Clean Install with a Full Version of Vista

How to Do a Clean Install and Setup with a Full Version of Vista
This will show you how to do a clean install and setup of a Full Retail or Express installation DVD version of Vista.
How to Do a Clean Install and Setup with a Full Version of Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to do a clean install and setup of a Full Retail or Express installation DVD version of Vista.
Note   Note

  • A OEM Recovery installation DVD can only do a clean install. It is just a clone of the hard drive that will set your computer back like it was from day one. The installation process is basically the same though, but can only be reinstalled on the same computer it was originally installed on.
  • A Express or Retail Vista can be installed on any one computer at a time for as many times as you like.
  • The product key number for the Vista 32 bit version is the same one for it's 64 bit version. You can only have the Product Key activated on one computer and version of 32 bit or 64 bit Vista at a time. See: Microsoft: License Terms for Software Licensed from Microsoft
  • Sometimes people have problems installing Vista with more than 2 GB of RAM installed. If you have this problem, then you should install Vista with a maximum of 2GB of RAM installed and add the rest of the RAM after Vista is fully installed.
Tip   Tip
For more information, see: Microsoft Windows Vista: Recommended System Requirements

Vista Home Basic
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 512MB
  • Hard Drive: 20GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 32MB Memory and DirectX 9 Support
  • DVD-ROM Drive
Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate
  • Processor: 1GHz (32 or 64 bit)
  • System Memory (RAM): 1GB
  • Hard Drive: 40GB with 15GB available for Vista
  • Video Card: 128MB Memory, DirectX 9 Support with: WDDM Driver, Pixel Shader 2.0, 32bits per pixel
  • DVD-ROM Drive

Installing Vista
warning   Warning
Before doing this clean install, you should download and save all of your device drivers to DVD, or some other media, to have them handy to make setting Vista back up easier.

1. Boot the computer from your Vista installation DVD.​
NOTE: Make sure that the CD/DVD drive is selected first in the boot order in the BIOS.
2. When prompted, press any key to start Vista from the installation DVD. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: You will only have about 8 seconds to press this key. If you miss it, you will have to restart the computer.

3. Set up your language preferences and click on Next. (See screeshot below).​

4. Click on Install Now to start the installation. (See screenshot below)​

5. Type in your product key number. (See screenshot below)​
6. Leave the Automatically activate Windows when I'm online box unchecked.​
NOTE: You can activate Vista later when you make sure it is running properly. (See STEP TWO step 11 below)
7. Click on Next.​

8. Check I accept the license terms box and click Next. (See screenshot below)​

9. Click on Custom (advanced). (See screenshot below)​

10. Select the hard drive or partition that you want to install Vista on and click on the Drive Options (advanced) link. (see screenshot below)​
NOTE: If the hard drive or partition that you have selected is unallocated, then you can just click on the Next button instead and go to step 12 since it is already empty.​
WARNING: You may not have the Drive options (advanced) option unless the installation is done at boot, and not running the installation from within your current OS.​

11. Select a hard drive or partition that you want to do a clean install of Vista on, do what Drive options (advanced) you want if any, and click on the Next button when finished. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you have your hard drives in a RAID setup, then connect your USB key with the RAID drivers on it, click on Load Driver, select the folder on the USB key that contains the RAID drivers to install them. Afterwards, your RAID drives will be available to select from to install Vista on.​
Tip   Tip
Drive options (advanced)
Tip   Tip

  • If you have more than one partition for a disk # (hard drive) and want to get rid of them to make that disk # one partition drive again, then select a partition with that disk # and click on the Delete option for each partition with the same disk # until there is only one "unallocated space" with that disk # left as in the screenshot below.
  • To shrink an existing partition to create another partition to install Vista on instead, select the partition you want shrink and click on the Extend option. Type in how much in MB (1 GB = 1024 MB) that you want to shrink it by. Now select the new extended partition.


12. The installation of Vista will now start. Below are screen shots of what you’ll see during the install.​
Installing1.jpg Installing2.jpg
Installing3.jpg Installing4.jpg

Setting Up Vista

NOTE: Now that Vista is installed, it is time to set it up.
1. Type in a user name, password, optional password hint, and select a display picture for your administrator user account. (See screenshot below)​
2. Click on Next.​

3. Type in a computer name and choose a Desktop Background. (See screenshot below)​
4. Click on Next.​

5. Click on Use recommended settings. (See screenshot below)​

6. Set your time and date and time zone settings, then click on Next. (See screenshot below)​

7. Click on your computer's location to select it for the network location settings. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: It is best to select Public location for the best security. If Vista doesn't detect your network connection, then you may not see this screen during setup.

