Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
How to Clean Reinstall a Factory OEM Windows 7
Published by gregrocker
15 Mar 2012
Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
How to Clean Reinstall a Factory OEM Windows 7
A clean reinstall is often better than getting a new computer since most PC's come larded with sponsor's bloatware and useless factory utilities that have much better versions built into Windows 7. For this reason many tech enthusiasts clean reinstall using the Product Key on the COA sticker affixed to machine.
latest official Win7 installer ISO with SP1 for your licensed version.
Burn ISO to DVD or write to USB flash stick (minimum size of 4GB required)
=General%20Tips"]Windows 7 USB-DVD Download Tool.
Back up your files externally by dragging your named User account or active User folders to another HD, external drive, flash stick or disk. Don't forget to export your browser bookmarks first. If your email is stored on computer, Google how to back up mail and account settings.
Backup Quickbooks 2010+ Company files from User/Public/Documents, google your version's file location, or run a QB backup.
• For unbootable Windows copy data out externally using free
Paragon rescue disk or
Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console.
Make your Recovery Disks so you have a path back to factory condition, following the steps given in your PC's setup literature or in the Manual located on the Support Downloads webpage for your model computer. As an alternative to Recovery Disks you can
Windows 7 Backup Image or
Macrium Image of the entire HD.
• In addition to Recovery Disks some OEM Backup and Recovery options include making a
drivers disk to have as an additional backup to the latest
drivers on the model's Support Downloads webpage.
Run an audit of hardware and software including installed Product Keys using
Write down the Product Key from COA sticker located on back or side of PC tower, bottom or under battery of notebook. Make sure you get the characters correct as this is a main cause of activation failure. You can input or Skip the key during install then afterwards activate at Control Panel>System, which may require a quick robocall. The COA sticker looks like this:
Gather your program installers. For those lacking disks, you may find them on the program's Support Downloads webpage. Favorite pre-installed apps may be found on the Downloads webpage for your model computer or manufacturer-provided Apps Disk. Others may be found by googling. Some pre-installed apps may not be available for clean reinstall - HP owners see additional note below.
Many of the favorite apps needed and desired for reinstall are available in the terrific app
Ninite - Install or Update Multiple Apps at Once.
Unplug all other HD's and peripherals,
Boot the Windows 7 installer, choose Custom Install, then Drive Options (Advanced) to Delete all partitions not needed, repartition as desired following illustrated steps given here:
Clean Install Windows 7.
● If you have a Recovery or OEM tools partition, these may not run after clean reinstall so be sure to make your Recovery Disks.
● You can wait until afterwards to see if Recovery or (Diagnostics) Tools partitions will run from boot to decide if you want to delete those partitions and recover the space into C or elsewhere (using Step 3
● If you don't want to keep any partitions but also don't have a new partition scheme in mind, just click Next after Deleting all to let the installer create and format your installation partition for you.
● Until Windows 7 installer is updated with USB3
drivers use a USB2 port for flash install or load the USB3
driver from the PC's Support Downloads webpage when prompted during install.
If you're prompted for drivers for any other reason during install it almost always means a bad installer.
The installer is mostly
driver-complete, with newer arriving quickly via optional Windows Updates. Just in case, have your Wireless or Ethernet LAN
driver on flash stick or CD so you can install it to get online quickly - these can be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your model computer . Then
enable hardware driver auto-updating, install all Important and Optional Updates.
Any drivers still missing in Device Manager after several rounds of Updates can be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your model computer or device, along with possibly needed hotfixes which you can also wait to see if you need.
Driver Install - Device Manager
I would not replace any drivers given by the installer or optional Updates unless performance problems point to that specfic driver. We can help you troubleshoot these issues.
• Unknown Devices are often SID card readers, or can be traced using
• Co-processor, USB and Storage controllers are elements of the chipset.
