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Title: HOW TO PERFORM A CLEAN INSTALL OF WINDOWS 7 Skill Level: Intermediate
Applies To:
Windows 7
Author: Michael J. Casimir Categories: Windows 7; Clean Install
Pages: 1 Applies To: Windows 7
Date Created: November 22, 2006 Last Modified: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 6:31 PM
Article Links:
overview of the problem Define symptoms of the problem. Define computer specifications document was created on. Define key terms associated with this article. Define all solutions to the problem. Defind links that related to this document elsewhere on the Internet and locally.  

I have the dreaded Windows Startup Virus. So when I boot up my computer, it automatically goes to the Windows Error Recovery screen asking me to either "launch startup repair" or "start windows normally". If I select the repair, it does the repair, restarts, and then brings me back to same spot all over again. If I select start normally, it also brings me back to the same spot. I went to a website to get a "fix". The first thing it asked me to do was boot up and press F8 to get into Safe Mode. However, when I do this...it merely goes thru its process, and then brings me back to the Windows Error Recovery screen all over again. What are my options? How can this be fixed?

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This problem is caused by:

  • A computer virus has infected system files needed by Windows to successfully boot the computer and show the desktop.
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This troubleshooting document and the troubleshooting steps were produced on a machine with the following specifications:

Source: Computer

Computer Name:  RebelScum    Computer location:  Home Operating System:  Windows 7

    OS Data Width. - 64 bit    Ver. - Not Specified    Service Pack - Not Specified

* I built this computer myself.

    Motherboard: i don't know.    Processor: i don't know. Processor:  quad core   Processor Speed:  Not Specified

Memory:  4 GB. Hard Drive:  750 GB.

Screen Resolution:  Not Specified  by  Not Specified

Web Browser:  google chrome

E-Mail Client:  use public online sites only yahoo


I have the ORIGINAL Operating System Install / Setup disk supplied by Microsoft.

I have a valid CD Key.

This computer is a Desktop or Tower. - PC

Monitor is an LCD.


I connect to the Internet using a High Speed connection. (DSL / ADSL)


My ISP is:  bell canada


Other Information:


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The following links will help you get the most out of this computer troubleshooting document:

Go to this URL for more information about the problem.
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Have you considered doing a completely fresh (also known as clean install) of Windows? A clean install will revert settings and files back to their originals and any virus traces will be eliminated when a format is completed (an integral part of the clean install process).

And unfortunately, another part of the clean uninstall process involves losing any and all data that you havent backed up. So if you are comfortable with losing all of your personal settings, and files then we should proceed with a clean install.

The most important thing to realize before performing a clean install of Windows 7 is that all of the information on the drive that your current operating system is installed on (probably your C: drive) will be destroyed during this process. That means that if there's anything you want to keep you should back it up to a disc or another drive prior to beginning this process.



1. To begin the Windows 7 clean install process, you'll need to boot from the Windows 7 DVD.

The Windows 7 now loading screen.

2. Watch for the message Press any key to boot from CD or DVD...message.

The Windows 7 now loading screen.

3. Press a key to force the computer to boot from the Windows 7 DVD. If you do not press a key, your PC will attempt to boot to the next device in the boot order, which is probably your hard drive. If this happens, chances are your current operating system will boot. If it does, then you will need to shutdown and restart the computer and repeat Step #2.

4. You don't need to do anything at this point but wait for Windows 7 to finishing loading files in preparation for the setup process.

5. After the Windows 7 install files are loaded into memory, you'll see the Windows 7 splash screen, indicating that the setup process is about to begin.

6. Choose the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method that you'd like to use in your new Windows 7 installation.

7. Click on the Install now button in the center of the screen, under the Windows 7 logo. This will officially begin the Windows 7 clean install process. The Windows 7 setup process is now beginning. No need to press any keys here.

In the Which type of installation do you want? window that appears next, you're offered the choice of Upgrade and Custom (advanced). Click on the Custom (advanced) button.

8. On the next screen, you'll see each partition that Windows 7 recognizes. The main difference in a Windows 7 clean install verses other kinds of Windows 7 installation methods is that a clean install involves the removal of all operating system related partitions.

Windows 7 setup considers partition management as an advanced task so you'll need to click the Drive options (advanced) link to make those options available.

In the next few steps you'll delete the partitions containing the operating system you're replacing with Windows 7.

9. Now that all available drive options are listed, you can delete any operating system related partitions from your existing hard drive(s).

