|Windows 7 installation Guide|
Windows 7 installation overview
This is a step by step guide to installing windows 7 Operating System. The guide is for beginners, professionals and teachers. This guide applies to installing all Windows 7 editions such as Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate.
The best and recommendable way to install any version or edition of Windows 7 is by doing a clean installation. Performing a windows 7 clean installation is easy and this tutorial will take you through all that.
Before you start the installation process, you must first check your computer hardware to see that it minimum requirements to install windows 7. If you don’t have Windows 7 drivers for all your hardware, it is recommended that you download all the drivers for your hardware manufacturers. You can get these from the official websites of your hardware manufacturers. Save them on a CD-R or USB drive before you can start the installation process.
Windows 7 DVD is bootable. In order to boot from the DVD you need to set the boot sequence from your boot settings. Got your BIOS setup and Look for the boot sequence and make sure that the first boot device is set to CD-ROM/DVD-ROM.
Planning the Installation
To install any Operating system, you must first plan for its installation process. When you run the Windows 7 Setup, you will be required to provide some information on how to install and configure your operating system. Planning can make your installation of Windows 7 more efficient and easy by helping you to avoid potential problems during installation.
Here are some of the most important things you should take into consideration when planning for your Windows 7 installation:
- Check your System Requirements
- Check your Computer Hardware and Software Compatibility
- Determine Disk Partitioning Options
- Complete a Pre-Installation Checklist
Windows 7 System Requirements
To install any version of Windows 7, your computer must meet windows 7 minimum system requirements. If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here’s what it takes. Microsoft states the minimum requirements for windows 7 installation as follows:
- Atleast 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor*
- Atleast 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- Atleast 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Other additional requirements to use certain features include:
- Internet access. You need to have an active internet data plan incase you want to install updates during installation.
- Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware.
- Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance.
- For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required.
- Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware.
- Home Group 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 and an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space.
- Music and sound require audio output
The functionality of your operating system and graphics may vary depending on your system configuration. Some features may require advanced or additional hardware for them to work efficiently.
PCs with multi-core processors: Windows 7 Operating System was designed to work with today’s multi-core processors. All 32-bit versions of Windows 7 can support up to 32 processor cores whereas 64 bit versions can support up to 256 processor cores.
PCs with multiple processors (CPUs): Commercial servers, workstations, and other high-end PCs may have more than one physical processor. Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate allow for two physical processors, providing the best performance on these computers. Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium will recognize only one physical processor.
Which Version of Windows 7 Should I Install? 32-bit or 64-bit Version?
You will need to make a decision on whether you should install the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7. The Windows 7 installation disc package contains both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. For starters, the 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of RAM more effectively as compared to a 32-bit system. If your PC has more than 3 GB of RAM, I would recommend you use the 64-bit version. Most programs or applications for that were designed for windows 32-bit version can still work on windows 64-bit version. Some may fail, and if they do, you can always use Windows XP Mode. Read How to Install Windows XP Mode on Windows 7.
Please note that you cannot use an existing 32-bit version of a previous Windows 7 Operating System to do an upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows 7. You need to completely format and install a new or fresh copy. Similarly, you cannot use an existing 64-bit version of a previous Operating System to do upgrade to a 32-bit version of Windows 7.
Type of Windows 7 Installation
There are two types of Windows 7 installations:
1. Upgrade (In-place upgrade). This type of installation replaces your current version of Windows Operating System with Windows 7, but keeps your files, settings, and programs in place on your computer.
2. Custom (also known as ‘Fresh’ Installation).This type of installation replaces your current version of Windows Operating System with Windows 7, but doesn’t preserve or keep your files, settings, and programs. Sometimes, this type of installation is also referred to as a clean installation for that reason.
Which type of installation should I choose?
As always, it is recommended to do a fresh installation as it much better compare to an upgrade installation. Even if you have an existing Windows XP/Vista Operating System on your computer, I strongly recommend that you format it and install a fresh copy of Windows.This article will focus on a fresh installation of Windows 7.
Begin the Installation Process
Step #1. Place a Windows 7 DVD in your DVD-rom drive and start your PC. Windows 7 will ask you to press any key to boot from DVD or CD, press any key on your keyboard to start the installation process. A black window with a progress bar will appear momentarily while the DVD content is being read.
Step #2. The next screen prompts you to choose your language, time zone and currency format. In this step you can also set up your keyboard or input method. Choose your desired settings and click NEXT to continue to the next step.
