What is a Clean Install?

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

I have purchased Windows XP home edition upgrade. what is the difference between “clean” install and an “new” install? Which is better? How do I do a “clean” install”


Dear Helen,

There is really no difference between a clean install and a new install. Both of them mean that you are installing windows on a “clean” or empty hard drive instead of installing windows on a hard drive that already has windows on it.

Why is a clean install better than installing windows over itself? Because when you install Windows over an existing windows setup, you are usually doing it because you are experiencing problems with windows.

Some of these problems are caused by corrupted files, or things like viruses and spyware. If you don’t erase the hard drive first, you have not gotten rid of the virus or spyware. Also, if a file is corrupted, when you install Windows, it will look and see that the file is already there on the hard drive, and so that file will not be copied on the drive. So, you will still have the same corrupted file.

My suggestion is that if you are installing Windows just to do an upgrade and you are having no problems, it is OK to install over your existing windows install. If you are having problems, however, back up your data files, erase your hard drive, and do a clean or new install of Windows.


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