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How to Perform a Clean Install of Windows 7 Professional on a new Hard Drive in a Dell PC

Summary: Explore this page for a step-by-step guide on how to clean install Windows 7 Professional on your Dell PC.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


This article will help you install Windows 7 Professional to the new Hard Drive on your Dell PC.  Images for each step are provided as a visual guide but are based on English only screenshots.

Table of Contents:

  1. Install Windows 7 Professional on your Dell PC
  2. Starting the Setup
  3. Setting up the New Hard Drive for the Install
  4. Copy System Files to the Hard Drive
  5. Configuring the Setup
  6. Starting Windows for the first time


Install Windows 7 Professional on your Dell PC


This is a guide to install Windows 7 Professional onto a New Blank Hard Drive.

If you want to install to a Used Hard Drive then please use the guide below :

You will need these to proceed :

  • Your Windows 7 Professional DVD or CD's
  • Your computer Plugged into Mains Power
  • A Computer, with the usual accessories - Mouse, monitor, keyboard etc
  • CD-ROM/DVD Drive
SLN155401_en_US__1icon Note: You will have received an operating systems recovery disc with your PC, if you selected that option when ordering the system. (This is a choice made when originally booking your order as part of a worldwide media reduction initiative.) If you do not have the operating system recovery disc, then any Dell Windows 7 operating system recovery disc of the same type will work on your PC. (Any Dell recovery disc will install without asking for an activation code on any Dell PC shipped prior to Windows 8.) If you have no access to any Dell Windows 7 operating system recovery discs then you can contact Dell technical support and they will be able to advise if they can supply a replacement or if your issue is outside of your warranty scope and you will need to source the media elsewhere. Alternatively you can try following the instructions on the article below :

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Starting the Setup


  1. To start this Windows install. You will want to tap the F12 key at the Dell splash Screen. On the Boot once menu you will need to choose the Optical Drive and press the ENTER key. This is your CD/DVD Drive.

  2. A message Press any key to boot from DVD..... will appear at the top left hand side of the screen, press the space bar to continue.


  1. The Windows 7 Professional DVD will begin to load files, this may take sometime.


  1. Windows 7 will now start the reinstall procedure.


  1. First you need to select your language, then time and currency.


  1. Next set your Keyboard Language. This may have changed correctly when Time and Currency option was selected, if not change as needed. Click Next to continue.


  1. Your Keyboard input method will change to the most common used under the Time and Currency selected, you can change this now if needed.


  1. Once happy with your selection click on Next to continue.

  2. Now the Install Windows 7 screen will appear, Click on Install now to continue and begin the reinstall of Windows.


  1. Setup will begin.


  1. You will now see the bar pictured below at the bottom of the screen. It has no relevance to Time in general. It moves at varying speeds. Don't be worried if it stays in any particular spot for long periods of time.


  1. Now the License agreement page.


  1. Read them and click on I accept the License terms then click Next to continue. If you don't agree then it won't continue past this point.


  1. Now the Type of installation. Click on Custom (Advanced) to continue to the drives section.


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Setting up the New Hard Drive for the Install


  1. Hard drive setup comes next. Click next for Automatic Hard Drive setup using full capacity. Otherwise click on the Drive Options menu to configure the drive yourself.

Note: If the hard drive cannot be seen then use the How to Troubleshoot a Hard Drive Not Detected error on a Dell PC guide and follow the No HDD detected. instructions.


  1. On the Drive Options Menu click on New.


  1. On the Drive Options Menu select the size you want the partition to be - Or manually type it in to the box. Then click Apply to continue.

Note: Remember Windows 7 needs a minimum of 16GB of space to operate in.


  1. On the Drive Options Menu you will get a message saying Windows warns that it may need to create a few partitions for the system, Click OK to continue.


  1. Setting the drive up may take a few minutes.


  1. On the Drive Options Menu select the partition that says Primary underneath Type and click on Format to finalize the hard drives setup.

Note: There are now two partitions, Windows 7 created the first Disk 0 Partition 1 by itself for Windows files. Disk 0 Partition 2 is the one you wanted to configure, and its the only one you should format, and any others you setup after this stage of course.


  1. You will be warned about the format, that all data will be lost that's on this drive, click OK to continue.


  1. Now select the drive you created - Disk 0 Partition 2 in the picture. This will be the same drive that you formatted in the previous step.


  1. Once its selected click Next to begin the install of Windows 7.

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Copy System files to the Hard Drive


  1. Windows will now begin copying files


  1. Once done it will begin expanding the Quickly copied files


  1. and expand.


  1. When the files are Expanded it will now install features.


  1. It will restart after 10 seconds or you can click Restart to speed it up.


  1. The computer will restart and post again.

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Configuring the Setup


  1. Windows 7 is now Starting Windows.


  1. Windows sets up the Registry.

SLN155401_en_US__281373289972189.windows7updating registry

  1. Another screen appears, saying setup is Starting Windows 7's services.


  1. Setup now completes the reinstallation.


  1. It will restart again after 10 seconds.


  1. Windows is starting again.


  1. Setup now prepares the system for First use.


  1. This will be the first time in 30-45 minutes where you will need to do something, An Account and Computer name is required.


  1. Fill these in and click Next.

  2. Next you'll see the password setting screen. Either leave it bank without one or fill in the password box, retype to confirm and leave yourself a hint in case you forget it. Click Next to continue.


  1. If you have done the reinstall from your Dell Reinstall Media then you will not need to put in a Windows Product Key.

  2. Now the built in Windows protection modes will pop up. We recommend the top option Use Recommended settings, this will enable updates to be downloaded and reinstalled, click on your selection to continue.


  1. Now you must review your time and date settings


  1. Change your time zone to your present location. Once that's done then click on Next to continue.


  1. Now your Network configuration page is next, if you want to setup the new Homegroup network system then use this option.

  2. If you want a standard network setup then use Work Network, allowing you to browse and see other computers.

  3. Anywhere that's public, that would be a risk to your files and security, select Public Network.


  1. Windows 7 setup will now connect to your network and setup the required settings.


  1. The Homegroup option in Home networking allows you to select what you want to share, and also provides a password, for others to access the Homegroup.

Note: Note this password down as its needed for others to get access to your network.
Note: Users of Media Center, Vista - and above, and XBOX 360 will be familiar with this type of setup.
  1. You can choose skip this now and setup later, or make selections, note password and press Next to continue.

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Starting Windows for the first time


  1. Windows 7 will now finalize your settings


  1. Setup brings up the Welcome screen.


  1. Windows prepares the desktop.


  1. The Windows will update the desktop.


  1. Browser customisations will install.


  1. Any updates will now install. Remember that on the next reboot you will be prompted for a password. If you set one up.


  1. Go to the guide below to go through your driver install.

Note: Using Dell OEM Media to reinstall the operating system on a Dell PC should not require a specific activation or entry of a specific product key.

(Although one will be supplied with the machine if a Windows 7 OS or older was sold with the PC.)

If you are having activation issues after a reinstall then please go to the Microsoft page below for help in resolving them :

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



Article Type