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Build Or Buy
Building Your Own Computer - Part 1
Building Your Own Computer - Part 2
Building Your Own Computer - Part 3
Building Your Own Computer - Part 4
Building Your Own Computer - Part 5
Building Your Own Computer - Part 6
Building Your Own Computer - Part 7
Computer Accessories Part 2
Hard Drives - Part 1
Hard Drives - Part 2
Motherboard - Part 1
Motherboard - Part 2
Building Your Own Computer - Part 7
Motherboard - Part 2 You now have a working computer!! Before you can use it, though, you have to install an operating system.
Buying a new motherboard requires several considerations. If you are going to use your existing CPU, you are limited to buying a motherboard .....
The two main contenders are Windows and Linux. While Linux has some advantages over Windows, the majority of software on the market today is designed to be used with Windows. It is best to install the latest version of Windows (Windows XP), and if you have a special need for Linux or just want to see what it has to offer, it can be installed as a second operating system at a later date.
Installing Windows XP is straightforward; just insert the CD and it will run on its own. You will then have the option of formatting your drive with the FAT32 or NTFS file systems. NTFS is the best, as it allows you to use larger hard drives and has extra security features.
You also now have the opportunity to partition your hard drive so that it is divided into smaller sections that the operating system sees as individual drives. For example, if you divide an 80 GB hard drive into two partitions, the first partition will show up as drive "C" and the second partition will be drive "D." Unless you have a particular reason to partition your hard drive, you are advised to skip this step.
After making the selections for partitioning and formatting the hard drive, the operating system will install itself with very little input from you. The only special consideration is if you are using a SATA hard drive, you will need to provide the drivers that allow Windows XP to recognize the drive.
At the beginning of the installation process, you will see a blue screen with the words "Press F6 to install any third party SCSI or RAID drivers." Press the F6 key and wait until you see the screen that reads "Setup could not determine the type of one or more mass storage devices installed in your system," or "You have chosen to manually specify an adapter." Press the "S" key and insert the floppy disk that came with your SATA drive. From the list of drivers that appears on your screen, select the one for Windows XP.
After this step, you may be prompted one or two more times to provide information about your location and the primary languages you will be using on the computer. This information is just to get the operating system up and running, it can be changed at a later time if necessary.
With the operating system installed and running properly, your first priority should be security. Windows XP comes with a firewall that can protect your computer against hackers from the Internet. Make sure the firewall is activated before using the Internet. You can find the firewall settings by clicking the "Start" button and then navigating to "Settings," "Control Panel" and then "Security."
Before installing any other software, get the latest updates from the Windows Update Center on the Internet. Click on the "Start" button and "Windows Update" at the top of the menu, where you can download the latest security features and updated drivers for your hardware devices.
Windows XP comes with basic software that allows you to do many common tasks like surfing the Internet and word processing. You may also wish to install more specialized software according to your computing needs. You can find a huge selection of software packages on the Internet; both commercial and free-of-charge.
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is often described as the "brain" of the computer. Perhaps describing it as the "engine" may be more .....