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How to Clean Install Windows 7 (With Video Demonstration)


Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Jul 22, 2005

Section 1: Windows 7 Clean Install Intialization
Hello, and welcome to our tutorial. My name is Mike, owner and founder of Windows7Forums.com, and today we will be discussing how to do a clean install of Windows 7. In this presentation, we will be using Windows 7 Ultimate Edition as our software installation, and what we will do is install our installation media into our CD-ROM [DVD-ROM] drive, and from there we will boot from CD [DVD]. As you can see that that is already occuring.

What's happening now is that we are choosing our language, which is English, in this case United States, we are hitting next, and we are installing now. The setup is starting.

The installation of Windows 7 is very easy. We agree to the End User License Agreement (EULA) for Windows 7. Instead of performing an upgrade, which is impossible from booting, we will actually go ahead and do a clean install using unallocated disk space. We don't have to worry about any file formatting or partioning on a clean drive: Windows will handle everything.

Windows will also begin the copying of files to begin the installation.

It is very important to note that when you do install Windows 7 under a clean install scenario, you are losing all of the files that may have existed either on Windows XP or on Windows Vista. Furthermore, in order to boot from the Windows 7 DVD media, you will need to change the option in your BIOS to boot from DVD, or you will need to hit F12 while booting your computer in order to access the boot menu to boot from CD/DVD removable device. This can very easily be covered in another tutorial.

Nonetheless, Windows here has finished copying the files over to the drive and is now expanding those files. Those files are actually, basically, encrypted [correction], not really encrypted, but compressed into .cab files, and they are now being expanded so that the installation can take place.

As this process can take anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours depending on the hardware you are using, we're pretty much going to cut to the chase very shortly to show you exactly what will happen during the installation. This is pretty much standard procedure for a Windows 7 clean install, and we'll go through the parts as they come.

Here we are at 98% now. And we're just waiting to hit that 100% mark. (Expanding Windows files). There we go. Windows will now start installing Windows features and updates and will begin to complete the installation by configuring different parts of your operating system that are necessary for you to configure your user account. It will also create an Administrator account, just like in Windows Vista and Windows XP.

After this step takes place, Windows will need to restart the computer to continue. What you need to make sure of is that Windows doesn't boot from the DVD media again. So one way to do this again, while its rebooting now, is to pull the DVD media out by ejecting the DVD. As you can see Windows will start, and we'll get the nice new installation/start screen here, which looks like pretty cool compared to the Windows Vista screen that had no logo, and the Windows XP screen, which was pretty much a giant pixelated picture.

It's important to note that Windows will still be a little slow to start since it's still configuring at this point and installing.

Here you see that setup is updating the registry settings. As a matter of fact, it's pretty much in the process of creating the registry for you, and setting up Windows so that you can use your computer for the first time.

When Windows initially installed, it pretty much took a snapshot there of your entire system: all of the devices it could detect, all of the device drivers in its library, and it is now applying those detections here into the registry, and basically registering the hardware on your computer.

Alright, and now we've made it. Windows is now starting services. Services are the backbone of Windows. They control pretty much everything from the user interface to the sound system, to the Background Intelligence Service, to anything you can imagine. Services, pretty much, are what power the Windows back-end and they've actually been quite recoded in Windows 7: enhanced and improved upon quite greatly.

Here we come back to completing the installation. We're not done just yet, but we're getting close. And now we restart the computer one more time.

As you can see we are using VMWARE, which is a virtualization solution, which allows us to create this demo. As you see we're starting Windows again here, and as you see it starts a little bit quicker now.

Now you have successfully completed the initial installation of Windows 7, and we will go through setting up the additional options in our next stage which is part 2 of our demonstration here: Please stay tuned and we will go through the configuration stage.

Section 2: Windows 7 Clean Install Configuration
You are now experiencing Section 2 of how to do a clean install of Windows 7 from Windows7Forums.com. As you can see, the setup is now configuring the computer for the first time use. So far, we've covered several issues which include the initial setup, putting in the DVD media, running through the formatting of the hard drive, and allowing the installation to begin. Now what is happening is that setup is checking up on your system, checking the video performance, assessing what your system is capable of doing, and we will begin the process of configuring Windows 7 for the first time.

