available drivers for video card makes and models. And clicking Have Disk lets you install a driver from a floppy disk.

Also note that some cards, like those that use the NVidia GeForce 256 chip, don't have Win2000 drivers just yet, but do have Windows NT 4.0 drivers that may at least work. Do not use a Windows NT 4.0 graphics driver unless you have no other choice. It would also be smart to make a separate Hardware Profile to do this and boot up the system in it. That way, if your new driver doesn't work or turns out to be criminally unstable, you can always boot back into the original profile with no harm done. In fact, making a new Hardware Profile is a good rule of thumb prior to installing any device or driver you're not sure of. (top)

Disk Defragmentation

Fragmentation of the file system is one of the most common problems with any computer, especially after a file system change, an operating system installation, or both. Win2000 isn't immune to a reduction of performance from a highly fragmented disk either. Once you're finished installing Win2000, even on a perfectly clean system, you're going to have a fragmented file system, and you need to defrag.

There are two ways to do this: The first is to use the defrag utility included in Win2000, and the second is to get a third-party defragmenter for Windows 2000.

The built-in defragmenter is actually derived from the source code of an excellent third-party defrag program, Executive Software's DisKeeper. Since Win2000 features kernel-level hooks for defragging file systems, that made it all the easier for the product to be written. (NT required the defrag program to replace the kernel, which is never a good idea.) To fire up any disk defragmenter, right-click the drive you want to defragment, select Properties, Tools, then click the Defragment Now button. If you've installed a third-party defragger, it'll run in lieu of the built-in one.

Why install another disk defragger- Third-party defragmenters have advanced features the built-in defragger lacks. For instance, Raxco's PerfectDisk 2000 reorganizes the placement of files on a partition based on their usage. Among other things, Executive Software's DisKeeper 5.0 defragments paging files. (Both programs are worth looking into; check their Web sites for more production information.)

Just in case you haven't heard this before: Defragging after installation isn't a one-time thing. If your system gets a lot of use -- especially if you're working with a lot of large files, such as multimedia formats, defragging regularly will help speed things up considerably. (top)

Service Packs and Post-install Patches

As this is written, it isn't clear whether Microsoft will rely more on Windows Update to distribute Win2000 patches, as it has done for the most part with Windows 98, or whether it will issue regular collections of patches, or service packs, as it has done with Windows NT. This section covers both types of system updates.

A service pack is a collection of files that upgrade components in Windows. Service Packs are usually released to address security issues, fix bugs, provide new functions, and enhance performance ?- or all of the above. There have been six NT Service Packs to date. And even before Win2000 was officially released, Microsoft had issued a minor Win2000 patch to address security problems with the Indexing Service. Anyone running Win2000 Server should learn about, download, and install that rather important security patch immediately after installing Windows 2000 <>.

Service packs incorporate all the fixes from all previous service packs, making each a little bit larger than the last. You should always apply service packs as late as possible in your system setup. They should be re-applied after any major software upgrade (like installing Office or Explorer, or even Netscape) or after any changes to system components like device drivers or network configuration.

You have several options for getting Service Packs. It's a safe bet that you'll be able to order any service packs as they become available directly from Microsoft on CD, or, if you have a fast enough network connection, download them directly from Microsoft.

Service packs are available in two different editions: standard and high-encryption. The high-encryption service pack is only for distribution in the USA (although this may change at some point for new service packs), while the standard version can be downloaded worldwide. Pick an encryption level and stick with it. In other words, if you patch with high-encryption, make sure all subsequent patches are also high-encryption, when there's a choice between the two. Don't mix and match.

One way to get interim patches and updates for Win2000 is through Windows Update. Originally developed to help keep Windows 98 up to snuff with new components, this Web-based service has been significantly expanded to support Win2000. A word to the wise: Just because there's a patch available in Windows Update doesn't mean you should install it. Other than major service packs, unless you have a specific reason to install a patch, hang back and let others jump in first to test the waters. An icon installed on the Start Menu takes you there, but this link works just as well: <>. Note: You won't see the Windows 2000 Windows Update site unless you have Win2000 installed.

Most Windows Update patches download and install automatically. Hopefully, though, you'll be able to download Win2000 service packs and install them separately. The actual process of installing a service pack isn't difficult. Once it's downloaded, close all running applications and double-click the service pack's icon. It's a self-extracting archive that sets up in a couple of moments. (top)

About Multiple Boot

A lot of us have much larger hard-drives these days. That gives us the opportunity to take advantage of one of Win2000's lesser-known features -- its ability to automatically setup and manage a multiple Windows-version environment. A simple dual-boot scenario, where you have kept Win9X or NT while adding a Win2000 installation, is a great way to get started with Win2000. Setting this up is easy too: just follow the Graphical Setup steps and it will happen automatically.

Windows 2000 can go further down this road, too. If you use Windows NT 4.0's dual-boot with Win9X features, Windows 2000's graphical setup can configure a three-way multiple-boot configuration. Again, it happens automatically. You can even start the process with Win9X running, if you want. We recommend you install each Windows version into its own physical or logical disk-drive (or partition). (top)

Managing Multiple Boot

Once multiple-boot is configured, you manage it with a simple set of controls. Each time you start your PC, you make a menu selection that specifies the version of Windows you want to run. As one of your Windows versions is the default setting, if after a certain amount of time you don't make a selection, the default Windows loads automatically. The two settings you get are (you guessed it) which Windows version is the default, and the number of seconds before the boot menu times out and loads your default. 

You'll find both settings on the same dialog (a little bit more deeply buried than they were in NT). To find them, right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Then click the Advanced tab, and the "Startup and Recovery" button. Make your selections from the Default Operating System drop-down, and the "Display the list of operating systems for X seconds" box, which shows 30 seconds by default. We usually choose 10 or 15 seconds to shorten boot times; you're either watching for the boot menu or you aren't. 

If you wind up choosing any Windows other than Win2000 to be your default, changing the default Windows later on takes a bit more effort. You'll have to be vigilant while your system boots and then select the Windows 2000 option to boot to Win2000. Once there, you make the change on the "Startup and Recovery" dialog. (top)

Removing Win9X Dual Boot

What if you decide to ditch your dual-boot option with an older version of Windows in favor of just having Win2000? Actually, this is easier than you might think. All you need do is edit the BOOT.INI file in the root folder of the bootable partition on your system (usually drive C:). You'll need to remove the Read-only attribute for the file. Do that by right-clicking it in an Explorer window and choosing Properties. When you're done editing the file, turn Read-only back on.

To remove Windows 98 from the boot menu, just remove this line from BOOT.INI:

{boot drive letter}:\="Microsoft Windows"

Once that's accomplished, the system should boot directly to Win2000 without giving you any option to boot Windows 9X.

We hope you've learned a lot from this guide, and that it makes your life with Windows 2000 a whole lot easier! (top)


Copyright © 1997-1999 Computer-Aided Technologies International, Inc.
47-396 Kamehameha Hwy. Kaneohe, HI 96744
Ph: 1-(808)-521-2259 eFax: 1-(209)-882-8437