Now you have a PC which you built and it is now running with a newly installed operating system. Great job!
You are now ready to get the PC set up as you want it. With Windows set up as a virgin installation, there are a few things you need to do right at the start. Windows XP will seek to get you to activate your copy of Windows, but it is recommended you hold off on this until you get your drivers finalized.
- Enable Windows XP’s built-in firewall (if you are using XP). The firewall is not perfect and you can easily replace it later with a better option. However, you need to connect to the internet now to download the latest drivers for your PC. The Windows firewall will suffice for now. To enable the firewall, go to the Control Panel and click Network and Internet Connections, then click Network connections. Right-click on your network connection and choose Properties. Go to the Advanced tab and check “Protect my computer and network by limiting or preventing access to the computer from the internet”.
- Next, connect to Windows Update by visiting www.windowsupdate.com using Internet Explorer. Scan for Updates and then go directly to the critical updates and service packs section. If there are any major service packs listed, install them now and reboot.
- Install your motherboard’s chipset drivers. Most likely, your motherboard came with a CD which contained drivers for the chipset as well as any integrated hardware. You can install this software and drivers now from the CD. You should also check the motherboard manufacturer’s website and see if there is any updated driver software since the CD was created. After installing these drivers, reboot again.
- Re-visit Windows Update and install any other key updates, including DirectX.
- Now, visit the website of your video card manufacturer and download the latest drivers for your video card. Install them. You will likely need to reboot again.
- Lastly, you should install any remaining hardware and drivers for your new computer. Install the sound card drivers as well as the drivers for any remaining hardware. Visit the manufacturer’s website to see if there are more recent versions of each. You may need to reboot after each installation. Simply go through each until each component in your PC has the required drivers installed.
- Now, active Windows. If you installed Windows XP, there is an activation process which you must go through. This is Microsoft’s way of curbing pirated copies of Windows. Windows will give you a grace period of 30 days after installation to activate it. If you do not activate it within this timeframe, Windows will stop operating. Windows will remind you when you log in as well as at a regular internal until you do activate. To activate, you simply follow the wizard. It is easiest to activate via the internet. Doing it this way is very automatic and is done using a secure server. If your PC is not internet connected, you can activate it via telephone. Call the toll-free number on the screen, read off to the operator the number displayed on the screen and type in the confirmation number they give you.
For future reference, if you make a major hardware change to your new computer at a later date, Windows may require you to re-activate. Simply follow the same procedure.
Windows will also ask you to register your copy. This is totally optional. If you skip it, it will not ask you again.
At this point, your new PC is now ready to go! Next, you can begin installing your software and customizing your new computer to suit your needs.
Congratulations. Enjoy your new PC!