How to Build a Computer, Lesson 4: Installing Your Operating System

now that you ‘ve put everything together, you ‘re past all the difficult stages—the remainder is a cakewalk. here ‘s how to install your operate system and get everything up and running. If you ‘ve never installed an OS before, it ‘s signally easy. If you have, I ‘d still suggest reading through this guide to make certain you ‘ve got it all down. Installing Windows on a custom-made machine can take a few supernumerary steps than installing it on a pre-built machine. For this guide, we ‘re going to use Windows 7 as an model, but you can of course install Windows XP, Linux, or even Mac OS X, if you ‘re building a Hackintosh. refer to our Getting Started with Linux series and easily Hackintosh guide if you ‘re using those OSes rather.


Step One: Edit your BIOS

When you first start up your calculator, it ‘ll tell you to press a key to enter frame-up, normally DEL. This takes you to the apparatus of your Basic Input/Output System, or BIOS. hera, you can configure some of the lowest-level aspects of your raw machine. You may not actually need to edit any of these settings, but it ‘s a good mind to go through, get acquainted with them, and make indisputable everything ‘s in good order before moving on. G/O Media may get a commissionJachs NY Fall Sale 60% Off 60 % off Jachs NY Fall Sale 60 % Off Styles starting at $29
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first, make certain that everything ‘s been installed correctly. If you have a System Information foliate in your BIOS, forefront there and make certain the amount of RAM listed is the lapp amount you put in. If it is n’t detecting all of your RAM, some of it might not be seated correctly, so go back and fix that before continuing. If there is n’t a System Information page in your BIOS, your motherboard probably lists the come of RAM it detects on the POST shield, right after you press the power button. Find the SATA shape option, and make sure its configured as AHCI. If you ‘re running Windows XP you ‘ll need to change this to IDE, otherwise AHCI is credibly what you want to go with. ad

last, find the “ Boot Order ” or “ boot Priority ” page. Make sure your DVD drive is the first gear drive on the list ( or your USB campaign if you ‘re installing from a news bulletin drive ), and that the hard drive you ‘ll be installing to is second. eminence that some BIOS utilities split this up into two menus—one for setting the boot arrange for your unlike media ( CD-ROM, hard disks, USB disks ) and another that lets you choose the order of just the hard drives. ad

If you do n’t see your hard drive listed, it may not be plugged in correctly or it may be absolutely. Turn your computer off and re-check the connection if necessary. ad

These are the most crucial BIOS options you want to tweak, but there ‘s a distribute of early material going on in there. I encourage you to explore and look things up that you do n’t know, since it has some other useful settings. If you want to know more about your BIOS options, our friends at the How-To Geek have a nice summation of utilitarian tweaks, therefore check that out when you have some time. For now, we ‘re going to get on with the initiation serve .

Step Two: Install Windows


Before you install Windows, make certain you have the optimum version for your system. That is, if you have more than 4GB of RAM, you ‘ll want to use 64-bit Windows rather of the standard 32-bit—that will allow your organization to take advantage of all of your RAM. You can read more about this in our scout to 64-bit vs. 32-bit operating systems. ad

once you ‘ve got the proper version of Windows, grab the facility DVD ( or flash drive, if that be the sheath ) and pop it in. Start up your calculator and it should mechanically boot into the Windows installer. If you ever get a “ Press any keystone to boot from cadmium ” option, make surely to hit a key on your keyboard to continue. once the installer load, hit the “ Install now ” button, accept the terms of use, and choose “ Custom ( advanced ) ” when asked what type of installation you want. Find your primary coil hard drive ( if you have more than one ), click on the “ Unallocated space ” partition, and hit Next. Windows should start install. ad

If you are n’t using a brand new drive, you may have to format it first. Click on the currently-used division, snap “ Drive options ( advanced ) ”, and then hit “ Format ”. It should format the drive to be Windows-compatible, after which you can hit future and let the facility run. ad

From there, the lie is fair a expect game. Leave your computer alone to do its thing. It ‘ll copy all the necessary files to your disk and reboot a number of times in the process. You ‘ll know you ‘re done when you hear the familiar startup chime and boot into the default Windows 7 background .

Step Three: Install Your Drivers


The last thing you need to do before you actually use your computer is install your drivers. If your ethernet or Wi-Fi works out-of-the-box, Windows may find most or all of your drivers for you. If not, you ‘ll need to pop in the four hundred that came with your motherboard to install the Ethernet or Wi-Fi drivers you need to access the internet. Do n’t install any other drivers from that compact disk barely yet. once you ‘ve got the internet up and running, Windows will install drivers for you. It might not catch everything though, so you ‘ll have to install some manually. The CDs that came with your motherboard, video card, and early hardware are probably already out of date, so I do n’t recommend using them to install drivers. ad

rather, you ‘ll want to download the drivers manually from the manufacturer ‘s web site. Head to your motherboard ‘s support page and download any necessary drivers, including chipset, audio, SATA, and any other drivers listed. note that you credibly only want the drivers—you do n’t want the supernumerary bundled software it offers, unless there ‘s something in there you in truth want. For your video drivers, download them straight from NVIDIA or AMD ‘s network site preferably than the menu manufacturer ‘s locate. ad

Step Four: Install Windows Updates


The last thing you ‘ll want to do is get Windows up to date. Chances are, you ‘ve already gotten a notification from Windows Update at this point, but if not, point into your Start Menu, go to Programs, and hit Windows Update. Install all the updates it gives you, and reboot your computer. Check for updates again and it ‘ll have a whole newly swerve of them for you. You ‘ll have to do this quite a few times, but finally it should stop serving you notifications and you ‘ll be all up to date. When you are, you ‘re quick to actually start using your computer. This is besides a good time to get some antivirus on your car, vitamin a good as any early basic apps you want. Our Lifehacker Pack for Windows is a good put to start, and should get those “ must have ” apps installed in one fell pounce. ad

Congratulations ! You ‘ve bought, built, and set up a working calculator from start to finish ! Do n’t be alarmed if you feel an overwhelm common sense of pride ; that ‘s normal. Enjoy your new custom-built machine, and be certain to come back tomorrow for more utilitarian PC-building resources, angstrom well as a handful of fun projects you can take on with your modern calculator. ad

Check out the fully Lifehacker Night School series for more beginners lessons covering all sorts of topics .

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Category : Tech FAQ

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