Zukan wrote:I have just had a hard drive failure and have decided to change 2 of my drives to SSD. Do companies provide SSDs with Win 10 pre installed on them or do I have to wing it myself?
Trying to avoid sending the pc to a computer specialist. If I can change the drives over myself and run the necessary tests then that would save me valuable time.
Don't think so - Windows has to adapt to the specific hardware combination of your machine and there's literally millions of them so it would be impossible to pre-install other than a minimum core, which would then need further installing.
Assuming you have a license, you can download Windows from MS website to a USB stick (on another computer, obviously) and install from there.
You then will have to ensure that your pc is able to see the network card and therefore connect to the internet (where then windows can go pick up other drivers). You can just try the installation and see if Windows can see any network. If it does, you're all set - just enter the network name and password and take it from there.
If it doesn't... it can be very easy or very tricky depending on the network interface you have, where it is and whether or not you still have the box with its name! Ideally you could see it in Device Manager in your existing installation but if your PC is dead obviously you can't... worst case you have to open the case and look at the card or the motherboard (it's easy to see what.. if the network cable is attached to a component on the motherboard or to a card.. for modern computers it's usually the former).
That done, Windows will install from the USB stick, attempting to recognize hardware components and using generic drivers for the ones which don't allow that (or ignoring them altogether). To complete the OS installation you have to find and download the drivers for all the specialized components you have - usually from the manufacturer web site. The first thing for which you really want to find the actual driver (in case Windows doesn't) is the graphic card. Luckily it's usually easy to identify the manufacturer name (just open the PC and look) or you may even remember it (they are expensive things, so they stick more than a 2 dollars component). Windows will always fall back on the VGA resolution which works with any graphic card, so don't be surprised if after installing your screen looks like it's taken right out of a 80s Super Mario game
These days Windows is pretty good with self-recognition but it really depends on your hardware - some hardware simply does not allow automatic software-level recognition and Windows will either not use it, or use a generic driver. This usually affects more esoteric hardware tough, or special stuff (like for example a specialized keyboard with extra keys, or a special mouse etc), and said graphic card.
Stuff like the audio interface also needs specialized drivers, but that you know already.
The last (or first) potentially sticky bit is whether you are entitled to install Windows or not. When you buy your PC, it comes with a pre-installed manufacturer license ("OEM") tailored to that specific hardware. If you change the hardware (and especially the primary disk where Windows is installed) you may need (and pay for) a new license number. You could talk with the people who sold you your pc, or to Microsoft itself - and of course if the PC is still in warranty they will need to provide a replacement license.
Windows will work for a couple weeks without a valid license (and you can prolong that period a few times) but it's a pain in the bottom.
That said, once you have installed everything you can often find extremely cheap licenses from people who got hold of unused OEM ones... it's a bit of a grey area (OEM licenses are sold by MS to manufactures exclusively for creating new Windows PCs, so they aren't really meant for resale) but they work fine - and don't think that buying them is illegal (whereas selling them, it may).