Jun 03, 2013

How do I change the device my computer uses to boot?

I just had a family reunion and ended up leaving with 3 old laptops from an uncle who was getting ready to junk them as he just purchased his lucky children all new Macs. Per his “computer guy” all have bad hard drives. If I replace these and reinstall the operating system (he gave me the disks for all three) I figure I should have three functional computers, barring nothing else is wrong.

One of the computers has XP (a Dell), one has Vista (a HP) and one has 7 (also a HP.) I just need the operating system disks to load at start-up. So my question is: is there a certain way to this that applies for all, or is each different?

Nick's comments are great. If they don't work for you then you might want to check out the support sites for each manufacturer. That might help you find specifics related to the model of computer you have.

You can accomplish this a couple different ways. One would be to go into the BIOS menu and permanently change the first option to CD/DVD, depending on the type of drive listed by the computer. The other would be to change the change boot device for that particular instance. For either option, you’ll press an [F] key to change what the computer boots into immediately after the computer powers on. Each one is probably different.

Generally speaking, the [F2] key usually takes you into the BIOS menu where you can change the boot order in the boot section of the option menu. Otherwise, the [ESC], [F10] or [F12] keys could all possibly take you to the option menu where you can change the order for that particular boot. Try to pay attention to the splash screen the PC first powers on. Otherwise, just experiment! 

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