System Installs

PC's are more powerful and easier to use, but the challenges involved with upgrading them have remained the same. For a novice, a hard drive upgrade can seem like a daunting task. A significant time wasters in the whole process is the data transfer process. Transferring large chunks of data from your old hard drive to a new, higher, capacity drive can take hours. Choosing the wrong method of transfer can turn this into a day long chore, besides the lose of using your computer while the transfer is happening. We have cloning utilities that can make transferring your data quicker.

Your BIOS is the basic firmware that tells your computer how to boot, how to check for connected drives, memory, and more. Manufacturers often update the BIOS software to support new standards, fix bugs and add features.

If you've been using the same PC (or just the same motherboard) for a couple of years you may be long overdue for a BIOS update. This is especially important if you are thinking about adding the latest high-speed drives, performance graphics cards or a new CPU to your system. Updating your BIOS and add speed to your boost time without other upgrades.

You should see an immediate difference in the way the initial splash screen looks, which is confirmation that you've updated successfully. Whether you are updating from a bootable drive or the internet make sure you don't disconnect the power cable or interrupt the update process in any way once it starts, as this can result in turning your PC into a brick.

The graphics card upgrades are often prone to basic human errors, except for maybe the CPU. The graphics card technologies change rapidly as manufacturers develop new features to satisfy the demand of hard-core gamers. A graphic card upgrade go awry in a number of ways such as:

wrong bus interface

wrong power connection(s)

wrong size

wrong OS version

insufficient power requirements

incorrect driver installation

If you are buying a new graphics card, you should make sure that your PC will support it. More important, make sure to buy the right interface. Many older computers have a GPU interface instead of a PCI-Express one. Many graphic cards come with both GPU and PCI-Express versions, so look carefully at the box or online listing to be sure you have the right one for your system. Also, make sure that the new GPU will fit into your case before purchasing it. Slim towers often run into this problem.

All graphics cards you buy should include drivers for you PC's operating system. Microsoft and graphics card makers do not always stay in sync with each other and some of the latest cards won't run on older versions of Windows.

After a major hardware upgrade, Windows may prompt to reactive the OS , so be prepared in advance by having your Windows activation key and admin password handy before you start the upgrade.

The actual swapping of motherboards is easier than the installation of Windows and all your other applications.

You need to back-up your data first.

Collect all your software registration keys for the software running on your system.

If an application requires activation, it may see a new motherboard as an attempt to copy the software illegally and may refuse to run as a result. Adobe products activation so they must be deactivated on the old system before you start the swap.

Update your drivers on the graphics cards, sound cards, audio drivers

Check you storage settings. If you have an Nvidia chipset and moving to an Intel one, you'll need to make sure that your PC isn't running proprietary Nvdia drivers for IDE. This will cause a blue-screen error on the first reboot, indicating that the disk interface is unrecognized. This is why backups are critical: the primary storage driver is being change.

Before rebooting you need to review all your steps:

Is the memory seated properly?

Is the CPU cooling fan connected to power?

Are the mounting screws screwed in properly?

Is the ATX I/O back plate installed?

Are the power and reset switch connectors attached?

Is the case-fan power connected?

Are the storage data and power cables connected?

Are both the main an ATX12V power cables connected?

Is the PCI-Express power connected to the graphics card?

After all the connections have been double checked you will need to attach the external cabling, namely the power, keyboard, mouse, network, and video cables before powering up the system.

Simple Hardware
Install Hard Drive, RAM, Power Supply or Optical Drive. $20

Complex Hardware
Install Complex HDD, Motherboard, CPU, GFX Card. $40