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A PC To Die For: Part 2 - You Can Build It Yourself

Partitioning and formatting the hard disk drive, installing the operating system and sqashing the bugs

By Greg Swain

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Installing the operating system on a new computer is usual­ly quite straightforward – a piece of cake, in fact. If you haven’t been through the process before, here’s your chance to learn.

We’re going to describe the installation of Windows Me but the procedure is pretty much the same for other operating systems. Basically, it involves a 5-step process:

(1) Tweak a few motherboard BIOS settings;

(2) Partition and format the hard disk drive;

(3) Install the operating system;

(4) Install specialised device drivers, as necessary (eg, for graphics and sound cards); and

(5) Connect to the Internet and down­load any critical updates for the operating system.

OK, we’re about to turn the computer on for the first time but before doing so, it’s a good idea to remove the sound card. Yes, we know that we instructed you to install this card last month but experience has shown that it’s best to install the operating system first, then add the sound card later. The same applies to any other devices.

Now take a good look at the system and check that every­thing is correct. In particular, make sure that all the drive cables and power connectors are plugged in and that nothing can interfere with the CPU fan. If this stalls, you’ll get a distinct burning money smell as the CPU "fries".

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