I already have Windows 7 installed, but over time "stuff" has collected on my computer, causing various annoyances. I'd like to do a clean install of Windows 7. Here's my plan:

  1. Copy any important files to an external drive
  2. Partition a new logicial drive and install Windows 7
  3. Remove the other logical drives (so only the recently created one remains)
  4. Everything on the other drives should have been wiped out in step 3, so install all my missing programs

I'm told this is painful than doing a completely clean install. Would the above work?

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    Why not wipe the entire drive and then install W7 to a partition size of your choosing. Note, what you suggest is a clean install, I don't see it as less or more of a pain. – Moab May 29 '11 at 18:46
  • @Moab: You don't need to wipe your partition to have a clean Windows OS. A custom install does the same thing. – surfasb Dec 28 '11 at 1:31
  • @surfasb You are picking on my use of terminology. I don't remember saying "need", you must be bored tonight commenting on comments over 6 months old. – Moab Dec 28 '11 at 2:39
  • @Moab: Jumped here while trying to find an answer about custom installs :) – surfasb Dec 28 '11 at 6:48

You don't have to reformat your drive.

Choose Custom install and just install into your old partition.

Your old Windows, Program Files, and Users folder will be moved to a folder called Windows.old.

For all intents and purposes, this is a clean install of Windows. All your programs will have to be reinstalled. Your old data files, under Windows.old, will have to be moved to your new User folder.

For all intents and purposes, anything installed under your old Windows install are orphaned. This included pretty much all malware and virus. Any viruses that depend on your bootfiles are also orphaned as Setup will overwrite your old bootfiles.

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I find that after a clean install install all your programs and then take an image of your disk using a tool such as Clonezilla.
Store your data on a seperate partition. That way whenever you want to do this you just reinstall the image. It's a bit of work to setup but you reap the rewards in time saved down the line.

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While it would work I think that it seems a tad drastic (usually, one can just clean they comp well to remove those 'annoyances' with at worse a profile migration.

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Why painful? I'm following the same pattern except 3., since I have a dedicated drive with a single system partition. So my pattern looks like this:

  1. Copy files to external (or non-system) drive
  2. Delete system partition, and create it again (might be wrong, but as far as I remember, you cannot make quick format with Windows 7 setup)
  3. Install Windows and all required software

In fact, I'm keeping all my files on a second internal drive, so this makes life even easier - copying important files (i.e. bookmarks, or config files) from a system partition takes just some minutes.

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It would... but it's unnecessary. Just boot with the Windows 7 disk, choose Custom install instead of Upgrade, then format the existing Windows partition and install there.

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  • You don't need to format the partition to have a clean Windows OS. a custom install without a format also leaves you with a clean Windows folder. – surfasb Dec 28 '11 at 1:33

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