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Planning Deployments

Published: November 03, 2005

Microsoft Windows XP Professional is designed to meet your organization’s business needs. This chapter helps you determine the best way to deploy the operating system in your organization. Deploying Windows XP Professional requires careful planning. Before you install Windows XP Professional on your desktop computers, you must determine whether you need to upgrade your hardware and applications. Then you must decide which features to install, how much centralized control to maintain over users’ computers, and which installation methods to use.

For information on how to obtain the Windows XP Professional Resource Kit in its entirety, please see http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/6795.asp.

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Related Information
Overview of the Deployment Process
Mapping Windows XP Professional to Your Business Needs
Assessing Your Current Configuration
Planning Your Preferred Client Configuration
Planning Installations
Additional Resources

Related Information

  • For more information about installing Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations,” and Chapter 4, “Supporting Installations.”

Overview of the Deployment Process

The first step in the deployment process is to assess your business needs so that you can define the project scope and objectives. Next, decide how best to use Windows XP Professional to meet those needs. Then, assess your current network and desktop configurations, determine whether you need to upgrade your hardware or software, and choose the tools for your deployment.

Having made these decisions, you are ready to plan your deployment. An effective plan typically includes the following:

  • All the details for customizing Windows XP Professional

  • A schedule for the deployment

  • An assessment of your current configuration (including information about your users, organizational structure, network infrastructure, and hardware and software needs)

  • Test and pilot plans

  • A rollout plan

Create a test environment in which you can deploy Windows XP Professional by using the features and options in your plan. Have your test environment mirror, as closely as possible, your users’ network, including hardware, network architecture, and business applications.

When you are satisfied with the results in your test environment, roll out your deployment to a specific group of users to test the results in a controlled production environment (a pilot).

Finally, roll out Windows XP Professional to your entire organization.

Creating the deployment plan is a cyclic process. As you move through each phase, modify the plan based on your experiences.

Defining Project Scope and Objectives

The scope is the baseline for creating a functional specification for your deployment project. The scope of your deployment project is defined largely by your answers to the following questions:

  • What business needs do you want to address with Windows XP Professional?

  • What are the long-term IT goals for the deployment project?

  • How will your Windows XP Professional client computers interact with your IT infrastructure?

Assessing Your Current Environment

Document your computing environment, looking at your organizational structure and how it supports your users. Use this assessment to determine your readiness for desktop deployment of Windows XP Professional. The three major areas of your computing environment to assess include your hardware, software, and network.

Hardware

Do your desktop and mobile computers meet the minimum hardware requirements for Windows XP Professional? In addition to meeting these requirements, all hardware devices must be compatible with Windows XP Professional.

Software

Are your applications compatible with Windows XP Professional? Make sure that all your applications, including custom-designed software, work with computers running Windows XP Professional.

Note The changes introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) can cause application incompatibilities or require additional application configuration changes as a result of the new default configuration of Windows Firewall. When verifying application compatibility, ensure you verify against at least SP2.

Network

Document your network architecture, including topology, size, and traffic patterns. Also, determine which users need access to various applications and data, and describe how they obtain access.

Where appropriate, create diagrams to include in your project plan.

Testing and Piloting the Deployment Plan

Before rolling out your deployment project, you need to test it for functionality in a controlled environment. Before you begin testing your deployment project, create a test plan that describes the tests you will run, the expected results, a schedule for performing tests, and who will run each test. The test plan must specify the criteria and priority for each test. Prioritizing your tests can help you avoid slowing down your deployment because of minor failures that can be easily corrected later; it can also help you identify larger problems that might require redesigning your deployment plan.

The testing phase is essential because a single error condition can be duplicated to all computers in your environment if it is not corrected before you deploy the image. It is recommended that you roll out the deployment to a small group of users after you test the project. Piloting the installation allows you to assess the success of the deployment project in a production environment before rolling it out to all users.

Create a test lab that is not connected to your network but mirrors, as closely as possible, your organization’s network and hardware configurations. Set up your hardware, software, and network services as they are in your users’ environment.

Perform comprehensive testing on each hardware platform, testing both application installation and operation. This can greatly increase the confidence of the project teams and the business-decision makers, resulting in a higher quality deployment.

To pilot the project, roll out the deployment to a small group of users. The primary purpose of pilot projects is not to test Windows XP Professional. Instead, the aim of your early pilots is to get user feedback for the project team. This feedback is used to further determine the features that you need to enable or disable in Windows XP Professional. This is particularly relevant if you upgrade from Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), which do not include features such as domain-based computer accounts, local security, and file system security. For pilots, you might choose a user population that represents a cross-section of your business in terms of job function and computer proficiency. Install pilot systems by using the same method that you plan to use for the final rollout.

The pilot process provides a small-scale test of the eventual full-scale rollout, so you can use the results of the pilot, including any problems encountered, to finalize your rollout plan. Compile the pilot results and use the data to estimate upgrade times, the number of concurrent upgrades you can sustain, and peak loads on the user support functions.

Rolling Out Your Deployment

After you thoroughly test your deployment plan and pilot the deployment to smaller groups of users, and you are satisfied with the results, begin rolling out Windows XP Professional to the rest of your organization.

To finalize the rollout plan, you need to determine the following:

  • The number of computers to be included in each phase of the rollout

  • The time needed to upgrade or perform a clean installation for each computer to be included

  • The personnel and other resources needed to complete the rollout

  • The time frame during which you plan to roll out the installations to different groups

  • Training needed for users throughout the organization

Throughout the rollout, gather feedback from users and modify the deployment plan as appropriate.

For more information about performing upgrades or clean installations, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Mapping Windows XP Professional to Your Business Needs

Some features are available only if you deploy Windows XP Professional in a domain that uses Active Directory. Other features are available to any computer running Windows XP Professional, using any server. After you identify your business needs, you can map desktop management, security, and networking features in Windows XP Professional to those needs.

Security Features

Windows XP Professional includes features (shown in Table 1-1) to help you secure your network and computers by controlling user authentication and access to resources and by encrypting data stored on computers. Also included are preconfigured Security Templates for various security scenarios.

Table 1-1 Security Features in Windows XP Professional

Feature

Description

Benefit

Security Templates

Four preconfigured combinations of security policy settings that represent different organizational security needs: basic, secure, highly secure, and compatible.

Allow you to implement the appropriate templates without modifications or use them as the base for customized security configurations.

Security groups

User groupings, used to administer security, that are defined by their scope, their purpose, their rights, or their role.

Allow you to control users’ rights on the system. By adding or removing users or resources from the appropriate groups as your organization changes, you can change ACLs less frequently.

Access control lists (ACLs)

Ordered lists of access control entries (ACEs) that collectively define the protections that apply to an object and its properties.

In combination with security groups, configuring ACLs on resources makes user permissions easier to control and audit.

Kerberos

The authentication protocol for computers running Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional in Active Directory domains.

Provides more efficient and secure authentication than NTLM.

NTLM

The default authentication protocol in Microsoft Windows NT version 4.0, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP Professional.

Allows Windows XP Professional computers to establish connections to Windows NT–based networks.

Windows stored user names and passwords

A technology that can supply users with different credentials for different resources.

Can increase security on a per-resource basis by allowing users to store and manage credentials.

Smart card support

An integrated circuit card (ICC) that can store certificates and private keys, and perform public key cryptography operations such as authentication, digital signing, and key exchange.

Provides tamper-resistant storage for private keys and other forms of personal identification. Isolates critical security computations involving authentication, digital signatures, and key exchange. Enables credentials and other private information to be moved among computers.

Encrypting File System

A feature of NTFS that uses symmetric key encryption and public-key technology to protect files.

Allows administrators and users to encrypt data to keep it secure. This is particularly beneficial to mobile users.

Enhanced Browser Security (SP2)

New Pop-Up Blocker, download monitoring, Information Bar, and Add-On Manager.

Enhances default security of Internet Explorer, and provides additional information and prompts before user commits potentially insecure actions.

Windows Security Center (SP2)

A single location to manage
security settings and view their status.

Simplifies setting and managing security.

Windows Firewall (SP2)

Helps protect against viruses, worms, and other security threats that can spread over the Internet.

Enabled by default, Windows Firewall adds protection during startup and shutdown.

Automatic Updates

Helps you automatically stay up-to-date with the latest updates.

Enables users to ensure they have all the latest critical updates automatically downloaded and installed, and has improved support for dial-up connections.

Networking and Communications Features

Computers that run Windows XP Professional can be configured to participate in a variety of network environments, including networks based on Microsoft Windows, Novell NetWare, UNIX, and IBM Host Systems. Windows XP Professional can also be configured to connect directly to the Internet without being part of a network environment. Windows XP Professional includes several features, such as Zero Configuration, that simplify the process of connecting to a network and that allow mobile users to access network resources without physically reconnecting cables each time they move to a new location. Table 1-2 describes several features in Windows XP Professional that provide remote and local access to resources and support for communication solutions.

Table 1-2 Networking Features in Windows XP Professional

Feature

Description

Benefit

TCP/IP

The standard transport protocol in Windows XP Professional.

