May 26, 2011

Installing an Operating System

Installing an Operating System

The first thing you need to do is determine why you need to install an operating system. Is there something wrong with your existing install that cannot be fixed? Or perhaps you are doing an upgrade and would like to install a new version of an operating system. One more option might be that you have replaced your hard drive and simply need to install the same operating system you were using before. Presuming you know the whys, next ensure that you know exactly which operating system you wish to install.

Next is to make sure that you backup all your data. Bookmarks, Pictures, Documents and even things like game saves. When you are sure you are ready to go you can proceed. Even if you are just going to do an upgrade installation it is wise to have everything backed up in case something fails or goes wrong. Also avoid making a simple mistake like backing up your things on the same drive, put your backups on some type of removable media. Now you are ready to install the operating system.

It’s advisable to have an extra computer if you run into problems so you can look on the operating system developer’s website or search the internet for tips on your issues. Start by placing the media into the CD or DVD Rom drive and then boot the computer, you may need to enter the computers BIOS and change the setting that sets the boot order, ensuring that the optical drive boots first and not the hard drive. The computer should start booting from the disks and then you can proceed following on screen prompts to complete the installation.

Selecting a New Hard Drive

A 2.5" laptop hard drive sitting on a 3.5...

Image via Wikipedia

Selecting a New Hard Drive

When installing a new hard drive there are many things that you need be aware of. The first one is simply what type of computer are you installing this into; a desktop or a laptop. If it’s a laptop, odds are good you will be doing a replacement and not simply adding a drive. When purchasing a hard drive for a laptop ensure that you have the right kind of connection. If it is parallel drive, it will utilize a large connector with many small pins, if it is a SATA or Serial ATA, it will depend on one smaller connection with only a few pins.

The same advice applies when purchasing for a desktop. Ensure that you get a drive that’s compatible. Check your user manual or your manufacturer’s website for more information about your computer. If you are also replacing your primary drive on your desktop, like the laptop you will need to ensure you have new operating system disks, restore CDs and that all your data is backed up so you do not lose anything when the new drive is installed. If you are simply adding an additional drive this isn’t needed just ensure you have the physical space to install it in your computer.

There are many sizes of drives these days; an average size would be between 250 and 500 gigs. It can be very tempting to purchase large size drives right now, with their sub hundred dollar price point, but ensure that you take into account, that the more storage you have, the more that you will need to backup, and backing up over a terabyte of data can be a major task. It is much more data and will not fit on a CD or even a single burnable DVD disk.

Using ISO Images

a small compact disk / Memorex CD-RW
Image via Wikipedia

ISO Images are a digital copy of a physical disk. They are a bit for bit copy of the original disk, and aside from various copy protection schemes, they are used in nearly the exact manner that you would use a CD.

Creating an ISO image is a lot like burning a CD, essentially it is like burning the CD to your hard drive rather than burning the information to another disk. The advantage of this particular process is that the same CD burning software you used to create the image can also burn the ISO image back to a blank CD. This means that using a CD burning software application is effective not only in burning CDs, but also in creating ISO images of your CD content as well. This is a great way to create a backup of your CD content without simply burning another hard copy of your CD.

In addition to this, you can access the data on an ISO disk, similar to the way that you would put a CD into a CD Rom drive. What this means is that you will use an image mounting software solution in order to load or mount the ISO file. What this means is that you are essentially convincing your computer that the ISO image is an actual CD that you are inserting into your CD drive. The mounted ISO image will then show up in your My Computer as a Disk Drive with a CD in it.

The ISO concept is not just limited to CD technology, but you can also use it for DVD disks and other high definition formats as well. You should keep this technology in mind when it comes to creating backups for your data and information, because you can use the ISO technology to create and store mirror copies or backups of your media files in case anything should ever happen to the originals.