You donwload all your drivers for your laptop model. Simply go on the support web site of your laptop's manufacturer. Burn all the drivers on a CD. If you have a trial for an antivirus ( like Kaspersky ) in a .exe file, burn it also on the CD. It is the second thing to install. If the antivirus is on another CD, then, you don't need to burn it. You will have to put it in your optical reader to install it after you installed all the drivers. Also : make a backup of all your important file on a DVD ( documents, music, videos, photos, etc. ) or create a network through two computers with the Windows XP Utility ( Start - All Programs - Accesories - Communications - Network setup wizard - it takes 5 minutes maximum to create a network ) to copy all your files from your computer to your friend's computer or your desktop PC.
You must enter in the BIOS ( Basic Inpute / Output System ). Normally, it is not complicated. When you start your computer, you have an option to enter in the BIOS ( on my desktop, your press the DELETE key on the keyboard, others are the space bar ). Any BIOS is the same so I can't describe you in details. But most BIOS have a section of BOOT SEQUENCE or something like that. You must put the optical reader ( your DVD reader ) at the first position. Why ? The system will detect the Windows XP CD in first so it will be able to boot from the CD. Once you made tthe change, exit the BIOS. Normally, the machine will restart.
You simply follow the instructions at the screen. THe system will tell you how many partition you can format. If you find one small partition ( approximately 5 to 10 GB ), it is the system restore partition. It can re-install Windows like it was when you push the Power Button the first time. Don't erease it. It can be useful if you are on a trip and you got a virus that destroy your computer. You simply have to read your manual and press the key during the startup ( in my isnpiron 6400, it is CRTL+F11 I think ) to re-install your operating system, but with all the softwares installed by the manufacturer. You can creat a new partition or format the actual partition. Format this last. It will erease all the files in it. After, you have to do a mathematic equation. 1024 MB = 1 GB. The system will show you how much space available you have on your hard-drive. If you have 71680 MB available, you have 70 GB. Insert number of MB you want or insert the number of MB available that show you the system if you want one master partition -- I recommend to have one partition. You don't have to search through two when you are looking for a file. Be sure that you don't leave 1 or 2 MB. You loose this 1 or 2 MB because they are not partitioned. Be sure that there will be 0 MB available.
Then, follow the isntructions. Windows XP will copy all the files.
When the system will ask you to connect to the Internet to make your registration, don't accept the proposition. You will not be able to connect to the Internet because your drivers for your network / wireless card isn't installed. You must install the driver to go on the Internet. BUT DON'T FORGET THE REGISTRATION PROGRESS AFTER THE REINSTALLATION. YOU HAVE 30 DAYS TO REGISTER YOUR PRODUCT KEY ( product key is written under you laptop, on a Windows XP sticker ).
Don't be affraid by the number of reboot. It is normal.
Ok. Once you arrive for the first time on your desktop, put your drivers CD that you burnt a few hours ago ( you must have an entire afternoon of free to reinstall Windows XP. But if you did this in the past, it will take 2 or 3 hours maximum to reinstall Windows, drivers, antivirus, softwares and to copy your files ). Install all the drivers that you downloaded on the manufaturer's support web site. Once everything is installed, install your security suite ( if you don't have, try Kaspersky Internet Security. This is the best security suite that I never tried ) or your antivirus with your firewall. Now you can go do your Microsoft registration ( if I remember well, you will have something that you can go in the Start menue ... ).
Then, go on the Windows Update and download ALL the available updates ( you need to do a couple of Windows Guenuine Advantage before and also an update to install Microsoft Update ).
Finally, install all your softwares and utilities and copy your files from your other computers through your network or your DVD ( DVD is the less complicated way to copy files ).
My god ... it is longer to write than I was thinking
Good luck !
Oh, one thing : you have to be extremely patient during the re-installation