A good thread about your question.
Or here is the content:
Disable any legacy ports (If any) that you will not be using via the BIOS.
Install Windows 2000 Service Pack 4/WindowsXP Service Pack 2
Go to WindowsUpdate and update everything. (Install network card drivers here if necessary) Repeat process until there are no updates left.
Install the latest version of DirectX, if it is not available through WindowsUpdate. Latest is DirectX 9.0c, available HERE.
Install the latest Via Hyperion 4in1 driver. (These are the Via motherboard chipset and ATA drivers) Latest is Hyperion 4in1 4.51 If you have an AMD64 system and are running Windows XP 64, you need the Hyperion Pro 0.96P2
Install the latest video drivers.
Install latest network card drivers if you have not done so in step
Install latest sound card drivers.
Add other devices one by one, and install their latest drivers, e.g. joystick, graphics tablet, et cetera.
Confirm the system is working and then tweak as required.