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Installing Windows 7 consists of several steps:
- Install Prep
- BIOS/Secure Boot
- You may want to wipe your drive before installation.
- If your computer came with a windows install disc, it's likely to be a loader for the windows rescue parition and not a full install disc.
With your .iso in hand, you need to put it on an installation medium. Burn it to a DVD, or write it to a USB Memory Stick with rufus.
If you followed the Backups page (last warning!) you will also have an install kit with all your drivers and applications.
From here on in you will NOT have internet access. Double check all of the above. If you can't be bothered to double check, it's on your head. Professionals triple check.
Depending on your hardware, your BIOS may support secure boot. Secure Boot is a new thing that restricts unauthorized operating systems from booting. It was intended as a way to stop nasty viruses from wrecking newbies. It cops alot of flak from nerds for disallowing linux distros from booting.
If your computer came with Win8, it's likely that you have secure boot enaled in your BIOS. You may have to disable it in order to install Windows 7. Check your BIOS for details. That's the "hit del for options" or "hit f1 for options" that you see as the first screen when you turn on your computer.
With secure boot disabled, you can install Windows 7.
- Insert your boot medium (DVD or USB memory stick) into your computer.
- Hit F1 or del (or whatever) to enter BIOS.
- Navigate to your boot options.
- Select your DVD or USB memory stick as the Primary Boot Device.
- Save and Quit.
- Your computer will make it's restart noises.
- The Windows 7 installer will startup.
- Windows is loading files
- Windows is starting
- The Install Windows screen will appear.
- Select your Language (English)
- Select your Time and currency format (English (United States))
- Select your Keyboard or input method (US)
- Hit Next.
- You'll be presented with one or more versions of Windows (e.g. Ultimate, Pro, Basic) and each will have an Architecture (x86 or x64).
- Select your desired version and appropriate architecture.
- Hit Next.
- You'll now be presented with the paritioning screen. Your existing disk partitions will be shown.
- If you have an existing linux partition(s) be aware that Windows will destroy GRUB/your bootloader.
- If you have an existing linux paritiion(s) don't touch them with this horribly destructive partition tool.
- If you have an existing Windows install, you may have two or more paritions for windows already (boot and system).
- If you have an empty drive this shit is easy as.
- Hit Drive Options to load the extra tools.
- You need a main Windows parition (C: drive) and the Windows boot partiton (100mb, the tool will force you to make it).
- For an Unallocated Space drive, just hit New and Apply and then OK.
- For a reinstall over old partitions, select your old Windows paritions and hit Format for each.
- Select your big Windows parition and hit Next.
- Windows will now start installing. This will take a good 30mins.
- Windows will reboot. (It will reboot using the installed kernel, rather than the installation kernel).
- Windows will continue the installation.
- You'll be prompted for a user name and computer name. Enter whatever and hit Next.
- You'll be prompted for a password for the username. Enter one or don't. Then hit Next.
- You'll be prompted for a product key. Hit Skip.
- You'll be prompted for "protection" settings. Select Ask me later.
- Windows will finish it's setup and perhaps reboot.
- You'll now be at the desktop (or prompted for a login if you entered a password).
- Windows is installed.
- Now it's time to install all your drivers and applications.
Windows 7 requires activation. This a process that takes the serial numbers of your hardware, along with your product key, and registers it with microsoft (and the NSA). Activiation also protects against you installing Windows on more devices than you have licenses for.
If you build a new computer and want to deregister your copy of Windows from your old PC in order to install it on your new PC you need to call up the windows help line and talk to their support team. If your motherboard dies and you replace it, you also need to call Microsoft support to comply with their licensing policy.
Failure to register your Windows 7 install within 30 (or 60?) days will stop Windows from working and give you prompts to register Windows.
- 80% of Windows installs in China are pirated.
If your product key is denied by Microsoft and you can't recover the details of your old build, and you've exhausted all possible enquires to the help desk, or you live in China, or you just don't want to give the NSA your HDD serial number, or whatever:
- Consider running linux.
- Use DAZ Loader to trick Windows into thinking it's activated. DAZ Loader 2.2.2 Final is available at:
Restore WinXP Style Quick Launch
In WinXP, icons just to the right of the start button were "quick launch" apps. These were similar to pinned apps, except:
- Clicking the Quick Launch icon twice would load two instances of the program.
- Minimizing a Quick Launch application would minimize it to the task bar, not the pin icon.
They were basically shortcuts next to the start button.
To restore the WinXP style Quick Launch:
- Right click on the taskbar.
- Create a new toolbar.
- In the window that pops up:
- Select the address bar and enter:
- %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
- Hit enter on the address bar.
- Hit OK.
- Move the new Quick Launch toolbar over to the left.
- Right click the Quick Launch area:
- Large Icons
- No Titles
- Copy shortcuts for your apps into the Quick Launch area.
- Unpin your pins.
Once upon a time (Win95) the Start Menu simply contained shortcuts to the applications you wanted. These days the default Windows install fills it with heaps of junk, and every program you install creates at least one folder with a program shortcut, website shortcut, readme shortcut, license shorcut, more apps here shortcut and like us on facebook shortcut.
In short, application installs abuse the start menu, and Windows itself has lost track of what the start menu was meant to be.
There are also TWO Start Menus: Yours, and All Users.
The Start Menu is easy to cleanup:
- Open the Start Menu.
- Right Click All Programs.
- Select Open.
- Windows Explorer will open with your account's start menu folders selected. You can now delete the junk and rearrange the useful stuff.
- Open the Start Menu again.
- Right Click All Programs.
- Select Open All Users.
- You're now within the All Users start menu. Stuff that all user accounts get in their Start Menu. Delete the junk and rearrange the useful stuff.
- Now you have a clean, minimalistic Start Menu, which has quick access to stuff you want (the original win95 idea).