How to Install Windows 7 Guide
Reviewed by: Guest_Jim_*
Reviewed on: April 3, 2013
Installing Windows 7 Guide:
At some point, every computer enthusiast will install Windows or another OS because they are building a computer, upgrading the OS, or they have messed up a machine so badly that a complete reinstall of the OS is needed. Regardless, it is going to happen, so let's go through the process of installing and some set up for the still popular Windows 7.
The first step is to inject the install media into the computer. Typically for Windows this is a DVD but you can also find versions of the installer designed to be run from USB drives. Once the media is connected, you need to reboot the computer and make sure it reads the media. It may be necessary to enter the BIOS to change the boot order so the computer will start from the install media, but likely won't be. If your computer does not boot from the media though, you'll want to find a manual for its BIOS to determine how to change the boot order.
The first screen you come to after the install media has been loaded is the Language window. Once you fill in that information, just click the Next button to actually get to the install process.
This window offers you three options: Install now; What to know before installing Windows; and Repair your computer. As this guide is about installing Windows, you want to click 'Install now.'
The first step after telling the installer you want to install is to accept the license terms. I cannot say if anyone actually reads these things but if you do not accept it, you will not be able to advance.
At this point the installer asks what type of installation we want: Upgrade or Custom (advanced). If an older version of Windows is already installed, you want to upgrade, and if you want to just install Windows, you want to click Custom (advanced). The 'Help me decide' option brings up a help window that explains the differences between the options.
Now we get to a very important step as we decide where we want to install Windows. If you have an unformatted drive installed in the computer, Windows will want to format the entire drive for its partition. If the drive already has data and partitions, then you will have the choice of selecting a specific partition to install on and to reformat it or any other partition. You can also create partitions at this point by clicking the 'New' button and telling it what size, in megabytes, you want the partition to be.
After the disk management step, you hit Next and wait. Exactly how long you wait depends on many factors, but the process tells you what it is doing. Eventually it will need to restart and if you are not there to click the 'Restart Now' button, it will do so automatically after 10 seconds. After it reboots it may return to the process meter window, saying that it is 'Completing installation' and restart again.
If the computer boots up asking you if you would like to install Windows, that just means the computer booted from the install media instead of from the internal drive. Just remove the media and restart again.
Setting Up Windows 7:
At this point Windows has been installed and we just have to give it some information. First it will ask for a user name and a computer name. By default the computer name is your username followed by "-PC."
The next step is very important but can be delayed. Windows will want its product key entered, which is included with any legitimate install media of Windows, in one form or another. You are able to skip entering the key at this time though, as I did simply because that key is already in use for my desktop, which is also why it has been told to not attempt activation. There is a 30-day grace period to enter the key through System Properties before Windows ceases to function.
Now we get to decide the behavior of Windows Update. The recommended settings are to have Windows install every update it thinks you could need without having to tell you. You can also have Windows install only important updates or ask you what you want to do later, after you have booted to the desktop.
This window is fairly self-explanatory.
Now Windows just has to finalize everything and then you are sent to your brand new desktop!
Setting an Account Password:
Not necessarily included as part of the install process, though I am sure some people would argue it should be, is setting a password on your user account. The first step is to go to the Control Panel. It is one of the selections in the Start Menu, on the right side.
Click the 'User Accounts and Family Safety' option.
Click 'User Accounts.' It will open up the settings for the account you are currently logged in under, but you can add or change a password on a different account by clicking 'Manage another account' and selecting the other account.
Now you just need to input the password twice, to ensure you did not mistype it one of the times, and give a hint, in case you forget your password.
Configuring and Using Windows Update:
During the set up process, we had the choice to set up Windows Update, and I chose to have it “Ask me later.” Now it's later.
To get to the Windows Update interface, just open up the Start Menu and click the All Programs option on the lower left to find the shortcut. Because I initially told Windows to not automatically install updates, the OS tells me I should, which is a good idea as updates can repair security holes and add new features.
However, I like to have some control over what my computer is doing and what is installed on it, so I am going to choose my settings. The options are to have Windows download and install updates as it wishes; allow Windows to download updates, but I choose when to install them; to let Windows only check for updates and I tell it what to download and install; or to never check for updates. You should choose whichever best fits your computer habits and knowledge. Also, beneath the drop-down box of the choices given earlier are two more boxes where you can tell Windows when you want it to install updates. These boxes may be grayed out, depending on the option you chose.
With the setting chosen, Windows will check for updates on its own or you can click the button on the left side to initiate a check. It may take some time, but when Windows finishes checking it will tell you how many important and optional updates it has found, and also tell you how many it wants to download and install. Clicking on the count of Important or Optional updates will take you to window for selecting which updates to install and provide more information about the updates.
Just clicking on the update’s name will give you additional information on it on the right of the window, and you can switch from Important to Optional updates on the left of the window. Once the updates are selected, you can click the OK button in the lower right and let Windows start installing whatever is selected.
Aside from the possibility of having to restart your computer to finish installing an update, that is all there is to installing and updating Windows 7.