For Seniors: How to Reinstall a Windows Operating System

When you buy a new PC from a retailer or directly from a manufacturer, it ordinarily comes with a version of the Windows operating system already installed. However, if you’re experiencing issues, reinstalling Windows should fix almost any problem.

Reinstallation works best if:

  • The manufacturer supplied a restore disk with the computer. That disk returns a PC to its original factory-delivered state. If you don’t have a restore disk, you have to perform an ordinary installation from the original Windows discs.

  • Your computer is able to start, and you can get to the operating system.

  • You can make backup copies of all your personal data.

Be sure to keep the alphanumeric product key that came with your Windows installation disc. You can’t install Windows properly without this key.

To reinstall Windows:

  1. Make copies of all the personal files on your computer.

    Remember that a complete reinstallation wipes the hard drive clean, removing all software and all your personal files. You don’t need to make backup copies of your software programs; you’ll need to reinstall those programs anyway when Windows is back in place.

  2. Choose Start→Turn Off Computer→Restart to restart your computer and watch the screen carefully.

    You should see a message to press a function key (F2 probably) or another key combination to enter the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) screen.

  3. Press the designated key or key combination.

    You have only a few seconds to press this key to interrupt the startup process and enter the BIOS screen.

  4. Look for an option called First Boot Device, Boot Sequence, or something similar; press the arrow keys on your keyboard to select this field and then press Enter.

    You may have to select Advanced Options or another submenu to find it.

  5. In the resulting screen, select CDROM/DVD and then press the Esc key until you return to the main BIOS screen. Follow the onscreen instructions to save your new settings and exit BIOS setup.

    Your computer will restart from the CD/DVD drive.

  6. Insert your Windows installation CD into the drive and then restart your computer.

    Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 present slightly different startup screens. These steps describe the Windows 7 procedure, but the procedures in Windows XP and Vista are similar. The object is to get through the opening screens to the custom install screen, where you can reformat your hard drive and begin a clean installation.

  7. In the startup screen, select the Install Now option. In the next screen, select I Accept the License Terms and click the Next button.

    You’re asked what kind of installation you want to do.

  8. Select Custom (Advanced). If you’re given a choice of partitions, select the larger partition for your Windows installation.

    In most cases, you have only one or two choices: maybe a small partition (200MB or so) and a large one (30GB–100GB or larger).

  9. 9.In the next screen, click Advanced to expand the options at the bottom of the screen and choose the option to reformat your drive. Follow the onscreen instructions to reformat your drive and install Windows.

    image0.jpg

    You’re prompted to enter the Windows product key. This key — a set of 25 letters and numbers — may be on the Windows CD/DVD case or on a separate sheet of paper that came with the software. Some manufacturers also place a copy of the key on a sticker affixed to the computer case.

  10. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the installation.

    You’re all done!

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