First build. Everything installed. Now, how do I bring her to life?


Feb 3, 2009
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
Video card: Sapphire Radeon 4850
2 data HDD's: Western Digital Caviar 640 gig SATA
1 OS HDD: Seagate Barracuda 80 gig SATA
Windows XP SP3 Home

I have no idea what to expect when I plug her in and mash the power button. I assume the motherboard BIOS will start? Does the motherboard firmware have basic drivers that will enable my monitor and combo drive? Will the BIOS see all 3 hard drives? When do they get assigned drive letters? Do I need a floppy drive? Will it prompt me for when it's time to insert the Windows CD? Any help will be much appreciated.
if it posts you will have the bios splash screen .

you will need to enter bios, make selections following your manuals instructions and set the first boot device to cd/dvd.

If you are installing the OS on one hard drive then its easier to pull the power from the other until after you have finished .

XP may need a sata driver . That will be on the motherboard disc and needs to be transfered to a floppy if you have one . if you dont then the manual will give you an alternative installation method
Yes. Yes. Should. After the OS is installed. No. Yes, if boot device is changed to select the CD/DVD drive.

There. That was helpful, yes? :)

I am assuming that the P45 BIOS is similar to the P35 BIOS.

Enter the BIOS. your list of hard drives and DVD drives will appear in the "Standard CMOS Features". When you built your system, if you plugged the hard drive cables in to the SATA 0 - 2 slots, they will appear in the first three positions in the table. I plugged the SATA DVD drive into SATA 5. I have a back panel ESATA connector plugged into SATA 4.

You select your boot device from "Advanced BIOS Features". Between the motherboard manual and the screen, it's pretty much self-explantory.

Floppy drives are pretty much useless now. It takes a set of six floopy disks to boot an XP system. Main use of a floppy drive is to update the BIOS.

Only hook up 1 drive to start with.

Hit the power button, and during POST, hit delete to enter setup.

Set the time, date, etc.

Set the SATA controller to IDE mode, unless you want to mess with a floppy drive and loading your SATA driver during windows install. If you set the controller to AHCI mode, you *MAY* have to load the driver onto a floppy, and install it when prompted during the XP setup, or XP cannot see your hard drive. I say "may" because I think SP 3 may have some native SATA driver support included.

Set your boot order, CD/DVD first, Hard drive second, disable any other boot devices for now.

Insert your Windows disk, reboot.

Follow the instructions to install Windows.

After the install, immediately load the disk tha came with the motherboard, install the motherboard drivers. (LAN, Chipset, Sound, are usually the basic ones that you must install)

Let the system updates run, this will happen immediately when you set up your internet connection. Let the restore points run, all this could take a couple of hours.
So don't be alarmed if your PC is busy for a long while, and hard drive light is on constantly for the first couple of hours after a new install.

Shut down, hook up your other drives, reboot, and you are ready to go.

I think that is about it, should get you going anyway.