How to Load an Operating System on a Computer

By Lucinda Watrous

Loading an operating system on a computer is a simple task that seems overwhelming for many computer users today. The operating system is required to make the system run and therefore is absolutely necessary. When you load an operating system onto a computer, you will lose all the information on the part of the drive you are installing the operating system to, so be sure to back up any information you have on the drive. A first-time installation should skip to Step three.

Things You'll Need

  • OS Disc
  • Media for back-up (CDs, DVDs, Flash drive or external hard drive)

Step 1

Back up any personal data on your hard drive. You can use CDs or DVDs. If you have a Flash drive or an external hard drive, this will work too. Make sure that you have gotten all of your files that are on the hard drive backed up before proceeding, as you will lose all the data on the hard drive when you load the operating system.

Step 2

Insert the operating system disc into your disc drive. Restart your computer and go into your computer's BIOS to change your settings that will make the computer boot from your CD-ROM drive, rather than your hard drive. Each computer system is different on how this is done, so if you are unsure, you'll need to consult your computer manufacturer. Generally, it is F2, F10 or F12 that will accomplish this.

Step 3

Boot the system to the disc. Allow the disc to load all the necessary files. The disc will search for previous installed copies of Windows, and you'll need to press ESC in order to install a fresh, new copy. If you are installing for the first time, this is where you'll come in. Press F8 in order to agree to terms and conditions and to be able to install the OS.

Step 4

If you're reinstalling windows, you'll want to delete the current partition that it is installed on. Press "D" to delete the partition and "L" to confirm the deletion of this partition. Press "C" to create a new partition and enter the amount of your hard drive space you want to use for this partition in megabytes (1 GB=1024 MB). If you want to use your entire hard drive, press "Enter."

Step 5

Choose a method for formatting your hard drive. The most common method is NTFS. Quick format is no different than a regular format, except that it does the same thing in a shorter time. Choose this option and allow the partition to format.

Step 6

Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation of the operating system.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that your must enter your partition space in megabytes, not gigabytes! Use the conversion of 1 GB=1024 MB to help you!
  • Plan your partitions if you plan on running more than one operating systems.
  • Back up all information prior to installing your OS, as you will lose all data on the drive.