Is it possible to wipe a hard drive and install an OS from the BIOS?

by on October 13, 2010

Q: I know I have asked a similar question to this but this time I would have to wipe and install from the BIOS if that can even be done.


7 Responses to “Is it possible to wipe a hard drive and install an OS from the BIOS?”
  1.  
    Picked as best answer

    If you’re imagining something where there would be a button in the BIOS menu that says “install new OS” there isn’t.

    To do a fresh operating system install you’d be booting from the installation media as I mentioned in my earlier answer: http://www.askageek.com/2010/10/12/how-do-you-wipe-your-hard-drive-and-then-install-linux/

    This is how a fresh install of an OS is always done, regardless of if it is Windows, Linux or anything else. Also regardless of if it is a brand new computer with a never before used hard-drive or a computer already running something else.

     
  2.  

    Nope.

    When a computer turns on, one of the things the BIOS does is go through a list of known drives (CD drives, hard drive, usb thumb drives, anything that can hold data), looking for one that is bootable. You can edit this order in the BIOS, usually called a “boot order”. As soon as it finds something bootable it will launch that.

    Windows/Linux/Whatever OS Install DVDs are bootable, assuming the DVD Drive is above your main harddrive on the boot list, your computer will see this bootable DVD and boot from there.

    In these instances it will launch the installer utility and walk you through an installation wizard, eventually writing data to your hard drive so that it can boot from that hard drive instead of the DVD.

    However, you could use your computer with no hard-drive at all!

    Ubuntu has what is called a ‘live cd’ option (see: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCD )

    With this Ubuntu is loaded right from the CD without ever touching your existing harddrive. This is a great way to recover files from a computer who’s windows install isn’t working anymore.

    For more on how computers boot up, see this article: http://duartes.org/gustavo/blog/post/how-computers-boot-up

     
  3.  

    Go into your BIOS, locate the boot order menu and follow the on screen instructions for how to adjust the order.

    For more detailed instructions you’d need to consult the manual that came with the motherboard or PC, each BIOS does it slightly differently.

     
  4.  

    Please tag one of my posts as best answer so I can get credit. Thanks.