December 1, 2020

Install or Reinstall Fresh Copy of Windows Vista

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This article will walk you through the installation process for Windows Vista. In this particular instance I will not be entering a product key and install it more of an evaluation copy, but I will point out the differences where they exist.

  1. Insert your copy of Vista and boot your machine from CD/DVD. You will see this screen as the kernel starts to load:
  2. Depending on the speed of your machine this could take a few minutes or more. After loading you will see:
  3. On this window you can choose the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method after you select your options from the menu click Next and you will come to:
  4. Click on the Install Now button when you are ready to continue and you will see:

    Here you will enter your product activation key that came with your purchase of Windows Vista. You can also select to activate your copy of windows by checking Automatically activate Windows when I’m online Note: You do not have to enter a product key at this time and can proceed with the installation if you want to evaluate a version of Vista or will be entering your product key at a later time. Click Next to move to the next stage of installation:

  5. This inset is for people who did not enter a product key, if you did please skip this section.
  6. If you do not enter a product key you will see the following:
  7. It is a warning that you could lose your data if you do not provide a license key and activate your copy of Vista within 14 days. Click No to continue:

  8. On this screen you can choose which version of Windows Vista you want to test, you will also need to confirm that you understand that if you choose a version different then what you have or planned on purchasing that you will have to reinstall the correct version with possible data loss. You do this by checking I have selected the edition of Windows I purchased and click on Next

    If you entered your product key correctly it should have automatically picked the correct version of Vista or if you had to choose your version you will now see the product licensing that applies to your version:

  9. After reading through your copy of the licensing agreement you should select I accept the license terms and click Next. The next screen allows you to choose the type of install that you want to perform:

  10. Since this is a clean install run from boot you can see the upgrade option has been disabled. Click on Custom (advanced) to perform a clean install. Unless you are very carefully any old data you have on these disks will be lost with the new install overwriting them. If you proceed you must understand that and backed up any data you want saved.

    On the next screen you will see the disk drives that the install routine has found, in my example I have one 16GB partition that has not been formatted. If you click on disk tools you will get additional menu selections that allow you to manipulate partitions and format them:

  11. Choose the place you want to install the system files and click Next. This will start the file install sequence:

  12. After those screens it will reboot for the first time:

  13. After the reboot it will complete the installation:

  14. After it finishes it will reboot one more time then when the computer boots up you will see:

    Enter in a username and password (optional), if you enter a password you will have to enter it a second time to confirm and a hint if you want. Click Next to continue.

  15. The next screen allows you to enter a computer name for the pc and choose a desktop background:

  16. Clicking Next brings you to your next choice about how to handle updates:

    Choose which option works best for your experience level, I would recommend Use recommended settings unless you know how to get the updates yourself and know which ones are critical updates and which ones you can go without.

  17. After clicking your option you will be asked to set your timezone and time:

    Choose your timezone from the dropdown menu, check if you want to observe day light savings automatically, and then set the date and time. Clicking Next will bring you to the end of the setup phase:

  18. Clicking Start will start the first loading of Vista. The first thing it will do is test your computers performance to find the settings that run best for you:

  19. After that you will come to the login screen:

Congratulations! You have now successfully done a clean install of Windows Vista.


  1. Does reistalling Windows means that you also reinstalled the BIOS? If so, do I need to download the driver for it?

    I have no idea what I’m doing. I decided to format my laptop a few days ago after using it constantly in over a year. Before I reinstalled Windows, everything was working fine. Now, the fans are noisy, my laptop overheats whenever I play games and that leads to it shutting down by itself. Help me! I can’t efford to pay $$$ just to fix something that was working properly a few days ago! 🙁

  2. Rick Penner says

    I purchased a computer at walmart and windows Vista was installed alreadiy on the computer. I do not have a hard copy to install onto another computer. Can I get the hard copy of Vista?

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