Clean Install of Windows

Dear Computer Lady,

One of my older laptops will no longer connect wirelessly to the internet.

I took it to a repair shop and they said I need to clean out the hard drive and reinstall Windows and they could do it for $130.

I don’t want to pay to have it done if I can do it myself. Is this possible?

Thank you for any help. Kathy


Dear Kathy,

The repair shop sounds like they know what probably needs to be done to fix your computer, and they are asking a decent price for the job. I charge almost the same price for a clean install of windows in my shop.

As for your question, it is really two questions rolled into one.

Is it possible for you to do this clean install of windows yourself? Yes, if you have the right knowledge and the right “tools” then it is possible for you to do this job yourself.

Can you do this clean install yourself? Only you can really answer that question, and I’m guessing that if you don’t know for sure that you can do it, then probably you are not ready.

There are a lot of things that you will need to know how to do like install hardware drivers, install all the windows updates, re-install all your programs and security software. You will also need to know how your particular computer accesses the recovery program, if it is on the hard drive or on disks, and what steps you need to do to make sure you are doing a complete recovery.

If you read the paragraph above and know how to do those things, then go for it. (Backup all your information first!!) The worst that can happen is that you won’t be successful and you will have to bring it into the computer shop.

If you want to learn how to do this yourself, check your local school to see if there are adult classes available.


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    • cebrogers
    • September 23, 2010

    Before going through all the trouble of a clean install of Windows, have you tried removing the wireless adapter and then re-installing the driver for the wireless adapter? (You’d do best to have downloaded it using a wired connection before deleting it.) Also, you can try using your Windows CD to do a Repair of your OS. If that’s successful, you will have to do all the WIndows updates over again, though.

    • Bex
    • September 23, 2010

    It is interesting to note, however, that often repair shops are unable to reinstall aftermarket programs that you may have on your computer. Have you tried to a system restore to a time when your computer was able to access the internet, to see if something that you have downloaded or a program that you have installed has caused this problem? I have had a similar problem, and my local computer shop was only able to format my hard drive and then do a clean install of Windows. I had saved my Documents through my own back up, but all my aftermarket programs were lost.

    • alexnetherton
    • September 27, 2010

    A clean install is not that hard, and there are many resources on the Web; just google “how to do a clean install of Windows”. Print out the instructions. Find the manual for your computer, and find your recovery disk, or find out if you have a recovery partition on your hard drive. Get the disks out for all your programs. Get to work.

    I am almost 60 years old, not a computer whiz, and have done this myself on every computer I have owned. Just do it. Get a teenager in your family to help you (I have to help the teenagers in my family… *sigh*).

    From an old dog. Yes, I can learn new tricks!

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