Provides communication across networks that use diverse hardware architectures and various operating systems, including computers running Windows XP Professional, devices using other Microsoft networking products, and non-Microsoft operating systems such as UNIX.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

A protocol that allows computers and devices on a network to be dynamically assigned IP addresses and other network configuration information.

Eliminates the need to manually configure Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and other IP settings, reducing potential conflicts and administrative overhead caused by static configurations.

Telephony and Conferencing

A service that abstracts the details of the underlying telecommunications network, allowing applications and devices to use a single command set.

Allows data, voice, and video communications to travel over the same IP-based network infrastructure.

Remote access

A connection between the local network and a remote or home office, established by dial-up modem, virtual private network (VPN), X.25, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), or Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP).

Allows users to access the network from home or remote offices or in transit.

Client Service for NetWare

A feature that allows Windows XP Professional clients to transmit Network Core Protocol (NCP) packets to NetWare servers.

Allows Windows XP Professional client computers to connect to NetWare file and print servers.

Secure home networking

Includes Internet Connection Sharing, bridging, personal firewall, and Universal Plug and Play.

Provides easy connectivity for various devices within the home and from a home to a corporate network, along with safe access to the Internet and multiple-user accessibility over a single Internet connection.

Wireless connectivity

Protocols that are supported by Windows XP Professional to provide local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) connectivity, including security mechanisms that can make the wireless connection as secure as a cabled connection.

Provides ease of mobility by allowing users to access network resources and the Internet without using connection cables. Enhanced for SP2, including built-in support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA™).

Zero configuration

A mechanism in which a client computer goes through a list of possible network configurations and chooses the one that applies to the current situation.

Allows the administrator to set up the initial configuration options so that users do not need to know which connection configuration to use. Enhanced for SP2.

Bluetooth

A low-power protocol that enables devices to connect to each other.

Users can easily connect to the latest Bluetooth-enabled hardware devices such as keyboards, cell phones, and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).

Desktop Management Features

Desktop management features allow you to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) in your organization by making it easier to install, configure, and manage clients. These features are also designed as tools to make computers easier to use. Table 1-3 describes desktop management features in Windows XP Professional that increase user productivity.

Table 1-3 Desktop Management Features in Windows XP Professional

Feature

Description

Benefit

Group Policy Administrative Templates

Files that you can use to configure Group Policy settings to govern the behavior of services, applications, and operating system components.

Allows you to configure registry-based policy settings for domains, computers, and users.

Software Installation and Maintenance

An IntelliMirror feature that you can use to assign or publish software to users according to their job needs.

Allows you to centrally manage software installation and to repair installations by using Windows Installer.

Roaming User Profiles

A feature that ensures that the data and settings in a user’s profile are copied to a network server when the user logs off and are available to the user anywhere on the network.

Provides a transparent way to back up the user’s profile to a network server, protecting this information in case the user’s computer fails. This is also useful for users who roam throughout the network.

Folder Redirection

An IntelliMirror feature that you can use to redirect certain folders, such as My Documents, from the user’s desktop to a server.

Provides improved protection for user data by ensuring that local data is also redirected or copied to a network share, providing a central location for administrator-managed backups. Speeds up the logon process when using Roaming User Profiles by preventing large data transfers over the network.

Offline Files and Folders

A feature that you can use to make files that reside on a network share available to a local computer when it is disconnected from the server.

Allows users without constant network access, such as remote and mobile users, to continue working on their files even when they are not connected to the network. Users can also have their file synchronized with the network copy when they reconnect.

Multilingual Options

Multilanguage support in Windows XP Professional lets users edit and print documents in almost any language.

Lets administrators customize desktop computers in their organization with the language and regional support that best meets their users’ needs.

Assessing Your Current Configuration

Your deployment plan must include an assessment of your current infrastructure. The answers to the following questions can help you determine what you must do to prepare the computers in your organization for Windows XP Professional:

  • Are the computers and other devices in your network compatible with Windows XP Professional?

  • What applications does your organization use? Are they compatible with Windows XP Professional, or do you need to upgrade to newer versions of the software before upgrading users’ computers?

  • Are all of your users connecting locally, or do some of them use remote access to connect to your network?

To determine whether your computers and peripheral devices are compatible with Windows XP Professional, see the Hardware section of Windows Catalog at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog. For more information about application compatibility, see the Software section of Windows Catalog.

Note The Windows Catalog at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog/ is replacing the older Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) but you can still access text-only versions of the HCL for different Windows versions from Windows Hardware and Driver Central at http://winqual.microsoft.com/download/Default.asp.

Before you can upgrade your users to Windows XP Professional, you must upgrade other software and your hardware as needed. Be sure to upgrade devices, remote access services, and your organization’s applications first.

Hardware Requirements and Compatibility

Make sure that your hardware is compatible with Windows XP Professional, and that all the computers on which you plan to install the operating system are capable of supporting the installation. Table 1-4 shows the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for installing Windows XP Professional.

Table 1-4 Windows XP Professional Hardware Requirements

Minimum Requirements

Recommended Requirements

Intel Pentium (or compatible) 233-megahertz (MHz) or higher processor

Intel Pentium II (or compatible) 300-MHz or higher processor

64 megabytes (MB) of RAM

128 MB (4 GB maximum) of RAM

2-gigabyte (GB) hard disk with 650 MB of free disk space (additional disk space required if installing over a network)

2 GB of free disk space

Video graphics adapter (VGA) or higher display adapter

Super VGA (SVGA) display adapter and Plug and Play monitor

Keyboard, mouse, or other pointing device

Keyboard, mouse, or other pointing device

Compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) or digital video disc read-only memory (DVD-ROM) drive (required for CD installations)

CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive (12x or faster)

Network adapter (required for network installation)

Network adapter (required for network installation)

For more information about the hardware requirements for installing Windows XP Professional, see the Windows XP home page at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp on the Microsoft Web site.

Note Windows XP Professional supports single and dual central processing unit (CPU) systems.

Checking the BIOS

Before upgrading to Windows XP Professional, check that the computer’s BIOS is the latest available version and that it is compatible with Windows XP Professional. You can obtain an updated BIOS from the manufacturer.

If the computer does not have Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) functionality, you might need to update the BIOS. To get ACPI functionality after Windows XP Professional is installed, you are required to do an in-place upgrade of your current installation.

Warning Microsoft does not provide technical support for BIOS upgrades. Contact the manufacturer for BIOS upgrade instructions.

Windows Catalog

The Hardware section of Windows Catalog (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog) is a list of hardware products recommended for use with Windows XP. Hardware products that are marked Designed for Windows XP comply with the Designed for Windows XP Logo Program requirements and were specifically designed to take advantage of the new features of Windows XP. Hardware marked Compatible with Windows XP are considered by Microsoft or the manufacturer to work with Windows XP but do not necessarily take full advantage of the platform’s new features. Installing Windows XP Professional on a computer that has hardware that is not listed on Windows Catalog might cause the installation to fail, or it might cause problems after installation. For more information on the Designed for Windows XP Logo Program, see http://www.microsoft.com/winlogo.

Warning A device that is not listed on Windows Catalog might function but not be supported by Windows XP Professional. For devices that do not function when the computer is running Windows XP Professional, contact the device manufacturer for a Windows XP Professional–compatible driver. If you have a program that uses 16-bit drivers, you need to install 32-bit Windows XP Professional–compatible drivers from the device manufacturer to ensure functionality with Windows XP Professional.

Hardware Compatibility with Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 95, and Windows 3.x

Many updated drivers ship with the Microsoft Windows XP Professional operating system CD. However, when critical device drivers, such as hard-drive controllers, are not compatible with Windows XP Professional or cannot be found, Setup might halt the upgrade until updated drivers are obtained.

Note You cannot upgrade from Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 3.x to Windows XP Professional. If you are migrating from either of these operating systems, you must do a clean installation of the operating system, and then install device drivers that are compatible with Windows XP Professional.

The 16-bit device drivers for Windows Me, Windows 98, Windows 95, and Windows 3.x were based on the virtual device driver (VxD) model. The VxD model is not supported in Windows XP Professional.

An upgrade does not migrate drivers from Windows Me or Windows 98 to Windows XP Professional. If the driver for a particular device does not exist in Windows XP Professional, you might need to download an updated driver from the device manufacturer.

Hardware Compatibility with Windows NT Workstation 4.0

Some hardware devices that are supported by Microsoft Windows NT Workstation version 4.0 also work on Windows XP Professional; however, it is best to run Setup in Check Upgrade Only mode to check for driver compatibility issues before upgrading the operating system. Windows XP Professional does not support drivers, including third-party drivers, that worked on Windows NT Workstation 4.0. You need to obtain an updated driver for Windows XP Professional from the device manufacturer.

Typically, you can address issues concerning deployment or upgrade of Windows NT Workstation 4.0 during the test phase of deployment.

Note To access an NTFS volume that has been upgraded for Microsoft Windows XP, you need to be running Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 or later.

Application Compatibility

Because there are new technologies in Windows XP Professional, you need to test your business applications for compatibility with the new operating system. Even if you currently use Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 Professional, you need to test applications to make sure that they work as well on Windows XP Professional as they do in your existing environment. Also, enhancements included in Windows XP Professional, such as improved security features, might not be supported by some applications.

