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Windows Installation (1)

Author: Patrick Lathan, Gamers Nexus

Installing Microsoft Windows is easy. For the most part, it simply requires following the onscreen instructions and not unplugging the computer. This is a guide to getting installation media and tips for making the installation easier.

Installing or upgrading an operating system is a major software change, and it’s always important to back-up files and to have a plan B before committing to it. The worst case scenario with upgrading Windows is that it fails and a clean install is necessary, which isn’t bad at all if no files are lost.

Optical drives are becoming less common, but Windows installation DVDs are still ubiquitous. The most straightforward way to perform a clean install of Windows is still to use a store-bought Microsoft disc, using an external disc drive (if necessary). Barring that, it’s possible (and convenient) to legally burn a homemade disc or USB drive. Keeping a bootable flash drive around is a great idea even after Windows has been installed, as it can be used to boot or perform repairs on any system with a USB port.

At one point, Microsoft provided free Windows .ISO files, but they now require a valid product key to access downloads. If the website has trouble recognizing a product code, it’s still fairly easy to find legitimate non-cracked Windows disc images elsewhere. An .ISO disc image can be used to create bootable media from a DVD or a flash drive by using the free Windows USB/DVD Download Tool, which is a separate program.

It’s much easier to create bootable media from a working PC in an all-in-one package that downloads the files and creates media with minimum hassle.

Windows 10 Installation

Windows 10 Installation Screen

How to Install Windows 10

Before installing Windows, make sure you have: you download the  Microsoft media creation tool make sure you have:

  1. An internet connection (internet service provider fees may apply).
  2. Sufficient data storage available on a computer, USB or external drive for the download.
  3. A blank USB flash drive or DVD (and DVD burner) with at least 4 GB of space if you want to create media. We recommend using a blank USB or blank DVD, because any content on it will be deleted.
  4. A Windows 10 product key if you are installing it for the first time or if your PC did not have Windows 10 pre-installed by the PC manufacturer.

How to use the Microsoft media creation tool to create installation media:

  1. Select Download tool now, and select Run. You need to be an administrator to run this tool.
  2. If you agree to the license terms, select Accept.
  3. On the What do you want to do? page, select Create installation media for another PC, and then select Next.
  4. Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10.
  5. Select which media you want to use:
    • USB flash drive. Attach a blank USB flash drive with at least 4GB of space. Any content on the flash drive will be deleted.
    • ISO file. Save an ISO file to your PC, which you can use to create a DVD. After the file is downloaded, you can go to location where the file is saved, or selectOpen DVD burner, and follow the instructions to burn the file to a DVD.

After the installation media is created, follow the steps below to use it:

  1. Attach the USB flash drive or insert the DVD on the PC where you want to install Windows 10.
  2. Restart your PC, and then press any key to boot from the USB flash drive or the DVD. Note: If you restart your PC and don’t see the Windows installation menu, you might have to open a boot menu or change the boot order in your PC’s BIOS or UEFI settings so that your PC boots from the media. To open a boot menu or change the boot order, you’ll typically need to press a combination of keys (such as F2, F12, Delete, or Esc) immediately after you turn on your PC.If changing the boot menu or order doesn’t work, try again by shutting down and then starting your PC.
  3. On the Install Windows page, select your language, time, and keyboard preferences, and then select Next.
  4. Select Install Windows.

All current versions of Windows will prompt users for partition tables during installation. To quickly explain this, a “partition” is effectively a segmentation of the hard drive or solid-state drive which creates a “virtual disk” in Windows. If we have a 500GB SSD and split it into two 250GB chunks, Windows will see each of these chunks (called “partitions”) as a separate accessible disk, even though they dwell on the same disk.

It is easiest to store everything on a single partition for some use cases – like a laptop with limited storage – but for gaming, we often recommend a separate OS and gaming partition. This will make it easier to isolate data and organize going forward. It also makes things easier should the OS have to be re-installed, e.g. after an infection, as the secondary partitions can be left untouched. The advantage here is reduced backup requirements, making management easier. – GamersNexus


Linux Installation (1)

Author: Ike Quebec, GamersNexus

Installing an open-source operating system (OS) remains a viable alternative to Mac and Windows. Open-source software is developed, maintained, and published by the community – all for free. In this article, we’ll quickly cover the pros and cons of an open-source OS, then walk through a guide to testing and installing Ubuntu Linux on your PC.

