How do I Change Operating Systems?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

While you may think it is complicated to change operating systems, the process is actually very easy. That means if you want to go with a newer system, or possibly go back to an older system that is more to your liking, it can be done without the need to pay for professional help. It is important to prepare for the change with care, so no data is lost and the transition goes smoothly.

Backing up all important data files is an important step in changing operating systems.
Backing up all important data files is an important step in changing operating systems.

Before trying to change operating systems, check the resources on your computer and compare them to the minimums required by the operating system you want to install. If you are moving to an older system that requires fewer resources than your current one, this should not be an issue. For situations where the idea is to place a recently released operating system on an older computer, read the requirements carefully and make sure that the system will work properly. Failure to do so will mean your system will be sluggish at best, and may not work at all.

Assuming your computer has the resources and meets the requirements necessary, you can begin to change operating systems. Start by backing up all important data files, either to an online storage site or on CDs. Also make sure you have the software to reload your favorite programs. Some operating systems will completely wipe the hard drive, making it necessary to reload, unless you carefully partition the data on the drive. Unless you are extremely computer literate, don’t take the risk.

Before you actually start to change operating systems, take a moment to read the user guide that came with your computer. Some manufacturers include specific instructions on uninstalling an operating system that must be followed to the letter before starting to load a new one. It won’t take long to read those instructions, and taking the time to do so will make the entire process go much smoother. Also take a moment to read the instructions for the new operating system, and make sure that you have the right drivers and other ancillary components or files ready to install, since the drivers you currently have loaded may or may not be right for the new system.

To initiate the process and change operating systems, insert the first disk into the drive. Allow the disk to boot up, and follow the instructions as they appear on the screen. Keep in mind that you may be asked to restart the computer in order for the installation to actually commence. Many systems will also require that you create a user name and a password as part of the process. This is a good thing, since this will limit access to the administrative functions on your system, and increase the security of your data.

As you change operating systems, you may notice that the install prompts you to select various programs and services. Most will offer the option of using the default settings for these programs and services. Unless you are very comfortable selecting your own, go with the default. Near the end of the installation, you will also likely be prompted to choose a keyboard layout, identify your language and time zone preferences, and other general information. Most operating systems today present these questions in a manner that is easy to understand, and should pose no problem.

Keep in mind that as you change operating systems, it is a good idea to keep a telephone number for technical support handy. The manufacturers of most systems do provide this service to new users, often at no charge. While the chances of needing support during the installation are minimal, a quick consult with an expert can often help you overcome a minor snag that would be quite time consuming otherwise.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

One of the biggest problems in the past with switching to a new operating system (or computer, for that matter) was how to keep from losing your data. Backups were critical, of course, and things could turn bad in a hurry if say, that hard drive used for backup worked very well under your old computer, but isn't compatible with your new operating system.

Cloud storage has made the act of transitioning to new operating systems and new computers much easier. Simply store your files in the cloud and access them when you migrate to a new operating system -- dead easy and reliable.

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