Identify all applications that your organization currently uses, including custom software. As you identify applications, prioritize them and note which ones are required for each business unit in your organization. Remember to include operational and administrative tools, including antivirus, compression, backup, and remote-control programs.

The Software section of Windows Catalog (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/catalog) is a list of software products recommended for use with Windows XP. Software products that are marked Designed for Windows XP comply with the Designed for Windows XP Logo Program requirements and were specifically designed to take advantage of the new features of Windows XP. Software marked Compatible with Windows XP are considered by Microsoft or the manufacturer to work with XP but do not necessarily take full advantage of the platform’s new features. For more information on the Designed for Windows XP Logo Program see http://www.microsoft.com/winlogo.

Application Compatibility—Migrating from Windows Me or Windows 98

System tools in Windows 98, such as ScanDisk and DriveSpace, cannot be upgraded to Windows XP Professional. Also, client software for other networks cannot be upgraded to Windows XP Professional, so you must acquire new versions of these clients to complete the upgrade.

Note Novell has included an upgrade for their Client32 on the Windows XP Professional operating system CD. The upgrade detects and automatically upgrades a previous version of Client32 during the upgrade to Windows XP Professional. For the latest Client32 upgrade, contact Novell.

Some applications written for Windows 98 or Windows Me might not run properly on Windows XP Professional without modification. For example, applications might do any of the following:

  • Maintain registry data in different locations. Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me store this data in different locations than Windows XP Professional or Windows NT 4.0 and earlier.

  • Make calls to Windows 95–, Windows 98–, or Windows Me–specific application programming interfaces.

  • Install different files when installed on Windows XP Professional than when installed on Windows 98 or Windows Me.

There are four ways to address problems with applications that do not run properly on Windows XP Professional:

  • Reinstall the applications after the upgrade if the applications are compatible with Windows XP Professional.

  • Create a new Windows XP Professional–based standard configuration with compatible versions of the applications.

  • Use migration dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) for each application that is not migrated during the upgrade.

  • Run the application in Compatibility mode by right-clicking the application, selecting Properties, and then clicking the Compatibility tab.

For more information about the Compatibility mode tool, see Chapter 17, “Managing Authorization and Access Control.”

Software vendors and corporate developers can use migration DLLs that move registry subkeys and entries, install new versions of files, or move files within the file system. These migration DLLs are used by Windows XP Professional Setup to resolve incompatibilities. Setup calls these DLLs to update the application installation. For more information about migration DLLs, see the Software Development Kit (SDK) information in the MSDN library link on the Web Resources page at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.

Application Compatibility—Migrating from Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or Windows NT Workstation 3.51

Because Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Microsoft Windows NT Workstation version 3.51 share common attributes with Windows XP Professional, almost all applications that run on Windows NT Workstation versions 4.0 and 3.51 run without modification on Windows XP Professional. However, a few applications are affected by the differences between Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Windows XP Professional.

One example is antivirus software. As a result of changes between the version of NTFS included with Windows NT 4.0 and the version of NTFS included with Windows XP Professional, file-system filters used by antivirus software no longer function between the two file systems. Another example is third-party networking software (such as TCP/IP or IPX/SPX protocol stacks) written for Windows NT Workstation 4.0. The following features and applications cannot be properly upgraded to Windows XP Professional:

  • Applications that depend on file-system filters. For example antivirus software, disk tools, and disk quota software.

  • Custom power-management solutions and tools. Windows XP Professional support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and Advanced Power Management (APM) replaces these. Remove all such custom solutions and tools before upgrading.

  • Custom Plug and Play solutions. These are no longer necessary, because Windows XP Professional provides full Plug and Play support. Remove all custom Plug and Play solutions before upgrading.

  • Fault-tolerant options such as disk mirrors.

  • Third-party network clients and services.

  • Virus scanners.

  • Uninterruptible power supplies.

    Warning You must remove virus scanners, third-party network services, and third-party client software before starting the Windows XP Professional Setup program.

Testing Commercial Applications

You can run Windows XP Professional Setup in Check Upgrade Only mode to test commercial applications for compatibility. As Setup runs, it checks installed software against a list of applications that are known to be incompatible with Windows XP Professional and logs any that it finds.

Note Running Setup in Check Upgrade Only mode can alert you to known incompatibility problems with applications installed on the computer that you are checking. However, the fact that an application does not generate a log entry does not mean that the application is compatible.

For more information about Check Upgrade Only mode, see “Using Check Upgrade Only Mode” later in this chapter.

Test application installation and removal, as well as functionality. Use the features, configurations, and application suites normally used by your business to access, edit, and print data files. The following are some useful tests you might do:

  • Terminate application installation before it is complete.

  • Try all the installation options used in your business.

  • Test the installation by logging on as an Administrator and as a Power User.

  • Log on as several members of the Users group to test the features most important to your end users.

  • Apply Group Policy to users and computers.

  • Test combinations of applications, such as standard desktop configurations.

  • Run several applications for several days or weeks without quitting them.

  • Test automated tasks that use Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.

  • Test to verify that long file names are consistently supported.

  • Manipulate large graphics files.

  • Perform rapid development sequences of edit, compile, edit, compile.

  • Test object linking and embedding (OLE) custom controls.

  • Test with hardware, such as scanners and other Plug and Play devices.

  • Test the applications on a Terminal Services server. Test with multiple users running the same and different applications and with user-specific settings.

  • Test concurrent use of a database, including simultaneous access and update of a record, and perform complex queries.

Testing Custom Applications

For custom applications, you need a more extensive testing strategy than for pretested commercial applications.

The Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit can help you develop a test plan, even for applications that were not developed internally. The test plan offers ideas about functional areas to test. To download the latest version of the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit, see http://www.microsoft.com/windows/appcompatibility. This site also contains information about testing, such as white papers about exploratory testing and the methods that independent testing organizations use to test applications that vendors submit for certification.

Using Check Upgrade Only Mode

Windows XP Professional Setup includes a Check Upgrade Only mode, which can be used to test the upgrade process before you do an actual upgrade. Check Upgrade Only mode produces a report that flags potential problems that might be encountered during the actual upgrade, such as hardware compatibility issues or software that might not be migrated during the upgrade. To run Setup in Check Upgrade Only mode, select Check system compatibility from the menu displayed when you insert the installation CD.

You can also run Setup in Check Upgrade Only mode by running Winnt32.exe, from the i386 folder, with the command-line parameter -checkupgradeonly.

If you don’t have a Windows XP Professional product CD, you can still determine whether your systems are capable of being upgraded to Windows XP by downloading and running the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor, which you can obtain from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/upgrading/advisor.mspx.

When you use any of the preceding methods to test a system to see whether it can be upgraded to Windows XP, a Report System Compatibility window opens displaying any possible issues that could affect your plan to upgrade. These issues are of two types:

  • Blocking issues are displayed with a red stop sign and indicate problems that unless resolved will cause your upgrade to fail. An example would be insufficient disk space on your system partition.

  • Warnings are displayed with a yellow caution sign and indicate issues that might cause applications or devices to fail after the operating system has been upgraded. An example would be a printer whose current device driver is incompatible with Windows XP.

By selecting an issue and clicking Details, you can obtain more information concerning the issue.

In addition, an Upgrade Report (Upgrade.txt) is created in the %Windir% directory so that you can review any potential upgrade issues later at your convenience. Depending on whether you are only testing upgrade compatibility or are actually performing the upgrade, one or more of the following entries might be present in the report:

MS-DOS configuration

This includes entries in Autoexec.bat and Config.sys that are incompatible with Windows XP Professional. These entries might be associated with older hardware and software that is incompatible with Windows XP Professional. It also suggests that more technical information is provided in the Setupact.log file located in the Windows folder.

Unsupported hardware

This includes hardware that might not be supported by Windows XP Professional without additional files.

Software that must be permanently removed

This includes upgrade packs that are required for some programs because they do not support Windows XP Professional, or because they can introduce problems with Windows XP Professional Control Panel. Before upgrading to Windows XP Professional, gain disk space by using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel to remove programs not being used.

Software that must be temporarily removed

This includes antivirus software and upgrade packs that are recommended for programs because they use different files and settings in Windows XP Professional. If an upgrade cannot be obtained, remove the program before upgrading by using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. After upgrading to Windows XP Professional, reinstall or upgrade the program.

Installation requirements

This includes how much additional disk space or memory is required to install Windows XP Professional, and whether the computer contains operating systems that cannot be upgraded to Windows XP Professional.

The Upgrade Report also displays links to Microsoft Windows XP Professional Web sites, as well as to Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel where appropriate.

If you have applications that have been identified as incompatible while running in Check Upgrade Only mode, you must remove the conflicting applications before installing Windows XP Professional.

When upgrading from Microsoft Windows NT Workstation, most applications can migrate. Certain proprietary applications, such as applications that were custom-made for your business, might not migrate. For more information on testing for compatibility of such programs, see “Application Compatibility” in this chapter.

Blocking issues

If an incompatibility prevents the upgrade from continuing, a wizard appears to inform the user. You can view details about the incompatibility, if available. Unless you can fix the problem by supplying a missing file (by clicking the Have Disk button), you must quit Setup and fix the problem before rerunning Winnt32.exe.