8. Click on Start to boot Vista for the first time. (See screenshot below)​

9. Before Vista boots for the first time it must perform a performance check to see what features to turn on or off. (See screenshot below)​

10. Install all of your device drivers, then Windows Updates.​
12. When it is done, all you will need to do is to activate Vista.​
A) Right click on Computer in the Start Menu and click on Properties.​
B) Scroll down a bit and click on Activate Windows Now. (See screenshot below)​

That's it,

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Shawn Brink


sorry to sound redundant, but if I dont seem to be noticing any problems with my computer besides the fact I cant do the chkdsk do I even need to do this. I guess Im just wondering (I dont know much about computers), but is there a big concern? Will it be a bigger problem in the future?
Oh I already tried it the SFC will not fix the corrupt files. So then I did a repair install and had temporary luck with that, but then after getting one succesful chkdsk in, I later got the problems back. Thats why I was about to do this, but I've been hesitant because I dont want to mess up my lap top before I go to college.

Should I try step two though on the Chkdsk tutorial even though SFC wont repair stuff? I guess I kinda neglected to move on to step two because the SFC and the log files thing got me confused for a bit too.
clean install takes about as long, but it's reinstalling all of your other programs, backups, and adjusting your settings that takes a bit to do. To prevent problems, I would have all of your driver installation files saved to DVD so you can still install them just in case you do not have a internet connection at first.
Do you have a link to the tutorial of saving files onto a DVD? Also if I have re-installation DVD's for my drivers and utilities, do I still need to create a DVD?
You can just drag and drop or Copy & Paste the files to a inserted blank DVD.

If you mean the OEM Vista Recovery CD, then this is not the same as the drivers. You should go ahead and download all of the latest driver versions for your devices and save them to DVD. It is best to have them if you need them than not having them and no way to get on the internet.
Well I have the OS already installed to your computer reinstallation DVD for the Window Vista home premium 32bit (which I think is the OEM recovery CD your talking about, if not Idk if I have an OEM recovery CD) and then theres the Drivers and Utilities Already installed on your computer used for reinstallation.

I'll do the dvd thing anyways, plus I have internet on my home computer, so I can still contact this website/you if Im having a problem. Although this is ranked only 1 in skill level, so Im guessing I shouldnt screw up too much if I was able to do the 4 skill level stuff in the Chkdsk, although then again that didnt work out for me.

How many GB does my DVD need? do you recommend a certain DVD?
As long as the DVD has enough free space to hold the files you want to put on it, you can use any type that your DVD drive supports. Usually a DVD+R.
Does it usually take a long time, like 2 days, or is the dvd Im currently using just a bad one for what Im trying to do? I did notice the time skipping around earlier so maybe its doing that again because before it went from 17 hours to 11 and then I left for a couple of minutes and it jumped to 2 days.
hmmm well I guess I'll let it run a bit longer and see if the time changes but so far I have 2 days and 18 hours, Otherwise I just might cancel and go get some different one.

My question is if theres a corruption in the files wouldnt it remain on the saved/copied version?
Unless the Vista installation DVD is corrupted you should be fine. Sometimes it shows a long time left, then all of a sudden it drops in time.

Did you format the hard drive before you started?
No you said just drop it into the blank dvd, and I did that. how do you format it? If I cancel the copying can I format and then use the same DVD?
LOL, no not copy your entire hard drive to DVD. No wonder why it said it would take that long. I would go ahead and cancel it, but the DVD will be trash now.

You would only copy the latest driver installation files that you have downloaded from the manufacturer's website to a blank DVD. For example, the Video, Audio, and Network drivers.

Afterwards, use you Vista installation DVD to reinstall Vista, then install your drivers from the other DVD.
The only reason Im a junior member is because I ask soo many question, other wise Im still a newbie. Well good thing I have a few DVD's, Canceling takes a while too. So let me just be sure of this to format will I just right click on the OS drive and click the format button? Or do I double click on OS and then look at the files and folders and copy those that are most recent, and then how recent is recent?
Since that DVD is toast anyway, you can hit the reset button on the computer if you do not feel like waiting.

I would just boot from your OEM Vista Recovery DVD. It will take care of the formatting for you when you select the restore factory default installation option. This would be the easiest way to do a clean install.
Step 5 6 & 7 did not appear, For step 10 I clicked on the os (there were two other options one was recovery and I dont remember the other). I missed the driver advance option, so should I wait for everything to load and start over.
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Yep, you got it. Start or restart the computer with the DVD in the drive, then press a key (8 seconds to do so) to start from the DVD when prompted. :geek:

Since you are not real familiar with all of this, then I would recommend that you do not do this alone and have someone with you that can help you in case something goes wrong.
Well I had to change my BIOS first actually so afterwards will I need to change it back? I am in middle of doing it, (besides the IT guys at the stores theres no one else really advance to help me. You may not believe this but Im the most advance at computers in my direct family and friends (well actually not with friends but the advance friends all hate vista their MAC users.)) OH and it also said it would store all the files from my computer in a file called window.old or something like that. Is that uh normal for them to do?
No problem. I just didn't want you stuck if something went wrong and you had not internet access.

Na, there's no need to change the boot order back. It can come in handy if you need to boot from the DVD again, and it will boot to the hard drive anyway without a DVD in the drive.

If you are doing a Upgrade install instead of a clean install, then this is normal to have the previously installed Vista files stored to C:\Windows.old.