As we see here, we shouldn't see something that shouldn't be too unusual: We get to enter our username. We'll enter a generic username: User. The computer name will be User-PC, which you can always customize. We'll also enter a password now for your account which you absolutely should do; it's absolutely recommended. We recommend you use a strong password: upper case, lowercase, numbers, and letters. For this demonstration, we'll enter something a little basic here. We'll also definately put a hint for our password. We'll put the hint as the name of our dog. Make sure you use a strong password. it's very important, but it's something that most people don't bother with, but it really will help you in the long term.

The account that you've created is actually an administrator account itself, but its not the Administrator account. And the reason we don't use the account named Administrator in Windows is because the SID, the security identifier, is not exactly unique. There are portions that can be used against you [by hackers], so that Administrator account is a fail-safe account that is disabled by default in Windows. So we always create our seperate user account, which is an administrative account.

The creation of the computer, the computer name, and the password, are all very important steps in the set up in Windows. And what you should really make sure about with the computer name is that it's a unique computer name. You should always make sure that there are no other computer names being used on your network that are duplicates. You should make the computer name
something easily identifiable for you, so that you always know what that computer is on your network.

For the product key, we will skip this portion. Obviously, we will not give out a Windows product key on this demo.

How will we protect our computer? Well, we'll use the recommended settings, which most people didn't do in Windows XP. We will change our time zone here. And the computer's current location is a Home Network. What this actually does is determine how the firewall will act, and how the sharing of different network shares will be applied. You will usually only see this screen if
you actually have a network connection.

Now here you have Homegroups, and we will just skip this portion. Your computer can still function as part of a workgroup, and there really is a little reason for you to create a Homegroup off the bat. We may do a demonstration on how to set up a Homegroup at a later time. A Homegroup is basically a workgroup that is password protected and has a couple new featues
added to it.

And here you can see Windows is finalizing the settings: And welcome! It looks like we've had some success here in our setup. Now something you may want to know: Since you have done a clean install of Windows, you are now starting completely from scratch. What you need to know is that there are certain device drivers that you may need for your hardware. If you have an AMD or NVIDIA graphics card, you may want to go to those websites and download the proper drivers for your graphics card. You will immediately want to do a Windows Update of your system, which we can cover later, because there are quite a few reliability, stability,
and security updates.

You'll also want to go ahead and look into Intel chipset drivers, which may be available for your platform. Intel Corporation develops motherboards, and if you have an Intel processor, what you need to do is go ahead and look for those drivers. If you have a commercial computer from Dell, Hewlett Packard, or Gateway; any of those major computer manufacturers, you can usually go to their support websites and they're pretty good with their driver support. They usually have up to date drivers. But, in the event that they don't, you can go directly to the source. Those sources would be Intel, Microsoft Windows Update, NVIDIA, and AMD.

And here you have the Windows desktop for the first time: as you can see we don't have the Aero interface active, and the reason for that is because we don't have the proper video drivers installed. In this specific instance, we're actually running a virtualized machine. It's actually a virtual machine that requires specific drivers for the operating system to run Windows Aero and utilize all of the possibilities with Windows.

But there you have it, the installation is complete, and all you need now are drivers. You're operating under Microsoft Windows Compatibility Drivers, which will get the job done for basic web surfing and e-mail, but in many cases you'll want to look up custom network drivers, custom video card drivers, custom chipset drivers, and all of the drivers you need for your computer to work properly.

End of Transcript

Windows 7 Clean Install Summary and Highlights:

  • A clean Install is the fastest install method for getting windows 7 up and running.
  • A clean install will very likely require custom driver downloads.
  • You must create a custom user account because the fail-safe "Administrator" is disabled.
  • You should use "Recommended Settings" when choosing Windows Update options.
  • Use "Home Network" when running on a home network. This will allow for easier file sharing and discovery.
  • Use "Work" and "Public" when concerned about your computer's network security and discoverability on a local area network.
  • For most installs, configuring Homegroups is an unnecessary step unless you plan on password protecting your media files across a local area network.
  • Always use a strong password when creating your user account. Make up a fake hint if you will remember the password, for heightened security.
  • In this instance, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit was installed with 2GB of RAM, and one CPU core on a 20GB pre-allocated virtual hard drive. Although not expressed in the video, this was done intentionally to show that Windows can run on a sub-par system. The official minimum requirements for Windows 7 are:
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • For more requirements see: Link Removed
  • See kemical's blog entry about how to Link Removed
I hope that you have enjoyed the segment. I will be working on improving the video quality on future demos and walkthroughs.

Comments and feedback are also appreciated.

Visit our YouTube Channel at YouTube - Windows7Forums's Channel
Wow... Looking good! Nice tutorial.