Warnings

If the incompatibility does not prevent a successful upgrade to Windows XP Professional, you are warned that this application might not function correctly with Windows XP Professional. At this point, you can choose to quit or to continue the upgrade. The Have Disk button is also supported in this case.

Helpful information

The Upgrade Report also lists issues discovered by Check Upgrade Only mode that do not prevent a successful upgrade, but which might be useful for the user to know. This might include information about incompatible hardware accessories or applications that might need to be updated or are replaced by Windows XP functionality, as well as program notes. A General Information section lists information you need to be aware of before upgrading, such as files found on the computer (which might include backup files that need to be saved to a different location so that they are not removed by Setup), excluded or inaccessible drives, configurations that might be lost during the upgrade process, and other reference information.

Network Infrastructure

Assess your network infrastructure by identifying existing network protocols, network bandwidth, and the network hardware. Table 1-5 describes how these issues affect your deployment plan.

Table 1-5 Basic Attributes for Assessing Your Network Infrastructure

Attribute

Effect on Project Plan

Network protocols

Network protocols determine how you customize several of the networking sections of answer files, such as [NetAdapter], [NetProtocols], and [NetServices]. For more information about creating and customizing answer files, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Network bandwidth

Network bandwidth affects which method of installation to use. For example, in low-bandwidth networks or on computers that are not part of a network, you might need to use a local installation method. For high-bandwidth network connections, you might choose to install Windows XP Professional by using a remote-boot CD-ROM or a network-based disk image.

Network servers

The servers you have in your network affect the installation tools available to you. If you have an existing Microsoft Windows 2000 Server infrastructure in place, you can use a wider range of tools to automate and customize client installations, including Remote Installation Services (RIS).

Next, collect information about both the hardware and software in your network infrastructure. This should include the logical organization of your network, name- and address-resolution methods, naming conventions, and network services in use. Documenting the location of network sites and the available bandwidth between them can help you decide which installation method to use.

Document the structure of your network, including server operating systems, file and print servers, directory services, domain and tree structures, server protocols, and file structure. You should also include information about network administration procedures, including backup and recovery strategies, antivirus measures, and data storage and access policies. If you use multiple server operating systems, note how you manage security and users’ access to resources.

Network security measures should also be included in your assessment of the network. Include information about how you manage client authentication, user and group access to resources, and Internet security. Document firewall and proxy configurations.

Create physical and logical diagrams of your network to organize the information you gather. The physical network diagram should include the following information:

  • Physical communication links, including cables, and the paths of analog and digital lines.

  • Server names, IP addresses, and domain membership.

  • Location of printers, hubs, switches, routers, bridges, proxy servers, and other network devices.

  • Wide area network (WAN) communication links, their speed, and available bandwidth between sites. If you have slow or heavily used connections, it is important to note them.

The logical network diagram can include the following information:

  • Domain architecture

  • Server roles, including primary and backup domain controllers, and Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) and DNS servers

  • Trust relationships and any policy restrictions that might affect your deployment

Planning Your Preferred Client Configuration

After you identify your business needs and decide which features of Windows XP Professional to use, determine how to implement these features to simplify the management of users and computers in your organization. An important means to simplification is standardization. Standardizing desktop configurations makes it easier to install, update, manage, support, and replace computers that run Windows XP Professional. Standardizing users’ configuration settings, software, hardware, and preferences makes it easier to deploy operating system and application upgrades, and configuration changes can be guaranteed to work on all computers.

When users install their own operating system upgrades, applications, device drivers, settings, preferences, and hardware devices, a simple problem can become complex. Establishing standards for desktop configurations prevents many problems and makes it easier for support personnel to identify and resolve problems. Having a standard configuration that you can install on any computer minimizes downtime by ensuring that user settings, applications, drivers, and preferences are the same as before the problem occurred.

Determining Desktop Management Strategies

By running Windows XP Professional in a Windows 2000 Server domain, you can specify the level of control exercised over users of these computers. For example, by using Active Directory and Group Policy, you can manage desktops as follows:

  • Prevent users from installing applications that are not required for their jobs

  • Make new or updated software available to users without visiting their workstations

  • Customize desktop features or prevent users from making changes to their desktop settings

  • Refresh policy settings from the server without requiring the user to log off or restart the computer

Table 1-6 describes how you can use the desktop management features to manage computer and user settings.

Table 1-6 Desktop Management Tasks and Features

Task

Feature

Configure registry-based policy settings for computers and users

Group Policy Administrative Templates

Manage local, domain, and network security

Security Settings

Manage, install, upgrade, repair, or remove software

Software Installation and Maintenance

Manage Internet Explorer configuration settings

Internet Explorer Maintenance, MMC, Group Policy settings

Apply scripts during user logon/logoff and computer startup/shutdown

Group Policy–based scripts

Manage users’ folders and files on the network

Folder Redirection

Manage user profiles

Roaming User Profiles

Make shared files and folders available offline

Offline Files and Folders (in conjunction with Folder Redirection)

If you deploy Windows XP Professional desktops in a domain that does not include Active Directory, you can still take advantage of some management features. For example, you can manage Windows XP Professional desktops locally by implementing the following IntelliMirror features:

  • Roaming User Profiles

  • Logon Scripts

  • Folder Redirection

  • Internet Explorer Maintenance

  • Administrative Templates (registry-based policy)

Choosing Desktop Computer Configurations

For desktop computers that are used for specific functions, such as running certain line-of-business applications, you can use a management structure that prevents users from installing any application or device or from modifying the desktop or changing settings. To improve security and manage data storage, you can use Folder Redirection to save all data to a server location instead of on the local computer.

You can also use Group Policy settings to manage configurations, restrict user access to certain features, and limit the customizations users can make to their computer environment. To configure a computer for a single application and no other tasks, you can remove desktop features such as the Start menu and set that application to start when the user logs on.

If users need to exercise a great deal of control over their desktops, and tightly managing them is not acceptable, you can use desktop management strategies to reduce support costs and user downtime. You can allow users to install approved applications and to change many settings that affect them while preventing them from making harmful system changes. For example, you might allow users to install or update printer drivers, but not to install unapproved hardware devices. To ensure that the user’s profile and data are saved to a secure location where it can be backed up regularly and restored in the event of a computer failure, use Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection.

For more information about implementing the preceding desktop management strategies, see Chapter 5, “Managing Desktops.” For more information about implementing and using Folder Redirection and Offline Files and Folders for desktop management, see Chapter 6, “Managing Files and Folders.” For more information about implementing Group Policy to manage desktop computers, including creating organizational unit (OU) structures and determining Group Policy strategies, see the Change and Configuration Management Deployment Guide link on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.

Choosing Configurations for Portable Computers

If your mobile users travel frequently or work from remote sites and use slow or intermittent network connectivity, you might want to give them more control over their computers than you allow users who use their computers primarily on-site where administrators can provide full support. For example, you might allow traveling users to install or update device drivers and applications but restrict them from performing tasks that can damage or disable their computers.

Mobile users who work mostly off-site, whether or not they are connected to your network, have less access to support personnel. Therefore, when you install applications for users who are seldom connected to the network or do not have a reliable fast connection to it, make sure that all necessary components are also installed. You can use scripts to make sure that all files associated with the installed applications are installed locally. A sample Visual Basic script can be found in the Implementing Common Desktop Management Scenarios white paper, available on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources. To allow portable computer users to install software, make them members of the Power Users security group. For more information about security groups, see the “Determining Security Strategies” section later in this chapter.

Users who connect to your network remotely might need to configure virtual private network (VPN) connections. To allow them to make necessary configuration changes, configure the following Group Policy settings, which are found under User Configuration/Administrative Templates/Network/Network Connections:

  • Delete remote access connections belonging to the user.

  • Rename connections belonging to the current user.

  • Display and enable the New Connection Wizard.

  • Display the Dial-up Preferences item on the Advanced menu.

  • Allow status statistics for an active connection.

  • Allow access to the following:

    • Current user’s remote access connection properties.

    • Properties of the components of a local area network (LAN) connection.

    • Properties of the components of a remote access connection.

If mobile users rarely connect to your network, you might not want to use features such as Roaming User Profiles and Folder Redirection. However, these features help maintain a seamless work environment from any computer for users who frequently connect to the network or roam between portable and desktop computers.

For details about setting up portable computers and selecting features that best support mobile users, see Chapter 7, “Supporting Mobile Users.”

For more information about determining a desktop management strategy, see Chapter 5, “Managing Desktops.”

Determining a Client Connectivity Strategy

Determining how to connect clients to your network depends largely on where they are located and the type of network you are running. Those located within the corporate infrastructure can use a variety of network media, such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), Ethernet, or Token Ring; those outside of the corporate infrastructure need to use Routing and Remote Access or virtual private networking.

Windows XP Professional uses TCP/IP as its standard network protocol. For a Windows XP Professional–based computer to connect to a legacy NetWare or Macintosh server, you must use a protocol that is compatible with the server. NWLink is the Microsoft implementation of the Novell IPX/SPX protocol, which allows you to connect to legacy NetWare file and print servers. However, the IPX/SPX protocol is not available on Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

In the Properties dialog box for your Local Area Connection, you can specify which protocols to install and enable. Windows XP Professional attempts to connect to remote servers by using the network protocols in the order specified in the Advanced Settings dialog box, which is accessed using the Advanced menu option of the Network Connections folder. For more information, see Chapter 23, “Connecting Clients to Windows Networks.”