Important: Before continuing, be aware that deleting a partition will permanently erase all data from that drive. By all data I mean the operating system installed, all programs, all data saved by those programs, all music, all video, all documents, etc. that might be on that particular drive.

Highlight the partition you want to delete and then click the Delete link.

10. After deleting the partition, Windows 7 setup will prompt you to confirm the deletion.

The message says "The partition might contain recovery files, system files, or important software from your computer manufacturer. If you delete this partition, any data stored on it will be lost."

Click the OK button.

11. If there are any other partitions that need to be deleted, you can do so at this time.

Highlight the partition and click the Delete link.

12. Just as in a previous step, Windows 7 setup will prompt you to confirm the deletion of this partition.

13. As you can now see, all the space on the installed hard drive is unallocated. No partitions exist on this computer.

Note: The number of partitions displayed and whether those partitions are unallocated portions of a hard drive, previously partitioned spaces, or previously formatted and blank partitions will depend on your specific system and which partitions you deleted in the last several steps.

Choose the appropriate unallocated space to install Windows 7 on and then click Next.

Note: You do not need to manually create a new partition nor are you required to manually format a new partition. Windows 7 Setup will do this automatically.

14. Windows 7 Setup will now install a clean copy of Windows 7 to the location you chose in the previous step. You don't need to do anything here but wait.

This is the most time consuming step. Depending on the speed of your computer, this process could take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

15. Now that the Windows 7 clean install process is nearly complete, you need to restart your computer.

If you do nothing, your computer will reset automatically after 10 seconds or so. If you'd rather not wait, you can click the Restart now button at the bottom of the Windows needs to restart to continue screen.

16. The Windows 7 clean install will now continue after the reboot.

17. Windows 7 Setup is now updating registry settings in preparation for the final stages of the operating system clean install.

18. Wait while Windows 7 Setup starts various necessary services. This starting of services will occur during every Windows 7 boot as well but you won't see it like this again. Services start in the background during a normal Windows 7 startup.

19. This last Windows 7 Setup screen says "Completing installation" and may take several minutes. All you need to do is wait - everything is automatic.

20. Wait while the Windows 7 setup process automatically restarts your computer.

21. Wait while Windows 7 starts.

22. Windows 7 Setup is now preparing your computer for "first use." Windows 7 is now loading drivers, checking to make sure everything has been setup properly, removing temporary files, etc.

You don't need to do anything here.

23. Wait while Windows 7 checks the video performance of your computer. Windows 7 needs to know how well your video card and related hardware works so it can properly adjust performance options for your computer.

For example, if your video system is too slow, Windows 7 may disable features like Aero Peek, translucent windows, and other graphically intense features of the operating system.

24. Windows 7 needs to know what name you'd like to use and how you'd like your computer to be identified on your local network.

In the Type a user name (for example, John): text box, enter your name. You can enter a single name, your first and last name, or any other identifiable text you like. This is the name you'll be identified by in Windows 7.

In the Type a computer name: text box, enter the name you'd like your computer to have when being viewed by other computers on your network.

Click Next when you're done entering both the user name and computer name.

25. Microsoft recommends that you choose a password that will be required when starting Windows 7 before access to your user account will be allowed.

In the Type a password (recommended): text box, enter a complicated but easy-for-YOU-to-remember password. Retype the same password in the Retype your password: text box.

Type a hint to give yourself in the Type a password hint (required): text box. This hint will display if you enter the wrong password when logging on to Windows 7.

26. Enter the product key that came with your retail purchase or legal download of Windows 7. If Windows 7 came as part of your complete computer system, enter the product key you were given as part of that purchase.

Note: If Windows originally came preinstalled on your computer, your product key is probably located on a sticker attached to the side, back, or bottom of your computer's case.

Important: You may be able to avoid entering a product key at this point but you will eventually need to do so in order to continue using Windows 7. I highly advise that you enter your product key here and choose to Automatically activate Windows when I'm online.

27. On this Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically screen, Windows 7 is asking you do choose how you want to automatically install updates from Microsoft's Windows Update service.

I recommend that you choose Install important updates only. This option is the safest because it restricts Windows 7 from doing anything with your data or to your computer automatically except when important security and stability updates are available.

28. On the Review your time and date settings screen, choose the correct Time zone, Date, and Time. The time and date is likely already correct but be sure to verify the time zone and change if necessary. If your area observes Daylight Saving Time be sure to check that box here.

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