It is very simple to install Raspbian, and other compatible operating systems to your Raspberry’s Pi’s SD card in under an hour. Installing an operating system on the Pi is simpler than installing a desktop operating system on a Windows desktop and laptop in my experience. You just need to format your SD Card, and unzip Noobs zip folder to your formatted SD card. You can also use Win 32 disk imager to write operating system images to your SD card, and backup your SD card to a .IMG file, so you can make multiple SD cards to share with friends, or for use on other Raspberry Pi computers which you own.
If you need a SD card, I recommend Transcend 8 GB Class 10 SD Card because it is fast, reliable, cost $7-8 US Dollars, and is compatible with the Raspberry Pi in my experience. 8GB is also enough space to install a few operating systems if you use NOOBS or Berry Boot to create a multi-boot SD card for running more than one OS on the same SD card.
First, you need to format your 4GB ort bigger SD card with a SD Formatter program for Windows which you can download at https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/ . There is also a version of the SD formatter for Mac.
The SD formatter tool will format your SD card to the correct file format which is Fat32.
The formatting tool is simple to use. You just need to insert your SD card into your PC, and open the format program to format your SD card. Before you format your SD card, make sure to backup all your files on your card before you format your SD Card.
After you format your SD Card, you need to downloads the NOOBS installer from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads , and unzip the NOOBS zip folder to your SD card.
After your SD card has all the NOOBS’ file on it, you can use the SD card to install Raspbian, Rasbmc, Openelec, Pidora, ArchLinux, and other operating systems which comes bundled with NOOBS.
Berry Boot, which you can download at http://www.berryterminal.com/doku.php/berryboot , is a similar program to NOOBS which let you install similar operating systems to your SD card.
If you have a 2GB SD Card or want more free space, I recommend you download the RAW images of Raspbian, Rasbmc, and other operating systems, and use Win32 Disk Imager, which you can download at http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/, to install Raspbian, and other Raspberry Pi’s Operating system images to your Pi’s SD card. All you need to do is download the image file for the operating system you want to use from the Raspberry Pi download page at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads , and unzip the image to your computer if the Image file is zipped. After you unzipped the image file, you need to insert your SD Card, and use Win32 Disk Imager to open the Image file. Lastly, click the write button to write the image file to your SD card. You can also use Win32 Disk Imager to backup your SD card to a .img file by typing in a drive location, and file name like C:\image.img , and clicking the Read button.
Before you remove your SD card from your computer, you should unmount it from your computer, or shutdown your PC before you remove your SD card to prevent corrupting your SD card.
To use your SD card in your Raspberry Pi, you should unplug your Pi’s power adapter, slide your SD card into the SD card with the gold metal contacts facing up into the SD card slot and plug in your USB keyboard and mouse, speakers, and monitor before you plug-in the Pi’s power adapter.
Now your Pi should start up to the Noobs installer screen, or your operating system desktop. For Raspbian, you would need to type in startx to login to the desktop from the Command line. You can force Raspbian to start into the desktop by typing sudo raspi-config in the command line where there is an option for making the Raspberry Pi boot up into the desktop. There are also options for overclocking, video, and audio settings for Raspbian.