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Installing Windows XP Pro on Asus eee PC
Product:Installing Windows XP Pro on Asus eee PC
Author:Nano-ZTX
Date:December 26th, 2007

Although shipped from the factory with only Linux KDE by Xandros, Asus eee PC is fully capable of running Windows XP on the included, small, Solid State Drive. Paper manual included in the package also gives decent instructions on installing Windows XP.

This review will take a step further by installing a lighter version of Windows XP Pro on eee PC to reduce the storage usage and also remove parts of Windows XP that are not necessary for an Ultra Mobile PC. As an added bonus, we will see how to over-clock the Asus eee PC to make it run faster than factory shipped settings.

Preparing a Custom Windows XP Lite Boot CD
Installing Windows XP Pro on Asus eee PC

There are various ways and programs to reduce the size of a Windows XP installation in order to minimize the storage use and task load on smaller computer systems. While it is capable, Asus eee PC is no blazing fast PC either. With a tiny 4GB or 8GB SSD storage, it really needs as much free space as it can get. So it is good time to take that old Windows XP installation CD to a fitness process to become a big loser it should be. For installing successfully into an Asus eee PC, Windows XP install CD must be at least Service Pack 2 edition.

For the XP fitness process in this review nLite from www.nliteos.com was used. nlite features a very simple step-by-step process with graphical user interface to pick and choose parts of Windows XP to be removed. There is also a safety-lock feature to prevent essential parts of Windows XP from being removed by accident. Each of the components to be removed is accompanied by a description on the side to help make an informed decision. nlite can burn the installation files onto a bootable CD or an image file to burn to a disc later on.

To make things easier, here is a list of components in Windows XP an eee PC can do without.

  • Accessibility Options
  • Briefcase
  • Defragmenter
  • Games
  • Internet Games
  • Pinball
  • Screen-savers

Many drivers inside Windows XP are not used at all for an eee PC, those can be removed as well. Since all the drivers for eee PC are provided on driver CD included in the package, there aren't many drivers that are needed from Windows XP CD.

  • Display Adapters
  • Display Adapters (old)
  • IBM PS/2 TrackPoint
  • IBM Thinkpad
  • Logitech Wingman
  • Microsoft SideWinder
  • Modems
  • Multi-Functional Cards
  • Portable Audio
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Serial Pen Tablet
  • Sony Jog Dial
  • Sound Controllers
  • Tape Drives
  • Toshiba DVD Decoder Card
  • Wireless Ethernet

Hardware support inside Windows XP CD requires careful selection while removing, or the entire process can fail. Things that can be removed safely just for the eee PC are listed below.

  • AGP filters
  • ALI 1535 SMBus
  • ALI IDE Controller
  • Brother Devices
  • CPU AMD
  • CPU Transmeta Crusoe
  • Firewire Support
  • Firewire Network Support
  • Gravis Digital Gameport
  • Multi-Processor Support
  • RAMDISK
  • Toshiba PCI IDE Controller
  • VIA PCI IDE Controller

The rest of the options such are language or keyboard support are really up to each individual's preference. Certain Services such as UPS support, Indexing Service, System Restore can also be removed to free up a lot more resources.

Removing components from a Windows XP installation CD is not the only thing nLite can do. It can also add in service packs or custom drivers into Windows XP installation files or make unattended install configurations for quicker overall process. These are not really necessary for Asus eee PC so we will move on to installing the Windows XP.

Installing Windows XP on Asus eee PC

Since Asus eee PC doesn't come with any optical drive, an external USB disc drive will be needed to boot from the Windows XP install CD. Before installing Windows XP, Asus manual instructs going into the BIOS settings by pressing F2 during initial startup and changing the 'OS Install' option to 'Start'. This can be set to 'Finish' once the entire Windows XP installation is complete.

Booting from the Windows XP install CD and going through the install process is fairly mundane and nothing else seems to be different. After the install process and reaching to Windows XP desktop, Driver CD provided by Asus will install all the necessary drivers, starting with Asus ACPI software which controls the power management and eee PC specific function keys such as brightness Up/Down. Also included in the Driver CD is an eee PC version of Asus Update software to update the BIOS. As of the time of writing, factory shipped BIOS version 0401 is the latest official release.

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