How to Build a Computer – Partitioning the Hard Disk & Installing Windows

The final part of any computer build is the software installation and configuration. After all that hard work assembling the system, sadly – you’re only 50% complete because the final part of the task is to get an operating system installed with drivers, updates and programs.

These days, installing an operating system is a great deal easier than it used to be. For the PC, you have two choices really: – Windows, or Linux. 95% of people will choose Windows, because it’s what 95% of PC’s need.

Luckily, when it comes to installation – a Windows install really is quite easy. Take a look at our quick step by step to guide you through the most hardest part of the install which is setting up your disk drives.

  1. Make sure your computer is set to boot from the install media. Once it is, insert the Windows DVD and boot your computer. It should load automatically.
  2. Choose Install Now and select region appropriate settings for your time, keyboard and language. Make sure to choose CUSTOM install, because we are installing a new system, not upgrading an old one.
  3. After clicking next, you will be asked where you want to install Windows. If you have one hard disk, it should say something like “Disk 0 Unallocated Space” – if you remember from when you installed your hard disks, the lowest numbered disk drive is the ‘master’ – so click once on disk 0 and then choose Drive Options (advanced)
  4. Here’s where it gets a little complicated – Normally, it’s OK to have Windows installed on just one partition, but ideally it’s always best to have a separate partition for music, photos and other things that you don’t want to lose if you need to re-install Windows. To do this, we are going to create TWO partitions. The first will be at least 40GB, but not more than 150 GB. The second will be for the remainder of free space you have remaining.
  5. To do this, Click on “Disk0 Unallocated Space” and then press New. After you click New, you can type in how large you want the partition to be in megabytes. Remember, 1GB = 1000 MB, so 100GB = 100000MB
  6. For the second partition, click again on “Disk0 Unallocated Space”   do the same, except don’t change the size box entry because it will have the free space remaining automatically entered.
  7. After that Click on each of the new partitions and choose Format.
  8. Windows will install automatically. It can take up to an hour to install Windows. This is a great time to have a break, drink a coffee and celebrate your new build

During the Windows install process, the system will reboot a few times and some tests will run etc. Once the install is generally completed, setup will ask you for a username and a computer name. Feel free to enter anything you wish. Likewise when it asks you for a password, feel free to enter one, or leave it blank.

After this, Windows will ask you for a product key. It’s perfectly acceptable to just click Next and enter the product key later, however be warned you only have a few days to do so. To finish things off – double check the date, time and time zone and you’re done.

The next steps will involve using the Mainboard driver DVD to install drivers. After driver installation is complete, it’s time to install programs.

At this point, you should have a fully working computer after you have installed drivers. The build is now complete on both a hardware and software level. The first thing many enthusiasts like to do after setting up the initial Windows environment is to do a benchmark and see just how fast their new PC is.

Congratulations on building and configuring your new PC, we hope it will be the first of many.

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