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Windows 7: The Complete Guide - Getting Started

Updated on June 16, 2009

The first aspect that you need to confront is how to install Windows 7. Yes, you can dual boot and upgrade from your current Vista installation, but basically, why bother? Unless you are doing some mission critical work, just fully back up your data and take the plunge into installing Windows 7 from scratch. In 99.9% of the cases, you won't regret it. And if you do, just reinstall your previous OS also from scratch. It's always the best way.

There are always half a zillion options in installing any OS. I'm basing this guide on the ones that I have found from experience to be the simplest ones that will provide the best experience on the widest sampling of PCs. This is a basic guide to getting you up and running on Windows 7 for the average computer user, not the Prosumer / Enthusiast / Gamer / IT expert. After all, you don't want to get a Ph.D. in operating systems, you just want your computer to work!

You've created a Windows 7 DVD from the Microsoft download (there are countless guides on how to do that so we don't have to take up space here, and you can even install from an USB Flash Drive)... and now you're now ready to rock. Of course you've already chosen the best version for you: If you have 3 GB or RAM or less on your PC, go with 32-bit. If you have more than 3 GB, opt for the 64-bit. If you've got lots of RAM but are running prehistoric software and drivers that only run in 32-bit mode... toss 'em! 64-bit Windows 7 is such a great OS that it's well worth deleting your old crap. You won't miss it.

Stick the DVD into your optical drive, restart your PC, initiate booting from the DVD (you usually hit F12 or ESC, but check your particular PC's owner's manual as some are a bit different) and watch the magic start.

Windows will now automatically start installing the files.

 Once that's all done, you can click on Install now.

Next you'll be confronted with the Get important updates for installation page, which of course you should do in case that there are any new updates by the time you install, and the Please read the license terms page which you have to accept to go on. You know the drill.

Now you'll see Which type of installation do you want? Click on Custom. Now you'll be asked Where do you want to install Windows? Click on Next.

Windows will install and although it is a faster process than earlier versions of the OS, there is still countless bits and bytes that have to be written to your hard drive, so just relax and have a cup of coffee. You'll also be glad to know that unlike previous OS installations which required you to just sit there like a dolt waiting for the next time you had to input or choose something, Windows 7 is pretty well automatic and will restart itself a few times.

 Once you get to the desktop you'll find it surprisingly and reassuringly similar to Vista. Don't worry... the resemblance is only skin deep!


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