Upgrading vs. Clean install
by mchainmchain - 4/21/13 4:08 AM
In Reply to: Thanks by Surfingman
A clean install is the equivalent of a virgin install of an operating system. Typically the hard drive is blank and not formatted with a file system beforehand.
Likely you already understand what an upgrade is; it is an in-place modification of operating system files from the old to the new, and if successful, allows the installed programs and personal files to be left intact and brought forward into the new operating system.
A clean install will first format the hard drive you designate to be the operating system drive.
Formatting a drive will always result in the complete loss of all data; upgrading an operating system does not format the drive at all.
It will then proceed to install the necessary operating system files to begin the installation process of fully installing the operating system. While it is doing that, it will also look for and find drivers for the actual hardware present on your Dell system. When the appropriate driver is found, it will attempt to install that particular driver.
Sometimes the driver install will fail, and you will need a backup plan to manually install the needed driver later after the operating system installation is complete.
You will need to plan ahead and fix driver problems such as no sound, no internet, etc., and get these driver files ahead of time. If no Win 7 driver files are available, Vista 64-bit or 32-bit files should work, provided you use only the ones at the Dell site.
The vast majority of the time an os like Win 7 will have the needed driver files for your machine. But not always. Dell has a helper driver file you may need to get Dell updates and such; you may want to look into that as well.
Then there is the issue of installing the Service Pack 1 for Win 7. If the installation disk already has SP1 built-in, then your new system will come out of the box upgraded to SP1 when done. Turn on the firewall, and have active resident antivirus protection running and immediately head for Windows Updates to get all of the accumulated service advisory updates to current status as soon as possible.
As you can see, you need a plan ahead of time. A crucial part of that plan is the use of a disk imaging program; imaging the hard drive as you go along with Windows Updates is always a good idea.
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