Note Install only the necessary protocols. For example, installing and enabling Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) when you need only TCP/IP generates unnecessary IPX and Service Advertising Protocol (SAP) network traffic.

TCP/IP Networks

Client computers running on TCP/IP networks can be assigned an IP address statically by the network administrator or dynamically using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).

Windows XP Professional uses DNS as the namespace provider whether you use static IP addresses or DHCP. Networks that include Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0 or earlier or client computers running versions of Windows earlier than Windows 2000 might require a combination of DNS and Windows Internet Name Service (WINS).

DNS is required for integration with Active Directory, and it provides the following advantages:

  • Interoperability with other DNS servers such as UNIX Bind.

  • Integration with other networking services such as WINS and DHCP.

  • Dynamic registration of DNS names and IP addresses.

  • Incremental zone transfers and load balancing between DNS servers.

  • Support for Services Locator (SRV) and Asynchronous Transfer Mode Addresses (ATMA) resource records.

DHCP allows Windows XP Professional–based computers to receive IP addresses automatically. This helps to prevent configuration errors and address conflicts that can occur when previously assigned IP addresses are reused to configure new computers on the network. As computers and devices are removed from the network, their addresses are returned to the address pool and can be reallocated to other clients. The DHCP lease renewal process ensures that needed changes are made automatically when client configurations must be updated.

The advantages of using DHCP follow:

  • Conflicts caused by assigning duplicate IP addresses are eliminated.

  • DNS or WINS settings do not need to be manually configured if the DHCP options are configured for those settings.

  • Clients are assigned IP addresses regardless of the subnet to which they connect, so IP settings need not be manually changed for roaming users.

If you assign IP addresses statically, you need to have the following information for each client:

  • The IP address and subnet mask for each network adapter installed on each client computer

  • The IP address for the default gateway for the local subnet

  • Whether the client is using DNS or WINS

  • The name of the client computer’s DNS domain and the IP addresses for the DNS or WINS servers

  • The IP address for the proxy server (if there is one)

    Note It is recommended that you assign static IP addresses to servers and dynamic ones to client computers. However, there are exceptions that might require you to assign static addresses to computers running Windows XP Professional. For example, a computer that runs an application that has the IP addresses hard-coded into it requires a static address.

    On the CD For more information about TCP/IP, DHCP and DNS, see “Configuring TCP/IP” on the companion CD included with this book.

For more information about IP addressing, see Chapter 24, “Configuring IP Addressing and Name Resolution.”

IPX Protocol

Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX) is the network protocol used by legacy NetWare computers to control addressing and routing of packets within and among LANs. Windows XP Professional computers can connect to NetWare servers using Client Service for Netware. Windows XP Professional includes NWLink and Client Service for NetWare to transmit NetWare Core Protocol (NCP) packets to and from legacy NetWare servers.

Note Although TCP/IP is used on some Novell NetWare–based networks, Client Service for NetWare does not support it.

NWLink and Client Service for NetWare provide access to file and print resources on NetWare networks and servers that are running either Novell Directory Services (NDS) or bindery security. Client Service supports some NetWare tools applications. It does not support IP, including NetWare/IP.

You can install either Client Service for NetWare or the current Novell Client, but not both. Note, however, you cannot use Novell Client to connect a computer running Windows XP Professional to a Windows 2000 Server–based computer.

Caution Do not install both Client Service and Novell Client for Windows NT/2000 on the same computer running Windows XP Professional. Doing so can cause errors on the system.

When upgrading to Windows XP Professional from Windows Me, Windows 98, or Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Windows XP Professional upgrades Novell Client version 4.7 or earlier to the latest version of Novell Client, allowing for a seamless upgrade. All other versions of Novell Client should be removed before upgrading the operating system. Then reinstall and reconfigure Novell Client.

You can also use Microsoft Services for NetWare on a Windows 2000–based server. Services for Netware uses Client Service to connect to a NetWare network or server.

Determining Security Strategies

The Windows XP Professional security model is based on the concepts of authentication and authorization. Authentication verifies a user’s identity, and authorization verifies that the user has permission to access resources on the computer or the network. Windows XP Professional also includes encryption technologies, such as Encrypting File System (EFS) and public key technology, to protect confidential data on disk and across networks.

Authentication

When the user logs on to a computer, a user name and password are required before the user can access resources on the local computer or the network. Windows XP Professional authentication enables single sign-on to all network resources, so that a user can log on to a client computer by using a single password or smart card and gain access to other computers in the domain without re-entering credential information. The Windows XP Professional authentication model protects your network against malicious attacks, such as:

  • Masquerade attacks. Because a user must prove identity, it is difficult to pose as another user.

  • Replay attacks. It is difficult to reuse stolen authentication information because Windows XP Professional authentication protocols use timestamps.

  • Identity interception. Intercepted identities cannot be used to access the network, because all exchanges are encrypted.

Kerberos V5 is the primary security protocol within Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 domains. Windows XP Professional–based clients use NTLM to authenticate to servers running Windows NT 4.0 and to access resources within a Windows NT domain.

Computers running Windows XP Professional that are not joined to a domain also use NTLM for authentication.

If you use Windows XP Professional on a network that includes Active Directory, you can use Group Policy settings to manage logon security, such as restricting access to computers and logging users off after a specified time. For more information about logon security, see Chapter 16,  “Understanding Logon and Authentication.”

Authorization

Authorization controls user access to resources. Using access control lists (ACLs), security groups, and NTFS file permissions, you can make sure that users have access only to needed resources, such as files, drives, network shares, printers, and applications.

Security groups

Security groups, user rights, and permissions can be used to manage security for numerous resources while maintaining fine-grained control of files and folders and user rights. The four main security groups include:

  • Domain local groups

  • Global groups

  • Universal groups

  • Computer local groups

Using security groups can streamline the process of managing access to resources. You can assign users to security groups, and then grant permissions to those groups. You can add and remove users in security groups according to their need for access to new resources. To create local users and place them within local security groups, use the Computer Management snap-in of MMC or the User Accounts option in Control Panel.

Within the domain local and computer local security groups there are preconfigured security groups to which you can assign users. These include the following (and a more complete list of built-in accounts is included in Chapter 17, “Managing Authorization and Access Control”):

Administrators

Members of this group have total control of the local computer and have permissions to complete all tasks. A built-in account called Administrator is created and assigned to this group when Windows XP Professional is installed. When a computer is joined to a domain, the Domain Administrators group is added to the local Administrators group by default.

Power Users

Members of this group have read/write permissions to other parts of the system in addition to their own profile folders, can install applications, and can perform many administrative tasks. Members of this group have the same level of permissions as Users and Power Users in Windows NT 4.0.

Users

Members of this group are authenticated users with read-only permissions for most parts of the system. They have read/write access only within their own profile folders. Users cannot read other users’ data (unless it is in a shared folder), install applications that require modifying system directories or the registry, or perform administrative tasks. Users permissions under Windows XP Professional are more limited than under Windows NT 4.0.

Guests

Members of this group can log on using the built-in Guest account to perform limited tasks, including shutting down the computer. Users who do not have an account on the computer or whose account has been disabled (but not deleted) can log on using the Guest account. You can set rights and permissions for this account, which is a member of the built-in Guests group by default. The Guest account is disabled by default.

You can configure access control lists (ACLs) for resource groups or security groups and add or remove users or resources from these groups as needed. The ability to add and remove users makes user permissions easier to control and audit. It also reduces the need to change ACLs.

You can grant users permissions to access files and folders, and specify what tasks users can perform on them. You can also allow permissions to be inherited so that permissions for a folder apply to all its subfolders and the files in them.

Group Policy

You can use Group Policy settings to assign permissions to resources and grant rights to users as follows:

  • To restrict which types of users can run certain applications. This reduces the risk of exposing the computer to unwanted applications, such as viruses.

  • To configure many rights and permissions for client computers. You can also configure rights and permissions on an individual computer to be used as the base image for desktop installations, to ensure standardized security management even if you do not use Active Directory.

Auditing features allow you to detect attempts to disable or circumvent protections on resources.

For more information about managing access to resources and applications, see Chapter 17, “Managing Authorization and Access Control.” For more information about creating disk images for installation, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

You can use preconfigured security templates that meet the security requirements for a given workstation or network. Security templates are files with preset security settings that can be applied to a local computer or to client computers in a domain by using Active Directory.

Security templates can be used without modification or customized for specific needs. For more information about using security templates, see Chapter 17, “Managing Authorization and Access Control.”

Encryption

You can use Encrypting File System (EFS) to encrypt data on your hard disk. For example, because portable computers are high-risk items for theft, you can use EFS to enhance security by encrypting data on the hard disks of your company’s portable computers. This precaution protects data and authentication information against unauthorized access.

Before implementing EFS, it is important to understand the proper backup strategy for EFS keys and to know how to restore them.

For more information about EFS, see Chapter 18, “Using Encrypting File System.”

