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Published on 09.09.09 by Brent Trahan

Install Windows 7

Learn how to perform a full clean install of Windows 7.

Windows 7’s Hardware Requirements

Here are the minimum hardware requirements of a computer that Windows 7 can be installed on.

If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here’s what it takes:

  • 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

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • Internet access (fees may apply)
  • Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
  • For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
  • Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
  • HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
  • DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
  • BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive
  • Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on
  • Music and sound require audio output

Product functionality and graphics may vary based on your system configuration. Some features may require advanced or additional hardware.

How to Perform a Clean Install of Windows 7

  1. Insert the Windows 7 DVD in the computer’s DVD drive and then restart or turn on the computer.
  2. The computer might ask you to press any key to boot from the DVD. If it does, simply press any key on the keyboard. The computer might boot from the Windows 7 DVD automatically. If the computer doesn’t boot from the DVD, or ask you to press any key to boot from the DVD, check the computer manual about changing the boot order. You’ll need to set the BIOS’s boot order to attempt to boot from the DVD drive before the hard drive.
  3. When the Windows 7 installer is loaded you’ll see the screens shown below.

    install-windows-7-1 install-windows-7-2

  4. Set the language, time, and currency format that will be used during the installation of Windows 7 and then click Next.


  5. Click Install now to start the install process.


    Note: If you run into problems with Windows 7 you could click Repair your computer on this screen to start Windows 7’s recovery tools.

  6. Accept the license terms and then click Next.


  7. Choose a Custom (advanced) install.


  8. For simplicity reasons I’m assuming you only have one hard drive that is empty with one partition. Select the hard drive to install Windows 7 on and then click Next.


    You can access advanced disk configuration tools by clicking Drive options (advanced). The tools are used to create new, format, delete, or extend partitions. Don’t mess with these settings unless you understand what you’re doing.


  9. Sit back and enjoy the ride. The install process will begin and take from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the computer’s hardware. It will restart a few times during the installation.


    Note: When the computer restarts, don’t press any key to boot from the DVD if asked. Just sit back and let the install do its thing.

  10. Now that Windows 7 has been installed it’s time to configure a few essential settings. Type the initial user name for this computer. This user account will have administrative rights. If you have a home network it might be useful to give the computer a name like kids-pc or living-room so that it is easy to distinguish it on the network. Click Next when you are done.


  11. Give the user account you just created a password and password hint. A password is optional but I strongly suggest you give it one. Click Next when you are done.


  12. Type the product key that came with your copy of Windows 7, uncheck Automatically activate Windows when I’m online, and then click Next.


    It’s best to not activate Windows 7 until you are sure everything works as it should. When you choose to not automatically activate Windows 7 you are given a 30 day grace period. If you choose to automatically activate Windows 7 it automatically activates it after 3 days as long as it has an active internet connection. Once Windows 7 is activated it’s “married” to this computer and can’t be activated on any other computers.

    Note: You do not have to enter the product key at this time. Simply leave the product key box empty and click Next. Windows 7 will work for 30 days before requiring you to enter a product key and activate it or 150 days if you know a trick.

  13. Choose to Use recommended settings so that Windows 7 automatically installs important and recommended updates.


  14. Set the time zone, daylight savings time setting, date, time, and then click Next.


  15. Select the computer’s network location.


    Note: If the computer has wireless capabilities and it’s in range of a wireless network, you’ll be asked if you would like to join one. It’s a good idea to join the wireless network now.

  16. If you are asked to set up a HomeGroup, select Skip unless you know how to create or join a HomeGroup.
  17. You ‘re done! Give Windows 7 a few minutes to put on the finishing touches and you’ll automatically be logged in using the user account you created during the installation.


Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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