Is it time to upgrade your operating system? Looking to migrate from Windows to Linux? Perhaps you want to run two systems at the same time? Follow this guide to install a new operating system on your computer.
Method 1 of 3: Determine the operating system you want to install
Step 1. Check the system requirements
If you decide to install a new operating system, the first thing you need to do is decide which one. Different systems have different system requirements, so if you have an older computer, make sure the new operating system starts up on it.
- Most modern versions of Windows require at least 1 GB of RAM, and at least 15-20 GB of free disk space. Make sure your computer meets these requirements. If not, you should install an older version of the system, such as Windows XP.
- Linux operating systems usually do not require as much free space and RAM as Windows. The requirements depend on the distribution you choose (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, etc.).
Step 2. Decide whether to download or purchase
Windows license requires purchase. Each license has its own activation key that can be installed on one computer. Most Linux distributions are free and have no installation restrictions, although some Enterprise versions must be purchased (Red Hat, SUSE, etc.).
Step 3. Check software compatibility
Make sure the operating system you want to install supports the software you plan to use. If you use Microsoft Office for work, you won't be able to install it on Linux. There are analogues of this software package, but their functionality may differ.
Most games running on Windows will not work on Linux. The number of games supported is growing, but keep in mind that if you are an avid gamer, your arsenal of games will decrease significantly on Linux
Step 4. Purchase your new operating system
If you purchased a copy of Windows from a store, you will receive an installation disc along with an activation key. If you do not have a disc but have a valid activation key, you can download a copy of the installation disc from the Internet. If you are installing Linux, you can download the ISO file of the distribution from the developer's site.
An ISO file is an image file that must be burned to a disc or installed on a bootable USB flash drive
Step 5. Save your details
During the installation of the new operating system, your hard drive will be completely wiped clean. This means that all files on your computer will be deleted. Always make sure that all important files are saved to a safe place before starting the installation. Use an external hard drive or burn the data to a DVD.
- If you are installing a new operating system over an old one, chances are your data will not be deleted. But just in case, it's best to save important files.
- You will not be able to save installed programs. They will need to be reinstalled after the installation of the new operating system is complete.
Method 2 of 3: Installing a New Operating System
Step 1. Determine the installation sequence
If you want to use Linux along with Windows, then you should install Windows first, and then Linux. This is due to the fact that Windows has a fairly strict bootloader (bootloader) that must be started before Linux, otherwise the system will not boot.
Step 2. Boot from the installation disk
Insert the disc into the drive and restart your computer. In standard mode, the computer boots from the hard drive, so you will need to adjust some settings in the BIOS in order to boot from the drive. You can enter BIOS by pressing a specific enter button while the computer boots up. This button will be displayed on the screen with the manufacturer's logo.
- On most computers, these buttons are F2, F10, F12, and Del / Delete.
- Once you find yourself in the BIOS settings menu, go to the Boot menu. Select your DVD / CD as the first boot device. If you are booting from a USB stick, make sure it is inserted and select it.
- After you have selected the desired device, save the changes and exit the settings menu. Your computer will restart.
Step 3. Test your Linux distribution before installing
Most Linux distributions can be started before starting the installation. This will allow you to test the operating system before installing it. When you're ready to install, run the installer on your desktop.
This is only possible with Linux distributions. Windows does not have the ability to test the operating system prior to installation
Step 4. Wait for the installer to start
Regardless of the system you are installing, the installer first copies the necessary files to your computer. This may take several minutes, depending on the speed of your hardware.
You will most likely need to choose some basic settings such as language and keyboard layout
Step 5. Enter your activation code
If you are installing Windows 8, you will need to enter an activation code before starting the installation. Older versions of Windows require an activation code at the end of the installation. Linux users do not have to enter an activation code, except for paid versions such as Red Hat.
Step 6. Select the type of installation
Windows will prompt you to choose between System Update or Custom Installation. Even if you are upgrading from an older version of Windows, it is highly recommended that you select Custom Installation and install from scratch. This will avoid problems related to incompatibility between old and new settings.
If you are installing Linux, you will be prompted to install Linux alongside your current Windows, or to clean up the disk and install Linux only. Choose what works best for you. If you choose to install alongside Windows, you will need to select the amount of hard disk space set aside for Linux
Step 7. Format the partitions
If you are installing Windows, you will need to select the partition on which you want to install it. Deleting partitions will erase all data and the free space will become Unallocated Area. Select Unallocated Area and create a new section.
If you are installing Linux, the partition must be formatted to Ext4
Step 8. Configure Linux
Before starting the installation, the Linux installer will ask you to select a time zone and create a username and password. You will use them to log into your Linux distribution and also when authorizing system changes.
Windows users fill in personal information after the installation is complete
Step 9. Wait for the installation to complete
Depending on the speed of your computer, the installation process may take about an hour. No action is required during installation. Also, your computer may restart several times.
Step 10. Create a Windows account
After finishing Windows installation, you need to choose a username. You can also create a password, although this is optional. After creating your account, you will be prompted for an activation code.
In Windows 8, you will first be asked to choose a color scheme. You can then log into your Microsoft account or use your traditional Windows account
Step 11. Install drivers and programs
After finishing the installation, you will have a clean desktop. Now you can start installing your programs and the drivers required for them to work. Don't forget to install an antivirus if you plan on using the internet.
Method 3 of 3: Installing other operating systems
Step 1. Windows 7
Windows 7 is currently the most popular operating system from Microsoft.
Step 2. Windows 8
Windows 8 is currently the newest operating system from Microsoft.
Step 3. Ubuntu
One of the most popular free Linux distributions.
Step 4. Mac OS X
Operating system from Apple.
Step 5. Linux Mint
The newest Linux distribution, rapidly gaining popularity.
Step 6. Fedora
An older Linux distribution known for its stability.
Step 7. Mac OS X on PC (Hackintosh)
If you have enough patience, try installing Mac OS X on your PC.
- Some operating systems, especially Linux, have basic and advanced settings. If you are not familiar with formatting partitions, choose the automatic installation. The program will do everything for you.
- A good way to speed up the installation process is to defragment your disk first. Do this before installing a new system, and the disk will format much faster during installation. This is true for owners of IDE disks larger than 40 GB, or Serial ATA (SATA) disks larger than 500 GB.
- Make sure you save all files before installing, unless you are upgrading your system. Although it will still be better if you keep the files even when updating.
- If you are migrating from Windows to Linux for the first time and have not worked with the latter before, it is better not to choose the full installation. If your computer is relatively new, boot Linux onto a USB stick and start it from there, or boot from disk.
- Windows will not be able to read Linux partitions.
- If you are installing Windows and plan to use the Internet, be sure to install an antivirus.