How to Clean Install Windows 7 A Complete Clean Installation Guide for Windows 7 From Start to Finish 1) Boot from the Windows 7 Installation Disk: To start the Windows 7 clean install, please insert the operating system DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and reboot your computer. You should be prompted to Press any key to boot from CD or DVD similar to the message shown below. Be sure to press a key as soon as you see this message, any delay will cause your computer to boot back to the hard drive and load any current operating system installed. If you do not see the screen above after you've verified the correct disk is in the appropriate disk drive, it means you're computer is not giving priority to your DVD-ROM drive to boot before your hard drive and you will have to change the settings in the BIOS to make the DVD Drive the higher priority. 2) Windows is Loading Files: After you have initiated the boot from CD or DVD sequence, give your computer a couple minutes to load the setup files to proceed with the installation. The disk is not copying any system files over to your hard drive just yet, but locating the appropriate files it needs to run the setup and putting them on a temporary memory spot it will use throughout the installation process. They will be removed automatically once your setup has concluded. 3) Loading the Windows 7 Logo: Once the setup files have loaded, the Windows 7 logo should appear on the screen. 4) Installation Language, Time and Currency Format, Keyboard and Input Method Selection: The next screen requires you to choose the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method you wish to use during your installation process. This is not the step to choose the time and date for your computer. 5) Windows 7 Install Now Button: After you make your selections in the previous screen, navigate to the next page using the Next button located at the bottom right. In the center of the next screen, continue with the installation process by selecting the Install now button. Note: Make sure you recognize the "Repair your computer" link at the bottom of the screen. You may need this later to make a Startup Repair or other Recovery options. 6) Setup is Starting: Windows now will start the official setup process to select a hard drive and install the operating system. 7) License Terms and Agreement: Please take the next moment to review the License Terms. After you have read through the agreement, click the white empty box next to "I accept the license terms" to signify you agree with the terms and conditions placed by Windows to run this software. It's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with legal small print to make sure you abide by the software laws. 8) Choosing the Installation Type: The next screen will ask you to make a choice on "Which type of installation do you want?" The choices they offer are either Upgrade or Custom (advanced) . If you are unsure if the Upgrade installation is correct for you, please navigate here to find out more. Please be advised if you are upgrading from a 32 bit (x86) operating system to a 64 bit (x64) operating system, you must chose to do a clean install (Custom (advanced)) as you need to replace the core files in the Windows folder from your current installation which cannot be done through the Upgrade. Click on the Custom (advanced) bottom for a new clean installation of Windows 7. 9) Selecting the Installation Hard Drive: (Advanced Drive Options) The next screen will prompt you to select a hard drive and partition to install the operating system on. You will need format the hard drive (suggested only once you've backup and removed your data from the existing installation) to make this a true installation and make sure the installation files will not be interfered with by old files. To format the partitions you have on the hard drive, select the Drive options (advanced) link. Then you can proceed with reformatting the hard drive. 10) Delete existing Windows Partition/Clean Partition: Whether you have a clean partition from a new hard drive or you have an existing installation of Windows installed, you need to delete any existing partition on the hard drive including old installations of Windows. Select the partition you wish to delete by clicking and highlighting the icon with your mouse. Some machines may have multiple icons in this section that include repair drives manufacturers include to rebuild your computer if it crashes or second or third backup hard drives. Be sure you are selecting the correct hard drive from the list and click on the Delete button. You'll be prompted to confirm the deletion. Click OK if you wish to format the drive. Note: This format is permanent and cannot be undone. If you wish to confirm you have backed up your entire drive before hand, click the cancel button and end the installation process to reboot to your old installation of Windows. As stated above, if you wish to delete any other partitions besides the main partition, such as a repair partition or other partitions that may have been created for another reason, you may do so here as well. Once again, this is a permanent format and the changes cannot be undone. Be sure to confirm you are selecting the proper hard drive and repeating the format. In our example, the other 100 MB partition will be deleted to form only one partition on the other hard drive. 11) Selecting the Installation Hard Drive: If done properly, Windows should now show only the hard drive partitions you wish to keep to select to format and install Windows 7 to. Click on the Next button to proceed with the installation. You do not need to format the partition, as Windows 7 will automatically take care of this for you! 12) Copying, Expanding and Installing the Windows 7 Files: After you have selected a hard drive to continue the installation with, Windows 7 will automatically copy the files over to the hard drive, expand and start installing the core files, features and updates to the computer. You do not have to do anything at this point but simply wait. Depending on how fast your computer is, the process could take anywhere from 5-40 minutes. The average time for most normal computer installations is around 20 minutes. 13) Restart your Computer to Proceed with Installation: After your computer is done installing the files onto your computer, you will be asked to restart your computer. If you left your computer during the file expansion and installation step, the computer will restart automatically in 10 seconds, but if you wish to speed up the process, you can select the Reboot now button at the bottom right hand corner. 14) Starting Windows, Update to Registry Settings and Starting Services: Windows has all of the files on the hard drive and will start Windows from your hard drive rather than your CD/DVD drive. It will update the registry settings with specifics to your computer and start the necessary services to run Windows. The next part will start services. Windows will always start services that are required to run the operating whenever you boot up your computer but this is the only time you will see this message. 