A reinstall of Windows Vista is usually required for bad viruses or if you just want to completely wipe your hard drive. It's important to note this will completely wipe the targeted drive that Vista is put on. I would give yourself at least a good hour to reinstall Vista and be sure to not do this on a day you'll need your computer because after you reinstall you will have to reinstall all your programs too.

vista (34551)

Things You Will Need

  • Your installation disk, whether CD or DVD.
  • Your Windows product key (25 characters). You can find your product key either on your computer or on the installation disk holder inside the Windows package. It should look similar to this:
product key
  • The name of your computer. You will online need to know this if your computer is connected to a network. For example, this could be Dell Studio 1555.

Step 1

Insert the Windows Vista CD/DVD and restart your computer.

Step 2

Press any key when prompted to boot from CD. If you do not get this message then you'll have go into the system BIOS, which is accessed by pressing a certain function key while Windows is booting, and choose to boot from CD. This is usually F8 but many vary with different brands.

Step 3

On the Install Windows page, follow any instructions that appear, then clock Install Now.

Step 4

If you have an internet connection, on the Get important updates for installation it is recommended to Get Important Updates. This will get help ensure you have a successful installation and update any important security features.

Step 5

On the Type your product key for activation page, type your 25-character product key and click I accept the license terms. You usually don't have to enter the product key right away but it will prevent any problems during activation.

Step 6

Follow the instructions on each page until you get to the What type of installation do you want? page and then click Custom.

Step 7

Now, you should come to the Where do you want to install Windows? page. Select the partition where you want to install Windows. On stock computers, this is usually called the C: drive.

Step 8

Click Next to start the installation. This may show you a compatibility report, this is normal.

After this it's pretty straight forward. Just follow any instructions you get.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before reinstalling Windows, be sure to save all your files to another source (DVD, CD, Flash Drive, etc.). Reinstalling will delete everything on the drive.

  • You may need to disable all anti-virus software before starting. Sometimes this software interferes with the reinstallation.

  • Be sure to install new or existing anti-virus software after the installation is complete. If possible, do this before you connect to the internet. Since Windows erases all old files, your computer will be vulnerable to viruses at this point.