In this handy guide we’re going to cover the process from start to finish and even cover one of the most common problems people may encounter when doing a fresh install onto a new hard drive.
Prior to installing any operating system the first requirement is to set your PC to boot from the medium that we’re going to be using for the installation. In this example we’re going to be installing from the Windows 7 Install DVD and therefore we’re required to set the system to boot from the CD/DVD ROM drive first, however the same would apply for network or USB drive installs.
Each bios may vary in the way it lets you set which item it will boot from first, however if you’re using a non EUFI bios it will either look like the picture above or be in the Advanced Bios Features.
Step One: Booting from CD/DVD
When you’re ready to install Windows the first thing you’re going to need to do is place your installation DVD in the optical drive and reboot the machine with the disk in.
Providing you set your CD/DVD ROM drive to your first boot device you should be greeted with this screen during the booting of your computer. At this point you would need to press any key on the keyboard (my personal choices are either spacebar or enter) to instruct the computer to boot from the CD.
Once booted from the CD you should see the above screen which means Windows is copying the required files for the installation into your RAM and getting ready to start the install.
Step Two: Choosing Language and Installation Type
Once the install has started we’re presented with a screen prompting us to choose our input language, at this point if you’re using a UK layout keyboard it’s imperative that you chose the right one to avoid being faced with any problems after installing.
After selecting the keyboard input language click Next.
You will then be presented with the screen above, which gives you the options of Installing Now to start the installation or Repair your computer to launch the Windows Recovery Tools. For this guide we’re going to be clicking Install Now.
The next page we’re presented with is the Microsoft Windows license agreement terms, once you’ve read these click on the I accept the license terms tick box and click next.
The following set of options we’re presented with are which install type we’ll need, these are fairly self-explanatory with Upgrade being the option to upgrade a previous version of Windows (i.e. Vista) to Windows 7 and retain user settings and documents etc. The second option Custom (Advanced) is the option we’re going to be opting for.
To this day I’ve never quite understood the wording on this one as Custom (Advanced) does make some users think this may be the incorrect option or that it may be a little too advanced for them. However in the next steps it should become apparent that it’s not overly advanced.
So let’s click Custom and continue onwards.
Step Three: Selecting the Location and Installing
After clicking custom you should be presented with a list of possible locations to install Windows to, if it’s a new system you may not see any drives listed; if that’s the case please click here for the steps to initialise the hard disk.
Once we’ve decided on the location we’re going to install Windows to, select the drive as shown in the image above and click next.
You will then be presented with the Installing Windows screen which will show you the progress of the installation step by step.
During the installation phase your machine may restart a few times, it’s imperative to remember that when the system reboots it will ask you to boot from the CD again, however you must not press a key as that will take us all the way back to step one.
Simply don’t press any key and allow the system to continue past this option and boot from the hard disk to continue the installation.
Step Four: Configuring Windows
Once Windows has finished installing we’re going to be taken to the screen above, which lets us enter our username and name the computer.
After entering your details click Next.
Following on from entering our desired username we’re then prompted to enter a password for the account should you desire one and a password hint should you ever forget it.
Once completed or left blank, click Next.
The next step in the installation requires us to enter the product key code or license key for our Windows install. If you’re installing from a CCL system this sticker will either be on the installation DVD case or affixed to the left hand side panel of the computer.
Once you’ve entered your product key, press Next.
Continuing on with the setup of Windows we’re required to choose which settings we want to use for Windows Update, Windows Firewall etc. I generally suggest using the Recommended Settings.
Once you’ve decided on an option click on that option to continue onto the final steps of configuring Windows.
We’re then prompted to set the time and date, which our technicians will have done when building your system.
Once you’ve set the time and date simply click Next.
If your computer is connected to a network (wired or wireless) Windows will ask you to define the network type such as Home, Work or Public. These options will enable or disable certain features such as Home Group and Network File Sharing.
Once we’ve finished configuring all of the optional settings and giving Windows the information it requires to configure and finalise the installation.
The system may reboot at this point and continue to configure Windows, after a short period of time we’ll be prompted with our fresh clean desktop ready to install our drivers and desired applications.
Troubleshooting: Steps to Initialise the Hard Disk
If you’re not given an optional location to install Windows to i.e. it doesn’t show any available hard disks or partitions, this is usually due to the fact that the drive isn’t initialised and therefore not detected by the installer.
At the point where Windows lists the option on where we want to install Windows to if no drives are detected press the Left Shift key and F10 key at the same time, this should bring up a commands prompt.
• At the prompt type 'Diskpart' and press return.
• When presented with the Diskpart Prompt type 'List Disk' and press return. (This should list all available disks as per the image below.)
• To select the disk we want to install Windows to simply type 'Select Disk *Insert corresponding number as displayed in the list here*' and then press return - As seen in the image below Disk 0 is the only drive and therefore the one we're wanting to install to, so the command would be ‘Select Disk 0’.
• When the command prompt tells us that the disk is now selected, type 'Clean' and press return.
After the cleaning process (usually a couple of seconds) you can close the command prompt by pressing the X or typing exit twice.
Once closed if you press the Refresh button your newly initialised hard disk should now be showing as an option.