Note: We will focus on Linux-based operating systems in this article. There are many other open-source OSes out there, but it’s not possible to cover them all here. Search for “Linux alternatives,” if you’re curious.

What are the Pros and Cons of Open-Source Operating Systems?

Linux operating systems and entire libraries of software are available for free, allowing you to skip the license fees you’d expect with Windows and Mac systems. Popular software suites like Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative have free substitutes and, while not everything has a free equivalent, many users will find their needs are covered.

The other advantage to using an open-source OS is the ability to customize it. For example, many different distributions or “flavors” of Linux exist, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Arch, and countless others. Distributions come packed with software and access different libraries for additional programs, allowing you to customize the appearance and function of your PC. While that may seem overwhelming, it’s all optional. You can use a distribution as-is, or you can overhaul the system to your liking.

The major drawback of using Linux or another open-source OS is the lack of native support for programs developed for Windows or Mac OS. Projects like Wine allow running Windows applications on Linux, but they aren’t perfect and don’t support all programs. As a result, Linux is not always a good match for gamers. The number of Linux-compatible games on Steam and other platforms is increasing, partly thanks to a push by Valve, yet it’s far from a majority.

Ubuntu Installation

Ubuntu Installation Screen

How to Install Linux Ubuntu

Note: Don’t forget to make a backup of your files before attempting to install any operating system, unless you like to live dangerously. But seriously – make a backup. You’ll be glad you did.

Step 1 – Download Ubuntu Onto USB

We’ll be installing Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in this guide. At the time of writing, this is the most recent long-term support (LTS) build of the Ubuntu distribution, meaning updates for the system are guaranteed for five years. You can download this or other versions from the Ubuntu website:

Step 2 – Create Bootable Media

Once you’ve downloaded the Ubuntu 16.04 ISO file of your choice (I’ve chosen the 64-bit option), you’ll need to create a bootable USB drive with it. There are lots of programs that can do this, including Rufus USB and Universal USB Installer. Be careful to install the Ubuntu ISO file on the USB disk’s label, or you could overwrite another drive accidentally! Once this is complete, you can start the installation process on your PC.

Step 3 – Boot from USB Drive

Insert the bootable USB drive into your PC and power it on. Press the DEL key during the boot process to access the computer’s BIOS. Set the USB drive as the first boot option, then save and exit. Remember to go back and revert this change when the installation is complete.

If you want to try Ubuntu without affecting your PC, choose the “Try Ubuntu” option. If you are certain that you want to install Ubuntu, proceed with “Install Ubuntu.”

Step 4 – Pre-Installation Options

You’ll go through several configuration options in this step.

You can choose to download updates during the installation process or save them for later. Also, at this step you can choose to install MP3, Flash, and other important licensed software. This is done because the software to support MP3 playback and other formats requires separate license agreements and can’t be included by default. I recommend checking this option, as the software is free and supports many popular media formats and some important devices, like WiFi drivers. Make your decision and choose “Continue.”

Step 5 – Format Disk and Install Ubuntu Linux

This next step is important. Data loss can occur if you are not careful! In Image 3, you will see the last screen before the installation process starts. For a standard installation, choose “Erase disk and install Ubuntu,” which will format the PC’s hard drive, deleting all of its contents. A pop-up message will ask you to confirm which drive partition will be erased. Do not press “Continue” unless you are certain this is the right drive to format. If you are sure, click “Continue” to start the installation. If you are unsure, choose “Something else” and specify the partition to format.

Step 6 – Specify Time Zone, Language, and Keyboard Layout

Next, you’ll need to choose your time zone and keyboard language.

Step 7 –  Create Your User Account

In this step you’ll set up your User Account. Provide your name, a name for your PC, a username and a password. Choose “Continue” to start the installation process.

Step 8 – The Installation Begins

Once you’re at this step, all you need is a little patience and your new PC will be ready. Ubuntu will install (Image 8), which can take a while. Once it’s finished, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC (Image 9). Be sure to remove your USB drive after the restart and revert your BIOS boot order changes.

Step 9 – Run Ubuntu Linux

Once your PC reboots, you’ll be greeted with the Ubuntu login screen.

Provide your password and you’ll see the Ubuntu desktop.

Your Ubuntu PC is ready for use! – GamersNexus

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