IT Essentials v6.0 – Chapter 5: Windows Installation

Sections & Objectives

5.1 Modern Operating System

  • Explain operating system requirements.

5.2 Operating System Installation

  • Install a Microsoft Windows operating system.

5.3 Chapter Summary

5.1 Modern Operating Systems

5.1.1 Operating System Terms and Characteristics


  • Common terms describing operating systems include: multi-user, multitasking, multiprocessing and multithreading

Basic Functions of an Operating System (OS)

  • Hardware Access
  • File and Folder Management
  • User Interface (CLI and GUI)
  • Application Management

Processor Architecture

  • Affects the performance of the computer.
  • CPUs contain storage locations called registers.
  • Registers can be 32-bits or 64-bits long.

5.1.2 Types of Operating Systems

Desktop Operating Systems

  • Intended for use in SOHO environment.
  • Supports a single user.
  • Shares files and folders on a small network with limited security.
  • Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS, and Linux are a few examples.

Network Operating Systems

  • Contains features that increase functionality in a networked environment
  • Supports multiple users.
  • Provides increased security compared to desktop operating systems

5.1.3 Customer Requirements for an Operating System

OS Compatible Applications and Environments

Before recommending an OS, the technician must:

  • Review budget constraints.
  • Learn how the computer will be used.
  • Determine which types of applications will be installed.
  • Determine if a new computer needs to be purchased?

Minimum Hardware Requirements and Compatibility with the OS Platform

  • The OS minimum requirements must be met for optimal operation.
  • Some applications may also have specific hardware requirements.
  • Upgrades may be necessary.
  • RAM, hard drives, CPU, video card, motherboard are a few common upgradable components.
  • Microsoft Compatibility Center can be a good resource.

5.1.4 Operating Systems Upgrade

Checking OS Compatibility

  • New version of an OS brings new functionality and better performance.
  • Support for older hardware may be dropped.
  • New hardware may require latest OS versions.
  • Make sure to check OS compatibility before upgrading the OS.
  • Microsoft’s Upgrade Assistant and Upgrade Advisor can be helpful tools.

Windows OS Upgrades

  • Upgrading Windows may be faster than performing a full install.
  • The installed version of an OS determine the upgrades options.
  • A full data backup is strongly recommended before upgrading.

Data Migration

  • User data must be transferred after a new installation.
  • User State Migration Tool and Windows Easy Transfer are tools designed to help the transfer process.

5.2 Operating System Installation

5.2.1 Storage Device Setup Procedures

Storage Device Types

  • Hard Disk Drives
  • Flash Memory-Based Drives (USB Flash Drives, SSDs, SSHDs and eMMC)

Hard Drive Partitioning

  • Logical divisions inside a disk.
  • Proper partitioning is crucial for a correct boot process.
  • MBR and GPT are the two most popular partition scheme standards.

File Systems

  • File systems define how data is written within a partition.
  • Different OSs, support different file systems.
  • FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, CCFS and NFS are common file systems supported by Windows-based OSs.

OS Installation with Default Settings

  • The installer program applies the most common settings.
  • Preferred by inexperienced users.
  • Allows for very little customization.
  • Windows allows for granular customization after the default setting installation is complete.

Account Creation

  • User accounts allow multiple users to share a computer.
  • Common Windows account types are Administrator, Standard, and Guest.

Finalize the Installation

  • Use Windows Update to check for updates after the installation is complete.
  • Use Device Manager to verify that all hardware was properly installed.

5.2.2 Custom Installation Options

Disk Cloning

  • Good solution to speed up bulk installations
  • Uses a single OS installation as base system to create multiple clone systems.

Other Installation Methods

  • Windows has several different types of Custom Installations including network installation and image-based installation.
  • Other types of Custom Installations include Windows Advanced Startup Options, Refresh your PC (Windows 8.x only), System Restore, Upgrade, Repair installation, Remote network installation, Recovery partition, and Refresh/restore.

Network Installation

  • Relies on a network connection to deploy the installation files.
  • Network Installation methods include Remote Network Installation and Unattended Installation.

Restore, Refresh, and Recover

  • Some tools are also used to perform Custom Installations
  • These tools include Windows System Restore, Windows Refresh your PC, and Windows Recovery Partition.

System Recovery Options

  • Used to recover after a system failure.
  • Popular recovery tools are:
    • Windows Advanced Startup Options (Win 8.x)
    • System Recovery Options (Windows 7 & Vista)
    • Factory Recovery Partition

5.2.3 Boot Sequence and Registry Files

Windows Boot Process

  • Common boot steps are: POST execution, locating and loading CMOS configurations, locating and loading bootloaders, locating and loading the OS.
  • Windows Boot Loader and Windows Boot Manager are programs used to manage Windows startup.

Startup Modes

  • Windows Startup Modes allow for troubleshooting when Windows fails to start.
  • Windows Startup Modes include: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, Safe Mode with Command Prompt and Last Known Good Configuration.

Windows Registry

  • All Windows settings are stored as key-values pairs in the Windows Registry
  • Extreme caution must be taken when working with the Registry.

5.2.4 Multiboot

Multiboot Procedures

  • It is possible to install multiple OSs in one computer.
  • BOOTMGR manages multiple versions of Windows installed on a single computer.

Disk Management Utility

  • Many tasks can be accomplished through Disk Management Utility, including: view drive status, extend partitions, split partitions, assign drive letters, add drives and add arrays.


  • Logical divisions created inside a drive to host file systems.
  • Partitions can be extended or shrunk using the Disk Management Utility

Drive Mapping or Drive Letter Assignment

  • In Windows, assigning letters to name physical or logical drives is called drive mapping or drive letter assignment.
  • Disk Management Utility can also be used to manage drive letter assignment.

5.2.5 Disk Directories

Directory Structures

  • Designed to store files and folders.
  • A disk must be initialized and formatted if Windows cannot recognize its file systems.
  • Formatting a disk or partition creates a file system.
  • Formatted disks or partitions must be mounted before use.

User and System File Locations

  • System files are files critical to the OS operation.
  • User files are files belonging to a user and of little significance to the OS.


  • File extensions identify file types in Windows and must adhere to Windows Naming Convention.
  • File attributes define how files can be handled.
  • Common file attributes are READ, ARCHIVE, SYSTEM and HIDDEN.

Application, File, and Folder Properties

  • Right-click on a file, application or folder to see its properties.
  • Application and File Properties are different than Folder Properties.

5.3 Chapter Summary

This chapter introduced computer operating systems. As a technician, you should be skilled at installing Windows® operating systems. The following concepts from this chapter are important to remember:

  • Several different operating systems are available, and you must consider the customer’s needs and environment when choosing an OS.
  • The main steps in setting up a customer’s computer include preparing the drive, installing the OS, creating user accounts, and configuring installation options.

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