How to Install a Windows Operating System

October 21, 2015 | By Kevin Shih | PCDIY

So, you finished building your first PC, now what?

One of the biggest concerns and worries most builders have when it comes to buying the parts and choosing to do everything yourself is in the uncertainty of how to get from components to a working system. The installation of the operating system (OS) is the key piece to the puzzle that transforms glorious pieces of PC technology into a series of interfaces and applications useable to almost everyone. Altogether, this process is a lot easier than it sounds so fear not, we’re here to guide you through the process.

There are multiple ways you can go about this process and the most traditional way is with the DVD provided by the OS manufacturer. The second method is with a 4GB USB pen drive (we recommend 8GB) which can be created via Microsoft’s creation utilities.

Here are links to its setup process:

Once you power on your system for the first time and you got the system to POST (display on screen), load into the BIOS (usually by pressing the DEL key) and make sure your connected drives are displayed under SATA devices. If you have your DVD or USB pen drive inserted, check to see if you BIOS has detected the bootable volume and change the boot priority if necessary. If your motherboard can force boot to a detected device, you can choose to load into the installation that way as well.

Alternatively, when you start up the system, you can press F8 or F11 to display a list of bootable devices which can then be selected. If prompted to ‘Press Any Key’, do so to enter the OS installation. You will be asked to enter your Product Key so be sure to have it ready.

Go through the prompted dialogs and drop-down selections and once you are asked to select which type of installation, choose the one that best suits your needs. We will guide you through the Custom (Advanced) option as this lets you customize the way your drives are partitioned.

We recommend having an SSD to use as your OS drive while it also serves as the drive for frequently-used software and having a secondary hard drive for used to store your data. If you will be using a single hard drive, we recommend you split the partitions so your OS is on one partition and data on the other.

SSD Installation

  1. Select the drive while paying attention the ‘Total size’ to ensure you have the correct drive selected.
  2. Click ‘New’ to create a new partition and enter the desired partition size. Windows will automatically create a 300MB System Reserved partition.
  3. Choose the newly created partition and click ‘Next’ to continue Windows installation.

Hard Disk Drive (Split Partitions) Installation

  1. Select the drive while paying attention the ‘Total size’ to ensure you have the correct drive selected.
  2. Click ‘New’ to create a new partition and enter the desired partition size. We recommend creating a partition that is no less than 100GB for your OS, more if you choose to have a lot of software installed if you have a 1TB hard drive. Windows will automatically create a 300MB System Reserved partition.
  3. Choose the newly created partition and click ‘Next’ to continue Windows installation.

And Done!

Once the Windows installation finishes copying and installing the OS, you will be prompted for a system restart. The restart should automatically take you into the OS for the first time and you will be asked to enter your user details as well as customizing the appearance and settings of the OS. Once you have everything setup how you like it, you can then start using your brand new PC!

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