Windows 7 / Getting Started

How to Reinstall Windows

Infrequently, startup files and critical areas on the hard disk can become corrupted. If you are mainly concerned with salvaging readable data files and using the Backup And Restore Center to copy them to backup media or a network location, you can perform a parallel installation of Windows. Although this may provide access to the file system, it will permanently damage your existing operating system and applications.

If you cannot start Windows after following the troubleshooting steps in this guide, you can reinstall Windows for the purpose of data recovery by following these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows DVD in your computer.
  2. Restart your computer. When prompted to boot from the CD/DVD, press any key.
  3. Windows Setup loads. When prompted, select your regional preferences and then click Next.
  4. Click Install Now.
  5. When prompted, enter your product key.
  6. Select the I Accept The License Terms check box and then click Next.
  7. Click Custom.
  8. On the Where Do You Want to Install Windows? page, select the partition containing your Windows installation and then click Next.
  9. When prompted, click OK.

Setup will install a new instance of Windows and will move all files from your previous installation into the \Windows.Old folder (including the \Program Files, \Windows, and \Users folders). You now have two choices for returning the computer to its original state:

  • Reformat the system partition If you have an automated deployment solution in place the quickest solution is to back up important files and redeploy Windows. If you need to manually reinstall Windows, you can follow this process:
    1. Back up all important files by writing them to removable media, copying them to an external hard disk, or copying them to a shared folder on the network.
    2. Reinstall Windows. This time, choose to reformat the system partition.
    3. Reinstall all applications and reconfigure all custom settings.
    4. Restore important files.
  • Continue working with the current system partition You can move important files to the proper locations within the new instance of Windows. Then, reinstall all applications and reconfigure any custom settings. Finally, you can delete the original Windows instance by removing the \Windows.Old folder using Disk Cleanup.
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In this tutorial:

  1. Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
  2. What is New with Windows Startup
  3. Boot Configuration Data
  4. BCD Stores
  5. System Recovery
  6. Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics
  7. Understanding the Startup Process
  8. Power-on Self Test Phase
  9. Initial Startup Phase
  10. Initial Startup Phase for BIOS Computers
  11. Initial Startup Phase for EFI Computers
  12. Windows Boot Manager Phase
  13. Windows Boot Loader Phase
  14. Kernel Loading Phase
  15. Control Sets
  16. Values for the Start Registry Entry
  17. Value Descriptions for Type Entries
  18. Other Registry Entries in the Servicename Subkeys
  19. Session Manager
  20. Logon Phase
  21. Important Startup Files
  22. How to Configure Startup Settings
  23. How to Use the Startup And Recovery Dialog Box
  24. How to Use the System Configuration Tool
  25. How to Use BCDEdit
  26. How to Interpret BCDEdit Output
  27. How to Back Up and Restore Settings
  28. How to Change the Default Operating System Entry
  29. How to Change the Boot Menu Time-Out
  30. How to Change the Order of Boot Manager Menu Items
  31. How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System
  32. How to Remove a Boot Entry
  33. How to View and Update Global Debugger Settings
  34. How to Remove the Windows 7 Boot Loader
  35. How to Configure a User Account to Automatically Log On
  36. How to Disable the Windows Startup Sound
  37. How to Speed Up the Startup Process
  38. The Process of Troubleshooting Startup
  39. Startup Troubleshooting Before the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  40. How to Start the System Recovery Tools
  41. How to Run Startup Repair
  42. How to Use BootRec.exe
  43. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  44. How to Use System Restore
  45. How to Manually Repair the Boot Sector
  46. How to Manually Update the BCD Registry File
  47. How to Manually Replace Files
  48. How to Reinstall Windows
  49. Startup Troubleshooting After the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  50. How to Restore the Last Known Good Configuration
  51. How to Enable Boot Logging
  52. How to Start in Safe Mode
  53. How to Identify Failing Drivers and Services
  54. How to Analyze Startup Problems in Safe Mode
  55. Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
  56. System Information
  57. Error Reporting Service
  58. How to Use Device Manager to View or Change Resources
  59. How to Analyze Boot Logs
  60. How to Roll Back Drivers
  61. How to Temporarily Disable a Service
  62. Troubleshooting Startup Problems After Logon
  63. How to Temporarily Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  64. How to Disable Startup Applications Using the Shift Key
  65. How to Disable Startup Programs Using the System Configuration Utility
  66. How to Disable Startup Applications Configured Using Group Policy or Logon Scripts
  67. How to Permanently Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  68. Manually Remove the Entry