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I bought a laptop from eBay. The previous owner took the hard drive out, so I replaced it with a new hard drive.

I installed the new hard drive, did a hard drive self test – it passed.

I downloaded a Windows Vista driver and put CD in drive; it still says "no operating system".

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In the future please edit your question to include more info. Thanks. – slhck Feb 26 '13 at 12:40
Without knowing the brand and model of the laptop you will get only generic Change BIOS settings to boot from CD answers. – Bruno Pereira Feb 26 '13 at 15:59

First in Bios you need to set the primary boot device as your CD-Drive.

Right now the Bios tries to load OS from your hard-drive-which has no Operating system.

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Setup your BIOS. Make it start from CD-ROM.

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