Determining Client Administration and Configuration Strategies

The following sections can help you make decisions about configuring Windows XP Professional computers to make them easier to administer. Depending on the needs of your organization, you can include support for multiple language versions of the operating system and applications, specify what devices users can access, choose the file system that best suits your security and compatibility needs, and create logical disks that are more efficient to manage. Depending on the installation method you use, you can install applications along with the operating system to speed the deployment process of your desktop computers. You can enable accessibility options for users with disabilities and have those options available wherever users log on to the network.

Multilingual Options

Windows XP Professional supports companies that need to equip their users to work with various languages or in multiple locale settings. This includes organizations that:

  • Operate internationally and must support various regional and language options, such as time zones, currencies, or date formats

  • Have employees or customers who speak different languages, or require language-dependent keyboards or input devices

  • Develop an internal line of business applications to run internationally or in more than one language

If you have roaming users who need to log on anywhere and edit a document in several languages, you need the appropriate language files installed or installable on demand, on a server or workstation. You can also use Terminal Services to allow users to initiate individual Terminal Services sessions in different languages.

For more information about multilingual feature support in Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 3, “Multilingual Solutions for Global Businesses.”

You can use Setup scripts to install regional and language options on your users’ computers. For more information about creating Setup scripts, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Hardware Devices

Windows XP Professional includes support for a range of hardware devices, including USB- and IEEE 1394–compliant devices. Device drivers for most devices are included with the operating system. Drivers can be configured to be dynamically updated by connecting to the Microsoft Windows Update Web site and downloading the most recent versions.

If you can connect to the Internet, the Dynamic Update feature can connect to Windows Update during setup to install device drivers that were not included on the Windows XP Professional operating system CD. For more information about Dynamic Update, see “Planning for Dynamic Update” later in this chapter.

You can add devices, such as mass storage and Plug and Play devices, to your installation. For more information about adding hardware devices to your installation, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.” For more information about the types of hardware devices Windows XP Professional supports and about configuring these devices, see Chapter 9, “Managing Devices.”

File Systems

Windows XP Professional supports the FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS file systems. Because NTFS has all the basic capabilities of FAT16 and FAT32, with the added advantage of advanced storage features such as compression, improved security, and larger partitions and file sizes, it is the recommended file system for Windows XP Professional.

Following are some features that are available only when you choose NTFS:

  • File encryption allows you to protect files and folders from unauthorized access.

  • Permissions can be set on individual files, as well as on folders.

  • Disk quotas allow you to monitor and control the amount of disk space used by individual users.

  • Better scalability allows you to use large volumes. The maximum volume size for NTFS is much greater than it is for FAT. Additionally, NTFS performance does not degrade as volume size increases, as it does in FAT systems.

  • Recovery logging of disk activities helps restore information quickly in the event of power failure or other system problems.

When you perform a clean installation of Windows XP Professional, it is recommended that you use NTFS. If you upgrade computers that use NTFS as the only file system, continue to use NTFS with Windows XP Professional.

Converting vs. reformatting existing disk partitions

Before you run Setup, you must decide whether to keep, convert, or reformat an existing partition. The default option for an existing partition is to keep the existing file system intact, thus preserving all files on that partition.

Windows XP Professional provides support for Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me file systems, including FAT16 and FAT32 file systems. If you upgrade computers that use FAT or FAT32 as their file system, consider converting the partitions to NTFS.

Warning You cannot upgrade compressed Windows 98 volumes; you must uncompress them before you upgrade them to Windows XP Professional.

Use the conversion option if you want to take advantage of NTFS features, such as security or disk compression, and if you are not dual-booting with another operating system that needs access to the existing partition. You cannot convert an NTFS volume to FAT or FAT32. You must reformat the NTFS volume as FAT. However, when you convert a volume from FAT to NTFS, you cannot use the uninstall feature to roll back to a previous operating system installation.

Warning Once you convert to NTFS, you cannot revert to FAT or FAT32.

You can reformat a partition during a clean installation only. If you decide to convert or reformat, select an appropriate file system (NTFS, FAT16, or FAT32). For more information about converting volumes to NTFS, see Chapter 13, “Working with File Systems.”

Caution You can reformat a partition as either FAT or NTFS; however, reformatting a partition erases all files on that partition. Make sure to back up all files on the partition before you reformat it.

Multiple-booting and file system compatibility

NTFS is the recommended file system for Windows XP Professional. However, you might need a different file system to multiple-boot Windows XP Professional with an operating system that cannot access NTFS volumes. If you use NTFS to format a partition, only Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 4 or later) can access the volume locally on the machine.

If you plan to install Windows XP Professional and another operating system on the same computer, you must use a file system that all operating systems installed on the computer can access. For example, if the computer has Windows 98 and Windows XP Professional, you must use FAT on any partition that Windows 98 must access. However, if the computer has Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP Professional, you can use FAT or NTFS because both operating systems can access all those file systems. However, certain features in the version of NTFS included with Windows XP Professional are not available when the computer runs Windows NT 4.0. For more information about file system compatibility and multiple booting, see “Determining How Many Operating Systems to Install” in this chapter.

Warning You can access NTFS volumes locally only when running Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP.

Table 1-7 describes the size and domain limitations of each file system.

Table 1-7 Comparison of NTFS and FAT File Systems

Subject of Comparison

NTFS

FAT16

FAT32

Operating
system
compatibility

A computer running Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP can access files on an NTFS partition. A computer running Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later can access files on the partition, but some NTFS features, such as Disk Quotas, are not available. Other operating systems allow no access.

File access is available to computers running Microsoft MS-DOS‚ all versions of Windows, Windows NT, Windows XP, and OS/2.

File access is available only to computers running Microsoft Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, and Windows XP.

Volume size

Recommended minimum volume size is approximately 10 MB.

Recommended practical maximum for volumes is 2 terabytes. Much larger sizes are possible.

Cannot be used on floppy disks.

Volumes up to 4 GB.

Can be used on floppy disks.

Volumes from 512 MB to 2 terabytes.

In Windows XP Professional, you can format a FAT32 volume only up to 32 GB.

Cannot be used on floppy disks.

File size

Maximum file size 16 terabytes minus 64 KB (244 minus 64 KB)

Maximum file size 4 GB

Maximum file size 4 GB

Files per volume

4,294,967,295 (232 minus 1 files)

65,536 (216 files)

Approximately 4,177,920

If you also want to use MS-DOS on your system, you must use FAT to format another partition, which is the MS-DOS operating system’s native file system. MS-DOS does not recognize data on NTFS or FAT32 partitions.

For more information about FAT, NTFS, and other file systems supported in Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 13, “Working with File Systems.”

Warning To format the active system partition, you must use a file system that all the operating systems running on your computer recognize. You can have up to four primary partitions, but only the active one starts all the operating systems.

Disk Partitions

Disk partitioning is a way of dividing hard disks into sections that function as separate units. Partitions can be set up to organize data or to install additional operating systems for multiple boot configurations. Partitioning involves dividing a disk into one or more areas, each formatted for use by a particular file system.

Configuring partitions

Depending on your existing hard disk configuration, you have the following options during setup:

  • If the hard disk is unpartitioned, you can create and size the Windows XP Professional partition.

  • If an existing partition is large enough, you can install Windows XP Professional on that partition.

  • If the existing partition is too small but you have adequate unpartitioned space, you can create a new Windows XP Professional partition in that space.

  • If the hard disk has an existing partition, you can delete it to create more unpartitioned disk space for the Windows XP Professional partition. Keep in mind that deleting an existing partition also erases any data on that partition.

    Caution Before you change file systems on a partition or delete a partition, back up the information on that partition because reformatting or deleting a partition deletes all existing data on that partition.

If you install Windows XP Professional as part of a multiple-boot configuration, it is important to install Windows XP Professional on its own partition. Installing Windows XP Professional on the same partition as another operating system might overwrite files installed by the other operating system, and it overwrites the system directory unless you specify a different directory in which to install Windows XP Professional.

Warning If you install Windows XP Professional as part of a multiple-boot configuration, make sure that you install it after you install all other operating systems. If you install another operating system after Windows XP Professional, you might not be able to start Windows XP Professional. For more information about problems with starting your computer, see  Chapter 29, “Troubleshooting the Startup Process.”

Sizing partitions

It is recommended that you install Windows XP Professional on a 2-gigabyte (GB) (that is, 2,048 megabytes) or larger partition. Although Windows XP Professional requires a minimum of 650 MB of free disk space for installation, using a larger installation partition provides flexibility for adding future updates, operating system tools, and other files.

During setup, you only need to create and size the partition on which you plan to install Windows XP Professional. After Windows XP Professional is installed, you can use the Disk Management snap-in to make changes or create new partitions on your hard disk.

For more information about Disk Management, see Chapter 12, “Organizing Disks.”

Warning Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, and Windows XP x64 Edition are the only operating systems that can access a dynamic disk.
If you convert the disk that contains the system volume to dynamic, you cannot start the other operating systems. For more information about basic and dynamic disks, see  Chapter 12, “Organizing Disks.”

