1.9 Given a scenario, perform OS installations and upgrades in a diverse OS environment
- Boot Methods
- Optical Media
- Solid State / Flash Drives
- External / Hot-Swappable Drive
- Internal Hard Drive (Partitions)
- Types of Installations
- Recovery Partitions
- Clean Installation
- Image Deployment
- Repair Installation
- Remote Network Installation
- Other Considerations
- Third-Party Drivers
- GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) Partition Table (GPT)
- Master Boot Record (MBR)
- Drive Format
- Upgrade Considerations
- Backup Files and User Preferences
- Application and Driver Support / Backward Compatibility
- Hardware Compatibility
- Feature Updates
- Product Life Cycle
How do we install an operating system?
First, we must turn the computer on. There are several ways to boot a computer.
- USB/Solid State/Flash Drive/External Drive. We can boot from a USB drive if it is formatted to have a boot partition. Simply copying the Windows files to a USB will not work. You must also make the USB bootable. Your BIOS must also support the ability to boot from a USB.
- Optical Media. We can boot from a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM if it is formatted to have a boot partition. Most computers do not have optical drives.
- Network. We can boot from a network location if our BIOS supports this feature. The enterprise must set up a server that contains a network operating system. When the computer boots up, it checks specific network locations for the operating system and downloads one if it is available. This is known as PXE booting.
- Internet-Based. You can download a copy of the operating system installer from the internet. Then you can run the installer. The installer will reboot the computer and install the operating system. This only works well if we are performing an upgrade. It does not work well for a clean installation.
- Internal Hard Drive Partition. We can divide a physical hard disk drive into multiple smaller partitions. We can install a separate operating system on each partition.
How do we install Windows?
- Upgrade. The upgrade happens when we want to change from one version of an operating system to another. In an upgrade, we get to keep all our programs and files. We must be careful because some programs may not be compatible with the newer version of Windows.
- Clean Installation. A clean installation happens when we erase all the files on the hard disk drive and install a fresh version of Windows. All our programs and data will be lost. This process takes longer and requires us to have the installation files for all our programs, but it is good to do when the computer gets cluttered.
- Recovery Partition. When you first install Windows, it creates a partition called the recovery partition. This contains the same Windows operating system files that will be installed on the main partition. If your Windows installation becomes corrupted, you can use the recovery partition to restore Windows back to its original state. By doing this, you will erase all your files and programs.
- Image Deployment. Setting up a computer in an enterprise may take many hours or days. Why? What are the steps?
- Install the operating system
- Install specific drivers for hardware
- Join the computer to the domain
- Apply policy updates and change settings
- Install dozens of standard applications such as Microsoft Office, Teams, VLC, etc.
- Map printers and shared drives
- Copy files to the new computer
- Install the operating system
What if we could automate these tasks? We can go through all these steps once and capture the result in a file called an image. Whenever we buy a new computer, we just erase whatever was on it and paste the image on its hard drive. This doesn’t work too well because each computer will have a unique name, serial number, etc.
A better option is to use a Wizard to capture all the steps. We give the Wizard access to the files that it needs. Whenever we buy a new computer, we run the Wizard and the Wizard installs everything we need.
- Remote Network Installation. We can put the entire Wizard and files on a network server. When we buy a new computer, we connect it to the network. The computer looks for the Wizard and runs it automatically. The Wizard continues to perform tasks on the computer and download files from the network until the job is done.
- Repair Installation. When Windows stops working as well as it should, we can repair the existing installation. Windows will check each system file to see whether it is broken and replace it with a new one. This process only works if we have a recovery partition, or a copy of the Windows installation files on a USB.
The repair doesn’t always work. Sometimes we must perform a clean install.
A driver is a small application that Windows uses to communicate with a piece of hardware. Windows comes with a whole bunch of drivers, but they aren’t always the best. When you install Windows, it tries to figure out what kind of hardware you have and apply the correct driver for each component.
This doesn’t always work well. For example, if you have a new NVMe hard drive, Windows may not be able to recognize it. Since Windows won’t recognize your hard drive, it won’t be able to install Windows on it, and the installation will fail. We can correct this by injecting drivers into the Windows installation.
What we must do
- Get a copy of the Windows installer
- Download the specific drivers for our hardware that are compatible with our Windows operating system
- Inject the drivers into the Windows installer
- Save this custom Windows installer and run it on our computer
Remember that a physical disk can be divided into multiple logical drives, called partitions. Each partition must be comprised of contiguous, unallocated space.
A primary partition is a partition where an operating system’s boot files are located.
The MBR or Master Boot Record identifies the first sector of the hard disk (where the operating system’s boot files are located). The MBR allows the computer to boot. MBR based partitions are limited to drives of 2TB or smaller.
The MBR also contains a Partition Table, which lists the quantity and size of the remaining partitions. The Partition Table can only contain up to four partitions.
The Primary partitions are bootable. The computer can only boot the primary partition that is set as Active. To boot a different Primary partition, we must set it as Active.
The GUID Partition Table (GPT) lists the location and type of each partition on the hard disk. The GPT can contain an unlimited number of partitions, and with no size limit.
MBR is supported by the BIOS while GUID is supported by the UEFI. GPT partitions do not have size or quantity limitations.
GPT also provides us with the ability to verify whether the data on the drive has been corrupted.