Got your hands on Windows 7? Excellent. It's time to install this bad boy. But you want to make sure you're installing it right. Our no-nonsense install guide shows you the right way to install Windows 7 and tells you exactly what you should do the moment your install completes.
Before beginning a new OS installation, it’s crucial that you back up your documents and media—after all, we recommend a clean install to minimize cruft and maximize performance. The safest, easiest way to do this is to buy a new hard disk and replace your old one. With speedy 1TB drives around $100, it’s never a bad time to upgrade your storage, and using a clean drive to install your OS means all your files are already backed up; just connect your old hard drive when you’re done and transfer over what you need.
If you’ve updated recently, or don’t want to spend the cash, you’ll want to make sure to back up the files you need to a different partition or physical drive. The most important place to look for files is in your user profile directory, which contains your Documents, Desktop, Pictures, and Application Data folders. We generally recommend backing up the entire C:/Users/<your user name> path. Remember to grab any needed program data or game saves from your Program Files folder, and also make sure to grab any other important directories you’ve created on the disk that are outside these standard paths, such as C:/Download.
Note : If you want to install Windows 7 from a USB key, read our instructions here .Microsoft has made installing Windows 7 simpler than with any previous version of Windows. You just drop the DVD in the tray, and restart your system. At some point during the boot, you’ll be given the option to “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD,” or something along those lines—do so. (If you don’t get this option, go into the BIOS and move the DVD drive ahead of the hard drive in the boot order). Windows will load files from the disk for a moment, then the installer will launch. Select your language preferences, then click Install Now.
It's time to get your new OS in order
If you took our advice and started with a fresh hard drive, all you’ll have to do to restore your old data is connect your old HDD to a secondary SATA port and transfer over all your old files. Copy over all the important data we mentioned earlier, but be sure not to simply copy your old user profile directory over to your new one. Instead, fish out all the documents and media you need, remembering to collect important files from the hidden AppData folder, which usually includes your browser profiles and Outlook data.