Driver Installation

This part of the guide is assuming the best case scenario, something that may seem unlikely but actually does occur more often than one would imagine, that is, the scenario in which Windows (or your OS) starts up properly without any problems.  You will notice that your display looks quite washed out and the icons may appear to be quite large, that is obviously because your OS probably initialized itself in the safest of Video Modes: 640 x 480 pixels at an 4-bit (16 color) color depth, unless of course you happen to be one of the lucky few to have a video card your OS has driver support for out of the box.  This is probably the first thing you'll want to change since operating in a comfortable resolution/color depth will make installing all other drivers a much more pleasant experience. 

Using your supplied Manufacturer's Driver's Disk or CD, you will want to change the display properties to the type of adapter you have by using the 'Have Disk...' option under your Display Control Panel under Win9x or a similar utility depending on your OS.  Provided that you have relatively current drivers, this installation process shouldn't be a problem at all.  After all of the files have been copied your OS will ask you to restart your computer, a quick reboot should allow you to change the resolution/color depth of your current display properties to a more comfortable setting.  Allowing you to continue.

After installing your Display Drivers you will want to go ahead and install drivers for all other critical devices such as SCSI controllers, other video devices, Ethernet cards, modems, and audio devices.  If you are running Windows 95 you may want to install your motherboard manufacturer's Bus Mastering drivers in order to resolve any problems you may have with the current setup of your system.  If you have a DVD drive or are using Windows 98 then you should not install any Bus Mastering drivers since they will either cause problems with your DVD drive or with the drivers Win98 installs by default.  If you happen to have a Super7 motherboard, you will also want to install the appropriate AGP GART VxD drivers that should've been provided courtesy of your motherboard manufacturer, if not, a quick trip online should help you out tremendously as there are only three manufacturers of Socket-7 AGP Chipsets: ALi, SiS, and VIA.  For those of you with motherboards based on Intel chipsets, you have nothing to worry about as no 3rd party driver support is necessary for proper operation of the AGP port.

Provided you have all conflicts worked out, the Driver Installation shouldn't be too time consuming and should be a breeze if you've done your research properly. 

Concluding the Software Setup

Once you've installed all of your drivers properly, all you have left to do is start the installation of your favorite applications, games, and whatever else you plan on using on your new system.  There are two steps left to constructing your own computer, and next month AnandTech will concentrate on the next step: Troubleshooting.

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