Step #3. Now the next screen will ask you to install or repair Windows 7. Since in this tutorial we are doing a clean or fresh installation, we will ignore these options and click on the “INSTALL NOW” option.
Step #4. In this step, you are required to read Microsoft’s license terms which you must accept before you continue. If you accept their terms, tick I accept license terms and click next to continue. Please be informed that if you do not accept do not accept, you will not be allowed to continue with the installation.
Step #5. You will now be given two options, the Upgrade and the Custom (Advanced) options. But because we are doing a custom installation, we will select Custom (Advanced).
Step #6. “Where do you want to install windows?” Choose where you would like to install Windows 7. If you have one hard drive on your computer, you will see something like this in the screenshot below. You can now click next to continue. If you have more than one drive or partition then you need to select the appropriate drive or partition where you want to install windows and click next. If you need to format or partition a drive then click Drive options (advance), select the ‘format’ option before clicking next.
Step #7. Windows 7 will now start the installation process and will start copying all the necessary files to your hard drive as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step #8. The installation process will go through various stages of the setup and your system might reboot several times.
Step #9. When your computer reboots, it will attempt to boot from DVD because you set it as its first boot device. Do not press any key during the boot if it asks you to do so. Just leave it and Windows 7 will continue with the installation by booting from the windows files that had already been loaded on the hard drive.
Step #10. After the reboot is completed, your computer will now be prepared for the first time use.
Step #11. Now you will be required to choose a username and a name for your computer. Click next to continue. The user account you will create here is the “Administrator account” which is the main account for your Windows 7 that has all the privileges.
Step #12. Choose your password and password hint. The password hit helps you to remember your password just incase you are too forgetful. This step is option is optional. If you do not want to set a password for your PC, leave the password fields blank and click next.
Step #13. If your windows copy is not activated, you be asked to enter the product key that came with Windows 7 and click next. If you do not have the product key, you can still proceed to the next stage and you enter it after installation. Remember Windows 7 will run in trial mode for only 30 days. You must activate your Windows within 30 days otherwise you will not be able to use the service after this trial period.
Step #14. Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically. It is advisable to choose “Use recommended settings” option.
Step #15. Now you can review your time and date settings, select your time zone, correct the date and time if it is not accurate and click next to continue.
Step #16. Select your computer’s current location. If you are a home user then choose Home network otherwise select the appropriate option. Please note that choosing appropriate location of your computer to enables Windows 7 to apply the correct network settings.
Step #17. Windows will now finalize the settings for your computer. This might take several minutes, and then it will restart.
Step #18. After the final restart Windows 7 will now start to boot up.
Step #19. Finally you have the logon screen. If you set a password, you can just type your password and hit enter or click on the arrow to logon to Windows 7 for the first time.
Step #20. After you have logged on to Windows 7 for the very first time, you will see a desktop similar to to the screenshot below. At this stage, your computer is now ready for use and you can start using it. But it may not be fully configured, therefore you have to check and see that all the hardware is detected correctly and the necessary device drivers are installed. This can be checked through your computer’s device manager.
Step #21. To go to device manager click – Start Menu -> Right Click on Computer-> Device Manager. Here you will see all your hardware listed as shown on the screenshot below. Check and see if there is any yellow exclamation marks next to the name of the devices, for example the yellow mark shown on “Multimedia Audio Controller” as it is in the screenshot below. This means that the driver for Multimedia Audio Controller has not been installed. Now you can install the driver for this particular device. To install it, Right Mouse click on Multimedia Audio Controller and select Update Driver Software.
Step #22. You can now choose to “Search automatically for updated driver software”. You must be connected to the internet to perform an auto-driver search. Alternatively you can “Browse my computer for driver software”. If you have the driver DVD or if the driver is on a USB drive, just choose “browse my computer for driver software”. Windows 7 will search and install the driver from the DVD or you can locate the driver manually from you computer. Once you have removed or fixed all the yellow exclamation marks from the device manager, your Windows 7 configuration will be be fully complete.
Step #23. Lastly check if you have successfully activated Windows 7.To do so, click Start Menu, click Control Panel, clcik System and Security and select System. You will get a window that looks like the screeshot below. Towards the bottom of the screen, you will see “Windows is activated” followed by your product ID. This means your copy of Windows 7 is now fully activated.
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