Step 1:BIOS Setup
After plugging in all essential peripherals like the monitor, keyboard and mouse you are ready to go. The first step after turning on your computer is to enter the BIOS. This can be done by pressing either the DELETE key, F1, F2, F3, F4,F5 or F10. It depends on your motherboard. Usually, it says near the bottom of the logo screen something like:
[DEL] Enter BIOS
For Gigabyte and Asus motherboards the BIOS access key is the DELETE key. See this list for other motherboards. After entering the BIOS, a screen like below should come up (the below screen is for a Gigabyte motherboard):
After entering the BIOS, go to "Advanced BIOS features" or similar and a screen resembling the one below which lets you choose boot priority:
Once you find this option, set the first boot device to CDROM as this is where Windows will install from. You want the computer to boot up the CD and install windows from it. While you are in the BIOS, you can also set the system's time and make your computer RAID ready. You can also disable a few unnecessary features.
Go back to the main menu and go into integrated peripherals from the main menu. Here, the first option will read "SATA RAID/AHCI mode". Set this option to RAID. This enables the RAID option to be installed into the operating system so when you are ready to install another hard drive and set up RAID, it is far easier. However, if you are installing Windows XP you need to install RAID drivers as they do not come with the operating system. If you know that you will not be using RAID then you can leave this option out to save a bit of time. To allow your computer to run faster, you can disable features which you won't use. For example the Onboard Serial Port is for very old printers and it is likely you will never use it. You can disable this to make your computer start up time faster. Feel free to explore the BIOS and see features which you might need or not need. If you are not sure what a feature does though, it is better not to touch it.
Step 2:Install Windows Vista/7
If you have ever had experience installing Windows XP, you will know that installing Windows Vista is a million times easier. It is like installing a program on a computer as you normally would. There is no more fiddling with the keyboard to highlight your choice and the interface is as simple as it gets. The process for installing Windows 7 is almost exactly the same as the Vista process so if you are having trouble installing Windows 7, this guide will get you through. There will be a few slight differences but nothing major. There is no need for a different guide.
The first step before exiting your BIOS is to insert the Windows Vista CD. Now press F10 or whatever key depending on your BIOS to Save & Exit the BIOS. Your computer should now restart. Please note, it is better to install Vista without any add-on cards inside your computer. For example if you had a PCI USB card to add more USB ports, it is better to remove it and reinsert it after installing Windows. This will stop anything going wrong in the installation and if something does, it is easy to locate the problem.
After the computer restarts, the computer will access the CD as it was the first boot device. Sometimes the computer will ask you if you want to boot from the CD. In this case you just press any key to continue. A few loading bars will show as installation files are copied to the hard disk. After this you will see a window. it will ask you to fill in the language details and keyboard types. Fill these in as appropriate.
On the next box click "Install Now". Now type in the product key which should be located on the back of your Vista CD box.
After this, click Custom as your type of installation. This will install a clean copy of Windows Vista on your hard drive.
Next select the Hard Drive which you want Windows to Install on. You may need to format this by clicking "Drive Options" and filling in the box to create new partitions on your hard drive. If the drive is brand new, select the "New: button and if you only want one partition, just click okay. You can also reformat existing drives and other hard drives installed in your computer even if you don't intend to install Windows on it.
Now Windows will install. Just sit back and wait!
Step 3:Set-up Windows Vista
Now the next step is to set-up Windows. This is very easy and is all based on your personl taste. Your computer may restart after installing Windows. Then you should get a Windows Set-up box. It asks you to type in you name and a password if you want, as well as select a user account picture.
Then the next screen will ask you to give your computer a name. This will be used for networking and for telling your computer apart from others in your household. You also get to select your favourite desktop background.
After this, with Windows Update select use recommended settings. This is will give you optional as well as important updates.
The next step is to see if your computers time is correct. If you set it in the BIOS it should be but otherwise you can set it up now.
Now you are done. Windows may do a few other things before but eventually your computer will start up. Now you are ready to personalise it, connect it to the internet to activate it and install all your programs on to your computer!