Windows Clean Installation – The Order of Things


Windows Installation – A Clean Orderly Approach

I’d like to talk about a new, clean  Windows 7 installation, not an upgrade. These ideas have come about from years of installing Windows systems on multiple computers. I believe the following advice is the best I can give based on the many mistakes I have made in the past. The school of hard knocks may not be the fastest way to learn things, but it is a certain method of keeping your memory intact.

There is a definite order in which to install the Operating System (OS), drivers and programs in a way I deem to be best practice. If you do things in the order I will lay out for you, it will lessen the chance of something going terribly wrong. You’ll notice I didn’t guarantee anything?


This is the first and most important thing you should do for a headache-free installation. Prepare. Get ahead of the game…

Before you begin you should have:

  • Windows OS installation disc
  • Motherboard Drivers (these should have been provided with your motherboard)
  • Graphics Drivers (if you have a dedicated graphics card)
  • AntiVirus Program with the latest definition files

Note: If you save all these drivers on your C drive, that is the drive where your operating system will ultimately be installed, they will be overwritten. This will make all your preparation pointless. Temporarily store these drivers on a thumb drive or CD/DVD RW so you will be able to access them after installing Windows.

Install the above Operating System, Drivers and AV in that order. There should be no reason to be connected to the Internet at this point.

Internet Connection Point

After installing everything in the above-listed order, then you can connect to the internet. Connecting to the internet before you have installed a good Antivirus program is really asking for trouble. It has been documented that an unprotected computer can be infected in a matter of minutes these days. Believe me, the Internet is a dangerous place. Bring your best suit of armor.

You must realize that the drivers provided with your motherboard are nearly guaranteed to be out-of-date at the moment you receive them. I strongly advise you to get the latest and greatest drivers currently available before you start this process. These can be found at your motherboard manufacturer’s site, your graphics card manufacturer’s site, etc.

 Installation Order

  1. Windows
  2. Motherboard Chipset Drivers
  3. Graphics Drivers (for dedicated graphics cards)
  4. Antivirus (AV) software and updated definition files
  5. Every single Windows update that Microsoft has to offer
  6. Programs and their various updates
  7. Games?

I think the order in which you install the drivers is important so I list the MoBo drivers first, then the Graphics Drivers. It makes sense to me and I’ve seen this advice given over and over again on many reputable web sites.

I know you will be chomping at the bit, ready to put your new OS through its rigors, but you really should get every single update that Microsoft has to offer. There may be many of them and some might be quite large but this is a necessary step. It can certainly be a lengthy process but I deem it of utmost importance. It’s a security issue that should not be ignored.

Note: By having a pristine backup created after this lengthy and possibly unpleasant experience it is possible to turn a very long process into one of under an hour. Read one of the many backup-related articles here on DCT to show you how.

Check the status of all your drivers, too. If they are outdated, update them. Last but not least, make sure your chosen AV program’s definition files are all up to date. Very important!


After spending all this mind-blowing, excruciating amount of time on rejuvenating your computer, I’ll bet you’re eager to install all those fancy programs and, of course, the most important item on the list: Games! Remember that games have updates of their own. Even games can have security holes that you should consider. Online games are, of course, most notable in this area.

Stay security-minded in all you do on the now ubiquitous and infamous Internet. Use your brain and think before you click. One of the main reasons I can think of to re-install Windows is because of a virus infection. You can never be truly certain that you are virus-free without a clean install of your operating system, whether it be Windows or anything else.

You are your own best defense against the bad guys,



About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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