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A few questions about building first pc.

I've just ordered all my parts for my first desktop and I know how to connect all the cables and everything but I had a few questions on some things that I am unsure on that I was hoping you guys would be able to answer.
The first question is do I need to wait for the thermal paste to dry when I put it on my CPU before I put on the fan and also do I need to wait at all before I use my computer? Some people have said that you need to wait 24 hours after you put the paste on before you turn on your build, but I wasn't sure about that. Also, should I take the CPU fan off to make sure when I pressed it down none of the paste spread off the edge? or will that change anything?
The next question is what are the "stand-offs" that I need to use on my motherboard? People have told me to put these on to prevent frying my motherboard. From what I can tell they are plastic screws that I put into the case. Are they just meant for places to screw the motherboards screws into? How will I know if my case already has them on it?
The last question I have is, is there a way to get windows on my desktops hard drive without paying for it again? I already have it on my laptop, so since I already have it I was thinking that there might be a way to just put it on my desktop. But the ways things are today I'm assuming that I will have to buy it again.
Thanks for any help. If you have any other tips for doing my first build let me know!
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  1. Best answer
    Hello and welcome to Tom's!

    1. No, you do not have to wait for the paste to dry before installing the cooler, fan, or any other part. You can turn your system on immediately after you are finished building, the paste will do it's job no problem. And once you seat the fan, you do not need to remove the fan to confirm anything.

    There are varying opinions, but my personal favorite on how to apply paste is to apply a pea sized ball in the center of the CPU, and then install the cooler. The pressure from the cooler will naturally spread the paste for you. Do not apply too much paste.

    2. What case do you have? Most do come with standoffs pre-installed, but not all of them. They separate the motherboard from the case so it doesn't short out. This is what they look like:



    3. You will need to buy Windows for your new system.
  2. jimthenagual said:
    Hello and welcome to Tom's!

    1. No, you do not have to wait for the paste to dry before installing the cooler, fan, or any other part. You can turn your system on immediately after you are finished building, the paste will do it's job no problem. And once you seat the fan, you do not need to remove the fan to confirm anything.

    There are varying opinions, but my personal favorite on how to apply paste is to apply a pea sized ball in the center of the CPU, and then install the cooler. The pressure from the cooler will naturally spread the paste for you. Do not apply too much paste.

    2. What case do you have? Most do come with standoffs pre-installed, but not all of them. They separate the motherboard from the case so it doesn't short out. This is what they look like:



    3. You will need to buy Windows for your new system.

    Awesome Thanks! My parts are still being delivered but ill make sure that the standoffs are on the case before I put the mobo on.
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