Applications to Install

During setup, you can choose to install standard productivity applications such as Microsoft Office, as well as custom applications. If certain core applications need to be available to users at all times, you can install them along with the operating system. If you are automating installations by using Remote Installation Services (RIS) or Sysprep, you can install the applications on the disk image that you create; if you are doing unattended installations by using answer files, you can include applications and make them available from your distribution folder. For more information about adding applications to your installations, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

If you use Active Directory, you can use the Software Installation And Maintenance feature of IntelliMirror to make applications available to users. You can assign critical applications to users and publish applications users might need to access.

Publishing an application

When you publish applications, users can install the application by using Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. For more information about using Software Installation and Maintenance to make applications available to your users, see the Distributed Systems Guide of the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit.

Assigning an application to a user

When you assign an application to a user, it appears to the user that the application is already installed, and a shortcut appears in the user’s Start menu. When the user clicks the shortcut, the application is installed from a server share.

Automating deployment and upgrades

You can also use Systems Management Server (SMS) to automate the deployment and upgrade applications during and after installing the operating system. SMS is a good option for large-scale software-deployment projects because SMS can be set to run when it will cause minimal interruption to your business, such as at night or on weekends. For more information about SMS, see the documentation included with SMS.

Accessibility Options

Windows XP Professional includes multiple features and options that improve accessibility for people with disabilities. You can use the Accessibility Wizard or individual Control Panel properties to set options to meet the needs of users with vision, mobility, hearing, and learning disabilities.

For users with vision impairments or learning disabilities, you can set size and color options for the display of text and screen elements, such as icons and windows. You can also adjust the size, color, speed, and motion of the mouse cursor to aid visibility on the screen. Options such as StickyKeys, BounceKeys, ToggleKeys, and MouseKeys benefit some users with mobility impairments. SoundSentry and ShowSounds can assist users with hearing impairments.

Accessibility tools such as Magnifier, Narrator, and On-Screen Keyboard allow users with disabilities to configure and use computers without additional hardware or software. These tools also allow some users with disabilities to roam multiple computers in their organization.

Note Accessibility features such as Narrator, Magnifier, and On-Screen Keyboard provide a minimum level of functionality for users with special needs. Most people with disabilities require tools with higher functionality.

You can use Group Policy and set user profiles to make sure that accessibility features are available to users wherever they log on in your network. You can also enable some accessibility features when you run Setup by specifying them in your answer file.

For more information about accessibility features included with Windows XP Professional, see Appendix H, “Accessibility Tools.” For more information about customizing answer files for unattended Setup, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Planning Installations

After you decide how to use Windows XP Professional in your organization and how best to manage your users and computers, you need to prepare your installations. The following questions can help you make important decisions affecting the installation process:

  • Are you going to upgrade computers or perform clean installations?

  • Which installation method is appropriate for you to use?

  • Do you plan to install multiple operating systems on individual computers?

Your answers to the preceding questions are largely determined by your business goals and your current configuration. For example, if you plan to install Windows XP Professional to gain enhancements unavailable in current Windows 2000 Professional installations, upgrading might be the preferred strategy. However, if your desktop computers run Windows 95, you must do a clean installation of Windows XP Professional. If you have an Active Directory environment in place, you can use RIS to standardize the installations across your desktops, customize and control the installation process, and determine the media on which to distribute the installation.

For more information about installing Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 4, “Supporting Installations” and Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.” For more detailed information about client and sever installations, see the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit.

Upgrading vs. Clean Installation

Windows XP Professional provides upgrade paths from Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, and Windows Me. If you are using Windows 95, Windows 3.x, or another operating system, you need to choose a clean install.

During an upgrade, existing user settings are retained, as well as installed applications. If you perform a clean installation, the operating system files are installed in a new folder, and you must reinstall all your applications and reset user preferences, such as desktop and application settings.

You need to choose a clean installation of Windows XP Professional in the following cases:

  • No operating system is installed on the computer.

  • The installed operating system does not support an upgrade to Windows XP Professional.

  • The computer has more than one partition and needs to support a multiple-boot configuration that uses Windows XP Professional and the current operating system.

  • A clean installation is preferred.

The most basic advantage of a clean installation is that all your systems can begin with the same configuration. All applications, files, and settings are reset. You can use a single disk image or answer file to make sure that all the desktops in your organization are standardized. In this way, you can avoid many of the support problems that are caused by irregular configurations.

Note Installing multiple operating systems on the same partition is not supported and can prevent one or both operating systems from working properly. For more information about installing multiple operating systems on a single computer, see Chapter 4, “Supporting Installations.”

Upgrading from Windows 98 or Windows Me

Upgrading from Windows 98 or Windows Me to Windows XP Professional might require some additional planning because of differences in the registry structure and the setup process. For more information about software compatibility issues, see “Application Compatibility” in this chapter. If problems arise, you can choose to uninstall Windows XP Professional and revert to the previous installation. For more information about uninstalling Windows XP Professional, see Chapter 4, “Supporting Installations.”

Upgrading from Windows 2000 Professional or Windows NT Workstation 4.0

Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT Workstation 4.0 provide the easiest upgrade path to Windows XP Professional because they share a common operating system structure and core features, such as supported file systems, security concepts, device driver requirements, and registry structure.

If you upgrade or install Windows XP Professional on a Windows NT Workstation 4.0–based computer that uses NTFS, the installation process automatically upgrades the file system to Windows XP Professional NTFS. If you install or upgrade to Windows XP Professional and the current file system is FAT, you are asked whether you want to convert to the NTFS file system.

Note You cannot upgrade computers that run Windows NT Workstation 3.51 to Windows XP Professional. You must either do a clean installation of Windows XP Professional or first upgrade to Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and then upgrade to Windows XP.

Using the User State Migration Tool

The User State Migration Tool (USMT) allows you to save and restore users’ settings and files to minimize the time required to configure users’ computers after installing Windows XP Professional. You can use USMT when performing clean installations, migrating from computers running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. You can run USMT from the Windows XP Professional installation CD.

You can restore these settings only on computers running Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition. You cannot use USMT to migrate to Windows XP x64 Edition.

By default, USMT saves the majority of user interface settings such as desktop color schemes and wallpaper, network connectivity settings such as e-mail servers and proxy servers, and some files associated with Microsoft Office. You can customize the .INF files the tool uses to save only the settings you want to migrate to Windows XP Professional.

Choosing an Installation Method

You can install Windows XP Professional on client computers in various ways. The installation method you choose is based on several factors, including:

  • Whether you upgrade from an existing operating system or perform clean installations

  • How many computers will be in the deployment

  • Whether you want to allow users to install the operating system themselves, or whether you want to perform unattended installations

  • How much customization is required for your installations

  • What hardware is available and how the various types differ

  • Whether you are using Active Directory

Table 1-8 describes the installation methods available for Windows XP Professional and some of the considerations for each method.

Table 1-8 Methods and Requirements for Installing Windows XP Professional

Method and Requirements

From CD-ROM

Unattended Setup

SysPrep

RIS

SMS

Supported installation methods

Upgrade or clean install

Upgrade or clean install

Clean
install only

Clean install only

Upgrade only

Required hardware

CD-ROM
drive on each computer

A network boot disk if using a remote distribution share, or a CD-ROM drive and a floppy disk drive

All desktop computers need
similar hardware configurations

PXE-enabled desktop computers

A fast connection to the SMS site

Server
requirements

Does not
require a server

Does not require a server

Does not require a server

Requires
Active
Directory

Requires a Windows server with SMS running an SMS site

Considerations for modifying project

No changes can be made

Requires updating Unattend.txt

Requires updating and reimaging the master installation

Requires modifying the answer file

Requires creating an advertising package

For information about running Setup, see Chapter 4, “Supporting Installations.”

For more information about the relative advantages and when to use each of the installation methods, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Determining How Many Operating Systems to Install

You can install multiple operating systems on a computer so that the user can choose the operating system to use each time the user starts the computer. You can also specify an operating system as the default that starts when the user makes no selection.

Warning If you install Windows XP Professional and any other operating system on a computer, you must install Windows XP Professional on a separate partition. Installing Windows XP Professional on a separate partition ensures that it will not overwrite files used by the other operating system.

Installing multiple operating systems on a computer has some drawbacks, however. Each operating system uses disk space, and compatibility issues (especially between file systems) can be complex. Also, you cannot use dynamic disks with certain operating systems. Only Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional can access a dynamic disk.

Converting a basic disk to a dynamic disk that contains multiple installations of Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000 can cause startup problems. For more information about dynamic disks, see Chapter 12, “Organizing Disks.”

Note To ensure that you can always start the computer, despite driver or disk problems, consider the disaster-recovery features available in Windows XP Professional. Safe mode allows Windows XP Professional to start with default settings and the minimum number of drivers. The computer will start even if a new driver causes a problem. With this and other disaster-recovery features, you do not need more than one operating system as a safeguard against system problems. For more information about disaster recovery, see Chapter 29, “Troubleshooting the Startup Process.”

When you perform a clean installation of Windows XP Professional (not an upgrade), by default the installation is put on a partition on which no other operating system is located. You can specify a different partition when you run Setup.

Before setting up a computer that has more than one operating system, review the following restrictions.

For computers on which you want to install MS-DOS and Windows XP Professional:

  • Format the system partition as FAT.

  • Install MS-DOS before installing Windows XP. Otherwise, important files needed to start Windows XP Professional can be overwritten.