Install programs slowly over time to gauge performance changes after each. You can roll back most any Program installs or Update(s) using
Don't let any programs write themselves into msconfig>Startup as they slow startup, become freeloaders on your RAM/CPU and can spy on you.
As illustrated in
Startup Programs - Change uncheck everything except AV, gadgets (aka "sidebar"), Sync program in msconfig>Startup.
Then after reboots do the same in msconfig>Services after checking "Hide All MS Services."
Check back with both lists periodically to see if anything writes itself back in and turn it off in its Program Preferences or Uninstall the freeloader.
If you have any questions about a listing, Google it to learn what it does.
● However I would not install Google programs which are relentless spyware. Only use the stable Google search box in IE9 or Firefox and don't stay signed into any Google web apps.
● You can greatly diminish spying and reduce tracking ads - periodically
Opt Out of Network Advertising.
Use a lightweight free AV like
Microsoft Security Essentials which works perfectly with the Windows 7 Firewall. If you're prone to infection add the paid real-time protection for
Malwarebytes, otherwise run its excellent free scanner monthly.
To copy your files into the new install, open the storage folder, open each User folder (Documents, Pictures, etc.), from the Organize tab Select All, then drag the group to the corresponding folder on Explorer bar at left. Wait until the bar stops unfolding and hypertext confirms the copy location before releasing the left click. Do not copy over hidden AppData folders from User Accounts as these are a corruption path.
● The User's Favorites folder will populate IE Bookmarks. Import another browser's Bookmarks from HTML file backed up previously. Copy Quickbooks and other Program data into it's default folder location.
Activation at Control Panel>System may require a robocall to MS the first time to record your hardware signature in their servers. It will
work as long as you install the correct version and input the key accurately.
When finished, clean and order the HD perfectly using state-of-the-art
free CCleaner "Run Cleaner" button and Registry tab. I recommend
Puran free boot-time defragger + Full Disk Check after checking Intelligent Optimizer on Additional Operations tab for state-of-the-art defrag which includes System Files. Periodically run these as well as a full scan with free
● Avoid spyware tracking cookies placing interest ads by
Opting Out of Network Advertising.
save a Windows 7 Backup image externally so you never have to reinstall again - just reimage the HD or it's replacement using DVD/Repair CD with the stored image.
You can keep your User folders backed up to the cloud, sync'd to your other devices, even accessed on the web using
Skydrive free 7gb of storage with each Windows Live ID:
Sync Any Folder to Your SkyDrive Account
Henceforth if required to contact your OEM Tech Support do not tell them you Clean Reinstalled but troubleshoot as if you have the factory install. Otherwise OEM's may refuse to support Clean Reinstall but cannot void Hardware warranty. If you ship the unit back for repair under Hardware warranty save a Windows 7 backup image and then run Factory Recovery beforehand.
Special notes to HP owners:
HP Recovery will now do a Minimized OS Recovery when booting from F11, which retains only the OS, Recovery Manager, HP Support Asst, and HP Wireless LAN. This is as close to a clean reinstall as you can get without using a retail DVD with COA key.
● If you clean reinstall only to C and leave all other partitions intact, F11 Recovery key should still work later if you need it.
● You can also
Extract HP 3rd Party Software from RecovCD.
● Problems with volume control lighting and HP Quick Launch buttons have been dealt with
here where you can also get further support.
Special notes to Dell owners:
If your Recovery partition is triggered at boot from the F8
System Recovery Options then it will no longer run after clean reinstall, so
make your Recovery disks first, delete Recovery partition during reinstall.
●The Dell Diagnostics tools stored on the OEM Tools partition often
run from boot but not from the OS after Reinstall, or you can download a bootable CD/flash stick version of them from Dell's site to replace it
Special Note to Sony Vaio Owners:
Software which enables Fkey functions and illumination must be reinstalled from the Sony Support Downloads webpage in the order as shown here:
Function keys don't work after clean install - Windows 7 Forums