BOOT CAMP 440 (05/09/06)
Build your own Vista-Ready PC, part 5
of truth has arrived and it is time to breath life into your newly assembled
PC. I would leave the side panel off for the moment, so you can carry out a
final check when the power is switched on, and for easy access, in case you
need to do a spot of troubleshooting. The mains power supply is totally encased
so it is safe to do so and there are no dangerous voltages anywhere else inside
monitor, mouse keyboard and speakers, there’s no need for anything else at this
stage. Make one final check inside the case, plug in the mains lead and switch
on. If everything has gone according to plan the PC will power up; confirm that
the CPU fan is operating and after a few moments you should see the BIOS screen
appear followed by a message saying the PC is unable to boot. This is all good
news and suggests that everything is working properly and you are now ready to
install the operating system. If the PC doesn’t power up or you don’t see any
on-screen messages proceed to this week’s Top Tip.
Windows XP (or Windows Vista) on a new PC is very easy (older versions of
Windows may not work) and you can do so using either a full retail or upgrade
disc. However, if you are using an Upgrade disc you must have a full retail CD
for Windows 98, 98SE, ME, NT4 or Windows 2000 Professional available; we’ll
come back to that in a moment.
Open the DVD
drive, load the XP disc and switch on. The PC should boot from the DVD drive
but in case it doesn’t you will have to enter the BIOS program by tapping the
F2 key a second or two after you have switched the computer on. On the BIOS
Setup menu that appears use the right/left cursor keys to select the ‘Boot’ tab
and the up/down keys to select ‘1st Boot Device’. Press Enter then use the
cursor up/down keys to select ‘CD/DVD’, press Enter. Finally select the Exit
tab, select ‘Save Changes and Exit’ and press Enter. You’ll be asked to confirm
so press Enter again and restart the computer. A message appears asking you to
press any key to boot from CD, press a key and the PC should now boot from the
XP installation disc.
screen appears and files are loaded, you will then be prompted to press Enter
to continue the installation. The XP Licence agreement appears, press F8 to
agree to it. If you are using an XP Upgrade disc you will be asked to load your
Windows 98/SE/ME/NT/2k disc for the verification check. When prompted remove
the disc, reload the XP disc, Setup will resume and you will be asked to select
and format a partition on the hard disc drive.
If you only
want to install Windows XP then I would use a single large partition. If you
want to dual boot (i.e. Windows XP and Vista, or Linux etc.) then now would be
a good time to split the drive into two or more partitions. This part of the
proceedings may take a few minutes, depending on the size of the disc, after
which XP will run through the rest of the installation process.
After 30 to
40 minutes and a couple of reboots
Windows XP will be installed on your PC and you can finish off by loading the
remaining video, audio and motherboard drivers from the utility CD that came
with the motherboard. If the CD doesn’t start automatically open the disc in
Windows Explorer, open the BIN folder, double-click ASSETUP.exe, select the
Drivers tab and follow the instructions.
This should only take another 10 minutes or so, after which your new PC is
ready to use. Next week, in the final instalment we’ll be looking at installing Windows
Vista, fine-tuning, upgrades and add-ons.
NEXT WEEK – Build your own PC,
Output System: diagnostic and configuration program that checks the PC hardware
before the operating system is loaded
The hard, floppy, CD/DVD or USB
drive used to boot a PC
single large hard disc drive into two or more separate (logical) drives, so a
120Gb drive, for example, could be split into two 60Gb partitions designated C:
The DT Mk II is a very
straightforward design and the chances of anything going wrong are quite small,
but if you do experience problems here’s a few things to try.
If the PC is completely dead
when you press the front panel On button (i.e. no fans working or front panel
lights illuminated) check the power switch on the back is in the on position
and the fuse in the mains plug. If it still doesn’t work disconnect the mains
lead and check front panel power and reset switch connections to the System
Panel ‘header’ (see Part 4) on the motherboard. Check also the two power connector cables to the motherboard are
properly inserted. If it still shows no sign of life then the motherboard or
the power supply module may be faulty.
If the PC starts up but nothing
appears on the screen make sure that you have a working monitor, it is powered
up, switched on and the monitor cable is connected to the video socket on the
rear of the PC.
If the PC emits any bleeping
noises immediately after switch on check that the memory modules are securely
seated. Any other strange noises are probably due to cables coming into contact
with the CPU cooling fan.
If the PC works but the power
on and hard disc activity LEDs are not illuminating check the cables and the
polarity of the connectors on the System Panel header on the motherboard.
© R. Maybury 2006, 3008
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