Congratulations: You have built your very own custom computer, you have gone over the steps and checked yourself, and then double checked yourself to make sure you covered everything, and now you’re ready to learn how to install the operating system and other software to run your new computer.
There are a few things we need to do before your computer is operational, we need an Operating System and some other software installed to make this happen. In this phase you will learn how to configure the Bios Utility, install the Operating system along with other software that’s needed to support the hardware in your machine.
FYI this step in building your computer will take the most time to complete, not because it’s difficult, but because it just takes a lot of time for your computer to complete each of the steps. So hang in there, you will have your computer up and running in a few hours or less. As we are going through the first step, you will want to refer to your motherboards manual where it will give you a clearer picture of how your motherboard boots up to the Bios Utility.
What is the Bios Utility, (basic input/output system), this is where we tell the computer which drive to boot up from, so when we turn on the computer it will boot from the drive we select. To start out we are going to tell the computer to boot from your Optical drive where you will insert your Operating System disk, it will then look at the disk for an executable file, and run that program. That program is going to install your operating system.
Running the Bios Setup Utility:
Once you have found what key to press, to enter the Bios utility, you will want to press and hold that key while pressing the power button on your computer. This will bring up the Bios utility screen, now from here you should be on the main page where it will show a summary of the components installed on your computer. Check and make sure everything is listed that you have installed on your computer, such as the right amount of memory, the hard drive or drives, your CD/DVD drive, a Graphics card or Sound card (if you installed either of these).
Now if any of them don’t show up, then power down your computer and correct any errors made installing the item that isn’t showing up, such as a memory module not seated properly, or no power plug to the drives, and so on. Once you have done that power up your computer again. If your mouse does not work, don’t panic this happens in older motherboards, and all you have to do is use the arrow keys to maneuver around.
OK next you want to find the Device page, (it might be shown under a different word), use your mouse or arrow keys and highlight this, hit enter and check to make sure the setting is set to AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) for Widows 7 or higher. If you are going to use Windows XP operating system you will want to configure this setting to IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics).
Next look for the Hard Drive Boot Priority or Boot order page, once you have found it set your First Boot Drive to your CDRom. If you’re going to use a flash drive set it to USB. Set the Second Boot Drive to your Hard Drive, and the rest you can leave as is or set them to whatever you would like. Once you have completed all of these tasks you will want to Save and exit, then power down the computer.
If you would like while you’re in the Setup Utility go explore all of the options that it has to offer, change only those that you are comfortable with. It’s a good idea to refer to your manual when making any changes to the Bios. You can always come back and browse around anytime you would like to. Now you’re ready to move on to loading your Operating System.
Installing Windows Operating System:
Once you have completed the steps above, you are ready to install the operating system, so grab the Operating system disk (or flash drive) and insert it into the CD/DVD drive, or USB port. Turn your power back on. This is where your Bios will take over and look for the First Boot Drive, when it has found that drive it will look for the installation program on it. Then it will load the execution program and from there it will take you through the steps to load your Operating System.
This is going to give you a startup screen showing you the operating system installation screen, from here go ahead and click on the install button and follow the instructions. If this is your first time loading an operating system, chose the custom install and accept the default of where to install the system, click next and the program will start.
This procedure can take up to an hour to complete, so just leave the computer alone and let it do its thing, which will consists of restarting a few times before it is finished. So go grab a drink, watch a movie, read a book, or whatever you would like to do while waiting for the program to complete. Once it has completed it will boot your computer to the Windows Desktop screen. Before you get to far ahead you will want to shut down your computer and reset your boot priority drive to your hard drive, this way it won’t keep trying to boot off of your optical or USB drive. Your next step is going to be loading all of the Device Drivers.
Installing the Device Drivers:
The Device Drivers are the programs that enable the operating system to interact with your devices, such as your audio, video, hard drive, CD/DVD drive, USB ports and so on. If you’re Ethernet or Wi-Fi loaded with the last boot of Windows, your Operating System should start looking on the internet for your Drivers and start downloading them. If your Ethernet driver does not work, then you will need to load it from the Device driver disk that came with your motherboard.
Once you have your Ethernet driver installed, Windows should start downloading the other drivers needed for your hard drive, audio, video, and so on. If Window does not load them, you can always load the driver’s from the disk that came with your motherboard, or you can go to the Motherboard support page on the internet and load all the current ones from there. Either way, you just want the have the most current versions of device drivers loaded, so your computer can operate to its fullest ability. Now let’s go and get your windows operating system up to date, whereas it’s more than likely has been pestering you to do that already.
Getting Windows up to Date:
Now that you have your operating system and device drivers loaded it is time to get windows updated. So with your computer up and running you will want to go to the control panel and find Windows update tab, from there follow the instructions on downloading and installing the updates. Depending on how new of the version of your operating system is, this will determine how long it will take to complete this task. The older it is the longer it will take because of all the updates that have come out since your operating system disk was released. This also can take up to an hour or so. Sometimes it takes a few times running the update to gather all of the updates, so be patient it will get there.
You now have your Operating System installed:
Well, now I hope you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, because you have just completed the entire tasks needed to building a great custom Computer. You now know what hardware is needed for the computer and what each part plays in the operations of it, so if anything goes wrong down the road you will have a pretty good idea where to look and fix it yourself. You may also find that you want to build another one because it was just so darn much fun and easy to do. So go bug your family and friends to see if they need a new computer and build one for them.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions at all or comments you can leave them below and I will get back with you.
For your entertainment I have provided the following video by EasyPCbuilder where he will walk you through the steps to install you Operating System.