Visa OS is broken - can I do a clean install of 7 anyway?

I hope I'm posting in the right forum - I'll just apologize in advance for my lack of technical....anything.

I have a Gateway desktop that's a couple of years old now and it's running Vista. It was preloaded, so I have no idea what version of Vista - I've never had any reason to check but I assume it's the basic home version. Anyway, yesterday I was trying to print something, the system froze (it's always hated my printer driver) and the only thing I could do was a hard stop. <f1, 2, 8, and 10> options have all been tried to no avail. The system hangs at crcdisk.sys. I've done a considerable amount of forum scanning since it happened and have tried all the non-technical recommendations to no avail.

I'm one of the lucky ones, in that I started storing things outside years ago and have nothing of interest worth saving on my system - so I can dump any and everything.

My questions are:

  1. If I purchase the Windows 7 Home Premium and do a 'clean' (I think that's the term everyone uses?) install...will I get my computer back? Again - I could care less about my files - as long as everything works, I'm good.
  2. Or would I be better off to do an upgrade. Since my Vista doesn't want to work, could I even do an upgrade?
  3. And how can I tell if I need 32-bit or 64-bit if I can't access my system to tell? Would bad things happen if I did the wrong one?
My goal here is just getting a working PC that'll accept all my drivers and cause me only minimal grief in the process of getting it up and running.

thanks in advance!

Joe S

Excellent Member
A clean install is always best. You will have to reinstall. You ma need to update drivers for BIOS video chipset etc.


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
You should find it very straightforward to do a full clean install of Windows 7 and has already been said, a clean install is always best. BUT - before you go to that trouble and expense - your gateway desktop should have a recovery process built in- see here for a guide to running it.

Gateway Support - Full Factory Recovery

If you can't boot that either it's possible you have a hard drive problem (crcdisk error might be due to that) and it might be best to investigate that a bit further before you look at buying a new op sys.

Alright to answer your questions:
1. Yes. Vista will be completley wiped and 7 will replace it, your PC will work fine.
2. I wouldnt recommend an upgrade, Ive never done it before but if you want a 100% shot at getting a working PC again, I recommend you ditch it and just do a clean install.
3. If your computer still has the sticker on it, it should say the OS it came preloaded with, like mine says Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on the sticker. If you dont know, then its a 50-50 chance to be honest. I have not tried installing a 32 bit system on a 64 bit processor, I think it SHOULD work but theres always the chance it may not. However, if you try to put a 64 bit OS on a 32 bit system, it will not get past the Windows is loading files screen. If you have absolutley no clue as to what your OS is, just get 32 bit.
But if you have a gateway PC, there is a gateway recovery option. I accessed it without booting by firstly changing my BIOS to boot from CD, then burning a recovery dvd and running Gateway recovery. Always worth a shot ;)

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