University of Oregon

Reinstall Windows and Keep Your Personal Files


Your computer my encounter problems that can't be fixed except by reinstalling your operating system. Luckily Windows 7 makes this process easy if you have a compatible type of upgrade. To see if this will work for you, check out this chart courtesy of Walt Mossberg's blog. 

TIP: An archive install is also a good option if you want to optimize your computer's speed.

Operating systems (OS) can get cluttered over time and periodic overhauls of the OS can be beneficial.

The Archive Install feature in Windows 7 overwrites your system files while keeping your personal files such as documents, music, etc. intact. Although the Tech Desk recommends backing up your data before a fresh OS install, Archive Install does not require backing up. Still, it's a good idea to store important data in more than one location.

1. With the disk in the computer, boot up the computer while tapping the F12 key. Using the arrow keys, select the CD/DVD drive as your boot device and press the Enter key.

Note: Be sure to press the appropriate key when the computer prompts you. Failing to do so will result in the computer starting up normally.

2. Once the computer boots from the Windows 7 disk, you will be able to choose your languages. Click Next.

3. Click "Install now." Accept the terms of conditions and click Next.

4. Choose "Upgrade." This option ensures that you do not lose any data in the installation.