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The PNA Series and Windows XP


Important Information Regarding the PNA and Windows XP
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Since its introduction, the PNA has shipped with Windows 2000 (W2k). Under a new Microsoft licensing agreement, Agilent can no longer ship Window 2000 as of April, 2004, so beginning then, all PNAs contain XP as the operating system. This has numerous effects on service and support. This page documents some of these effects and attempts to answer some commonly asked questions.

First, some background:
  • Early RF versions of the PNA were shipped with a 266MHz CPU board and only 64MB of RAM. These early CPU boards can be identified by looking at the rear panel USB port. If it is oriented horizontally, then it is the older 266MHz CPU board. The use of XP on this older CPU is not supported!
  • Between January 1, 2004 and mid April, 2004, PNAs were shipped with an XP license tag (located on right side of instrument), but actually contained Windows 2000 as the operating system. Again, this was a Microsoft requirement. Please note if you have this license tag, as you may need it later.
  • Most all PNA's shipped before April 1, 2004, have 10GB hard drives; there were a handful of exceptions. You can verify the size of the drive by double-clicking on My Computer and combining the "Total Size" of both the C: and D: drives. The use of XP on this 10GB drive is not supported. This is due mainly to size restrictions.

Starting in mid April, 2004, all PNAs are shipped with XP as the operating system. The firmware installed at that time was A.04.25. This firmware (as well as all others below 6.00) has been thoroughly tested on both XP and W2k and the same version of firmware can be installed on either operating system equally well. Users should see very little difference in the way the PNA operates. All PNA's originally shipped with XP will have a 5400 RPM, 40GB hard drive. Service Pack 2 for XP was incorporated in December, 2004. For more information on Service Pack 2, see this summary page.

Note: Under our Microsoft licensing agreements, Agilent cannot supply new PNA's with Windows 2000 after April, 2004.


  • Customers with an older 266MHz CPU can switch to XP by ordering two kits: Model #N8981A (HD) and E8364-60026 (CPU kit). This will contain a new 1.1GHz CPU board (with 1GB of RAM), new 40GB hard drive, and a new license tag. The cost of these kits will be about $4500. Customers can install this themselves if desired.
  • Customers with a 500MHz CPU board, but without the XP license tag, can switch to XP by ordering kit model N8980A. This will contain a new 40GB hard drive (with cradle) and new license tag, as well as a floppy disk needed to install a new version of the bios. The cost of this kit will be about $875.
  • Those few customers with an existing XP license tag, but with W2K as the OS (those shipped between Jan 1st and mid-April 2004) should contact Agilent regarding any upgrade information; be prepared to supply your model and serial number. Labor costs and import duties are not included, however this kit is easily installable by the end user.
Note: To maintain instrument calibration with any of these upgrades, you must save all files in the Network Analyzer directory (C:\Program Files\Agilent\Network Analyzer) that begin with "mxcalfile_" to a floppy disk. Once the new system is installed, move the files back to the same directory. Also save any other files you may need. Click here for full installation Instructions (in Word format) for model N8980A.

Minimum Requirements: The minimum requirement for XP on the PNA is a 500MHz CPU board, 256MB RAM and a 40GB hard drive. Customers cannot install XP manually on exisiting PNAs. While the installation of the XP operating system may work, the PNA application requires many configuration changes and special drivers. Without the proper configuration, the PNA would function only as a PC. Manual installation of XP will not be supported.

Must I upgrade my PNA to XP? Yes or No; depending! Version 4.xx and 5.xx should continue to function fine on Windows 2000. Firmware version 6.01 and above requires XP. As currently planned, customers wanting to continue with firmware upgrades will have to switch to XP. Firmware revision 6.xx will not install on a Windows 2000 system. Note: Once Microsoft's Vista operating system is officially released, the PNA will ship incorporate it within a few months. This is the current plan, but it could change without notice. In any case, the firmware page will have any restrictions noted.

Can I manually install XP myself? No! There are several files, drivers, and other configurations that must be made by Agilent. The PNA will cease to function as a network analyzer if XP is manually installed! Agilent will not support any PNA where this has been attempted and the user will have to pay for another hard drive and license. All upgrades must be performed through the methods/kits described above.

Repairs: Repairs on the PNA will present some problems. If the repair is strictly a hardware related item that does not involve the hard drive or CPU board, the operating system will remain unchanged for now. If however, either the hard drive or CPU board is suspected, then the PNA may be returned with XP as the operating system (this has not been finalized yet.) In any case, it is always a good idea to save any needed files before sending the PNA in for repair.

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2006
Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 2000 are registered trade marks of Microsoft Corporation

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