Now to the main course: getting hold of
ReactOS and getting it onto a system to play with. There are several choices
available: you can download an installation .iso (bit.ly/xStNQC), which contains
a debug build of ReactOS, including the kernel debugger. There’s a live CD
version (bit.ly/xdUPrT), much in the same vein as a Linux distro. There’s a
version that comes pre-installed for a QEMU virtual machine (bit.ly/yflunP), a
version that’s pre-loaded for Virtual Box (bit.ly/wJMdBS) and a version
pre-loaded for VMware virtual machines (bit.ly/zoKtnq). For the purpose of this
article, and to see how ReactOS works from scratch, we will be downloading and
installing the installation .iso from bit.ly/xStNQC, onto a relatively old
dual-core machine, with 2GB RAM, 40GB HDD and what can be classed as standard,
Once the .iso is downloaded (which
shouldn’t take long as it’s only 51MB), transfer it to a disc and boot into the
CD via the BIOS.
1. The first
screen you’ll come to will be the all too familiar white text on a blue
background. It’s just a simple case of choosing your language and locality, via
the cursor keys and hitting Enter when you’re ready to continue.
2. The next screen
will simply ask you to press Enter to install, or initiate a repair or upgrade.
3. The following
screen will need you to hit Enter to continue with the install.
4. This displays
the various base settings, all of which can be changed via the arrow keys and
hitting Enter, but generally the setup is adequate
enough to accommodate the hardware in the machine. When you’re ready to
continue, highlight the ‘Accept these device settings’ line, and press Enter.
5. The next step
will allow you set up partitions, or create and format any unpartitioned space
on the hard drive.
A quick note here:
dual booting isn’t recommended at this time, although we tried a number of
times on the test machine we had, and had very little problems. There was the
occasional issue, which may lead to an unbootable OS. If it’s possible, use
either another hard drive or a separate PC altogether.
6. When you’re
satisfied with the partitioning, press Enter to begin the installation.
7. Next, choose an
installation directory, the default being \ReactOS, where Windows would
normally be. Again, as this is a developmental release, it’s best to leave
folder names and installation destinations as the default to avoid any problem
that may arise during the use of the OS.
8. The actual
copying of the files is very quick, with ReactOS using the memory to full
capacity and showing off its streamlined kernel and light footprint.
9. Once the copy
is complete, you’ll be asked where to install the bootloader. As before, it’s
best to keep with the default selections, so press Enter when ready.
10. That’s it for
the blue-screen install process. Everything should have gone to plan, and you
can now remove the dis and press Enter to reboot.
11. Leave the
bootloader to do its job, and ReactOS will spring into life together with the
GUI section of the setup process, Fig. 11. When you’re ready to continue, click
12. At the
acknowledgements screen, click Next.
13. Enter your name
14. Name your
computer and enter an administrative password, then click on Next to continue.
15. Oddly enough,
despite clicking furiously on the next screen at the customise buttons, nothing
happened, so we put that down to a part of the setup that’s still in
development, plus we already established that we’re using a UK keyboard and
English in the initial setup phase. If it works for you, then great – it was
obviously our test machines that didn’t like the GUI part of this setup.
16. Set the time
and date, with the obligatory tick box for the daylight savings.
17. After clicking
Next, the GUI part installs any extras that are needed, then automatically
reboots when it’s complete, ready to. Finally, boot into ReactOS.