  • Install each operating system on its own partition, and then install the applications used with each operating system on the same partition. If you intend to run an application on both operating systems, install it on both partitions.

For computers on which you want to install Windows 95 and Windows XP Professional:

  • Format the system partition as FAT. (For Windows 95 OSR2, the primary partition must be formatted as FAT or FAT32.)

  • Install Windows 95 first. Otherwise, important files needed to start Windows XP Professional can be overwritten.

  • Install each operating system on its own partition, and then install the applications used with each operating system on the same partition. If you intend to run an application on both operating systems, install it on both partitions.

  • Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes are not available while you run Windows XP Professional. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you access only from Windows 95.

For computers on which you want to install Windows 98 or Windows Me and Windows XP Professional:

  • Format the system partition as FAT or FAT32.

  • Install each operating system on its own partition, and then install the applications used with each operating system on the same partition. If you intend to run an application on both operating systems, install it on both partitions.

  • Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes are not available while you run Windows XP Professional. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you access only from Windows 98.

For computers on which you want to install Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP Professional:

  • Make sure that Windows NT 4.0 has been updated with the latest service pack.

  • Install each operating system on its own partition, and then install the applications used with each operating system on the same partition. If you intend to run an application on both operating systems, install it on both partitions.

  • Using NTFS as the only file system on a computer that contains both Windows XP Professional and Windows NT is not recommended.

  • Do not install Windows XP Professional on a compressed volume unless the volume was compressed by using the NTFS compression feature.

  • If the computer is part of a domain, use a unique computer name for each installation.

For computers on which you want to install Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional, or multiple Windows XP Professional partitions:

  • Install each operating system on its own partition, and then install the applications used with each operating system on the same partition. If you intend to run an application on both operating systems, install it on both partitions.

  • On a computer on which you install multiple Windows XP Professional partitions, you can install any product in the Windows XP product family. For example, you can install Windows XP Professional on one partition and Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition on another.

    Note Because Windows XP Home Edition does not support dynamic disks, you must use basic disks on computers that multiple-boot Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home Edition.

  • If the computer participates in a domain, use a different computer name for each installation. Because a unique security identifier (SID) is used for each installation of Windows XP Professional on a domain, the computer name for each installation must be unique, even for multiple installations on the same computer.

  • If you use EFS, ensure that encrypted files are available from each of the installations.

Multiple Operating Systems and File System Compatibility

For Windows-based computers, the available file systems are NTFS, FAT, and FAT32. For more information, see “File Systems” in this chapter and Chapter 13, “Working with File Systems.”

The version of NTFS included in Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional has new features that are not available for Windows NT. You might have full access to files that use new features only when the computer is started by using Windows 2000 or Windows XP Professional. For example, a file that uses the new encryption feature is not readable when the computer is started with Windows NT 4.0, which was released before the encryption feature existed.

To set up a computer that has an NTFS partition to run Windows NT and Windows XP Professional, you must use Windows NT 4.0 with the latest released service pack. Using the latest service pack maximizes compatibility between Windows NT 4.0 and the NTFS enhancements in Windows XP Professional. Specifically, Service Pack 4 and later service packs provide this compatibility in file systems. Even the most recent service pack, however, does not provide access to files using later features in NTFS.

Using NTFS as the only file system on a computer that contains both Windows XP Professional and Windows NT is not recommended. On these computers, a FAT partition ensures that the computer has access to needed files when it is started with Windows NT 4.0.

If you set up a computer with Windows NT Workstation 3.51 or earlier on a FAT partition, and Windows XP Professional on an NTFS partition, the NTFS partition is not visible while you run Windows NT Workstation 3.51.

Multiple Operating Systems and EFS

If you configure a computer so that it contains Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional, or contains multiple Windows XP Professional partitions, you must take certain steps to use EFS so that encrypted files are readable between the different installations. Use either of the following approaches:

  • Ensure that all the installations are in the same domain and that the user has a roaming profile.

  • Export the user’s file encryption certificate and associated private key from one installation and import it into the other installations.

For more information about using EFS, see Chapter 18, “Using Encrypting File System.”

Planning for Dynamic Update

Dynamic Update is a feature in Windows XP Professional Setup that works with Windows Update to download critical fixes and drivers needed for the setup process. This feature updates the required Setup files to improve the process of getting started with Windows XP Professional. Dynamic Update also downloads device drivers from the Windows Update site that are not included on the Windows XP Professional operating system CD, which ensures that devices attached to the computer work. Updates to existing drivers are not downloaded during Dynamic Update, but you can obtain them by connecting to Windows Update after setup is complete.

Dynamic Update downloads the following types of files.

Critical fixes

Dynamic Update replaces files from the Windows XP Professional operating system CD that require critical fixes or updates. Files that are replaced also include DLLs that Setup requires. No new files are downloaded—only replacements for existing files.

Device drivers

Dynamic Update downloads new drivers for devices that are connected to the computer and are required to run Setup. Only drivers that are not included on the operating system CD are downloaded.

Using Dynamic Update

For Dynamic Update to run during Setup, the computer needs an Internet connection (or access to a network share containing updates downloaded from the Windows Update Catalog on the Windows Update Web site) and Internet Explorer 4.01 or later. If either of these requirements is not met, Dynamic Update does not connect to Windows Update or download the required files.

The user is asked whether Setup should look for updates. If the user selects Yes, Dynamic Update connects to the Windows Update and searches for new drivers and critical fixes. In unattended installations, Dynamic Update is enabled by default but can be disabled by setting the following key in the answer file:

DUDisable = yes

Winnt32.exe checks for required disk space, memory, and other Setup requirements. If these requirements are not met, neither the setup process nor the Dynamic Update step proceeds. If the computer meets the setup requirements, Winnt32.exe checks the size of the Dynamic Update download to determine whether there is enough space to download the file.

The estimated size of the download is based on the size of the cabinet (.cab) files, and the total amount of disk space required for the downloaded files cannot be determined. Winnt32.exe checks the size of the files again after they are extracted from the downloaded CAB files.

For more information about creating and customizing answer files, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations,” and Microsoft Windows Pre-installation Reference (Ref.chm) on the Windows XP Professional operating system CD.

Obtaining the Dynamic Update Package

If you plan to roll out Windows XP Professional to a large number of computers, you might not want multiple users connecting to the Microsoft Windows Update Web site to download critical fixes and device drivers. Using Dynamic Update, you can download the needed files from the Windows Update Corporate site and place them on a share within your network where client computers can connect during setup. This saves bandwidth and gives you more control over what files are copied to each computer. This process also lets you choose device drivers to include during the Dynamic Update phase of setup.

Note Dynamic Update might download different sets of files at different times, depending on the currently available fixes.

To download the Dynamic Update package, go to the Microsoft Download Center (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads) and under Product/Technology select Windows XP. Then search for the keywords “dynamic update” and download the latest version of the Dynamic Update package. This download is an executable self-extracting cabinet file. Run this file to expand the Dynamic Update CAB files into the shared network folder. Prepare the shared folder by running Winnt32 with the /DUPrepare:[pathtonetworkshare] parameter.

You can point to the network share containing the Dynamic Update files by running Winnt32.exe together with the /DUShare parameter or by specifying the location of the share in your answer file. For more information about downloading the Dynamic Update package, preparing the downloaded files for Dynamic Update, and installing the downloaded update files during unattended setup, see Chapter 2, “Automating and Customizing Installations.”

Planning for Windows Product Activation

Windows Product Activation (WPA) deters software piracy by requiring your Windows XP Professional installation to be activated. Product Activation is based on requiring each unique installation to have a unique product key.

WPA ties your Product Key and Product ID to your computer by creating an installation ID. The installation ID is made up of your Product Identification (PID) and a PC identifier, called a hardware ID, or HWID. The installation ID is sent to a Microsoft license clearinghouse, which verifies whether Microsoft manufactured that PID and that the PID has not been used to install the operating system on more hardware than is defined by the product’s End-User License Agreement (EULA). For Windows XP Professional, the EULA states that you can install on one computer. If this check fails, activation of Windows XP Professional fails. If this check passes, your computer receives a confirmation ID that activates your computer. After Windows is activated, you never need to perform Product Activation again, unless you significantly overhaul the hardware in your computer. You must activate your installation within 30 days after installing Windows XP Professional.

If the Product Key is used to install Windows on a second computer, the activation fails. Additionally, if WPA detects that the current installation of Windows is running on a different computer than it was originally activated on, you must activate it again. In this way, WPA prevents casual copying of Windows.

Note WPA is not required under volume-licensing agreements.

For unattended installations that are not performed using volume-licensing media, a separate answer file, including a unique Product Key, must be created for each computer on which Windows XP Professional is installed.

Warning Because Product Keys cannot be determined from within the system, it is recommended that you create a database that lists each computer and the Product Key that corresponds to its installation.

Additional Resources

These resources contain additional information related to this chapter.

Related Information

  • The Planning Server Deployments book in the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Deployment Kit for information about planning a Windows Server 2003 environment

  • Microsoft Windows Desktop Deployment Resource Kit (Microsoft Press, 2004) by Jerry Honeycutt

  • The Deployment Planning Guide of the Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit for more information about designing a server environment, including planning your network and directory service infrastructure, for your organization

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