15) Wait for Windows 7 Setup to Complete and Reboot your Computer: The last screen of the Windows 7 Installation Setup is the screen to confirm that the disk is completing the installation. While this is correct in saying it is completing the file installation of Windows 7, there is still a couple more steps before you're fully done. The computer will reboot to move into the next user input stage where it will ask for your initial setup questions and account configurations. 16) Starting Windows and Preparing the Computer for First Use: Finally, you're almost done! Windows is now starting the installed Windows 7 on your computer hard drive. Windows will now prepare the computer for the first use. You’ll be prompted for the usual setup information such as desired login information and date and time settings. It will also load system drivers and remove any "temporary files" it installed to your computer during the earlier installation process. 17) Setup is Checking Video Performance: Do not be alarmed with this screen...Windows is only verifying your graphics card and performance so it knows how well your hardware is integrated with each other and how advanced your components are to optimize the best user experience. If your hardware lacks some of the drivers or power of more advanced components in the market, the operating system may automatically disable graphical features such as Aero to ensure your computer has enough system resources to run regular programs. These features can be enabled again if desired so long as your hardware fits the software requirements. 18) Choose a User Name and Computer Name: Windows 7 will ask for your User Name and the Computer Name you wish to give the PC you newly installed Windows 7 on. Your user name can be anything you wish to log in with and the computer name will be displayed as the name you want other computers and devices on the network to see your computer as. You may use any user name you desire, including the name from the previous installation; remember all those settings are now completely gone. As for the computer name, I suggest something that might describe the operating system installed on the PC, whether it is a desktop or laptop and the location of the PC whether it is in the office, bedroom, kitchen...etc. just so it is easier later on when setting up printers or trying to pull data off another computer. If you require multiple user accounts, you can set up additional names once the setup is complete. You can simply navigate into your User Account Controls in your Control Panel once you boot up normally into your PC. 19) Choosing a Password for your Account: One of the most crucial steps in any user name setup is the password selection. While Windows 7 recommends you use a password, I strongly URGE you to setup the account with a password. Feel free to use the old password from the previous installation of Windows, but make sure it is strong and something that is changed on a regular basis. If you are someone who second guesses the use of passwords in today's cyber world, I implore you to research how easy it is to obtain user account information (including credit card numbers or social security digits) especially if you make it easy enough for the hackers not to try and hack your computer password. You may select a password hint that will appear on screen only if you continue to input the wrong password during log in. A hint should not contain the clues to spell your password nor contain your actual password, but something that can jog your memory in case you mix up a couple passwords from home and the office. 20) Enter the Windows Product Key: Enter the legal product key you purchased with the retail copy of your Windows 7 installation. If you purchased your copy online, it may be in the email sent to you to confirm your purchase or in an account setup online. If Windows 7 came pre-installed on your machine, the back of the DVD covers or even your physical computer should have a sticker with the product key of your disk. I recommend you also check the box to Automatically activate Windows when I'm online. It will save time and avoid confusion later if you forget to do so. 21) Choose a Windows Update Option: On the next screen, Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically, will ask how you wish to update your computer with three options: Use recommended settings, Install important updates only or Ask me later. I like to use the option that installs the important updates only because it mainly selects crucial files that are necessary to update rather than any extras Windows might release that I do not want clogging my computer such as Windows Live or Windows Messenger. Feel free to use which ever option you desire, but I highly suggest you do not use the Ask me later option for a couple of reasons. Many people tend to forget to update their computer and get the pop-up's to update your computer at a bad time or a time where it may hog the Internet connection and cause an inconvenience to browsing rather than at an idle time. 22) Review your Time and Date Settings: Be sure that you have the correct time zone and calendar date (including year). The time and the date are usually correct, as the time zone is commonly found to be the one that needs to be attended to. Be sure to check the box if your area is observing Daylight Savings Time. Microsoft has updates that checks automatically to fix the time so do not hesitate to check this box or fret if you do not check the box...the time should adjust itself on the next update. 23) Choose a Network Location: Select your computer's current location based on the network security you wish your computer to have. Networks based on the home and work, have lighter security for obvious reasons than one on a public network. If you obtain your Internet from a mobile broadband network, be sure to check the Public network regardless if you are using the PC at home. 24) Connecting to a Network: Windows will automatically to your network and determine if any other devices or computers are on the network. If a computer is found, it will ask if you'd like to share files and printers with that computer. Setting up a network or another computer found on the network can be skipped during the install process and can be done later via the network control panel. 25) Preparing your Desktop: Windows has gathered all the personal and network information it needs and is putting the desktop together for your first use! Consider this the clean up of the install and the finalization process... 26) Your Clean Installation of Windows 7 is now complete: Windows 7 is finally installed completely on your computer! The first step I recommend doing is running a Windows Update that can be found in the start menu. Depending if you selected to keep the updates automatic or manual, your computer will inform you of updates initially or wait for you to do it yourself. You are now able to use your computer and move back any data to the computer and install all your favorite programs and applications!
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