Today, my project is to wipe and reinstall the operating system on my netbook. I dual booted my Acer Aspire One with Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux about a year ago, the Linux partition promptly stopped working correctly and the Windows partition has been getting more and more sluggish lately, so it’s time for a fresh install.
This particular task is tricky for several reasons – the hard drive has been partitioned, Ubuntu makes changes to the boot order on installation, and netbooks are without optical drives. I’m cheating a bit on the last point because I have access to an external optical drive and Windows 7 Installation CD, but you can use this tutorial to make an installation USB drive.
- If you’re wiping your only computer, locate the drivers you’ll need (I found mine online by doing a search for ‘Acer Aspire One drivers’) and save them to a thumb drive or CD. The keyboard, touchpad and wireless drivers are critical, make sure you have these, and if you’re not sure which one is for your model, download all the options. Better to have more choices than more disk space. If you have access to another computer with internet access you can do this step later.
- Again if you’re wiping your only computer, print out a detailed list of instructions for both the wipe and the reinstall and keep it handy throughout the process.
- Plug your computer in. This will take at least two hours.
- Make sure you have the appropriate disks/files/product keys for the new operating system before you wipe the old one.
- Last but not least, back up all your data to a CD or external hard drive. You’re deleting all your files when you wipe the old operating system.
- Start > Right-click on Computer > Manage > Disk Management
- Delete the unwanted OS partition(s) until you have free space available.
- Delete the free space as well – it should then show as unallocated space.
- Right click the C: drive and select ‘Extend Volume’ then follow the wizard to allocate the free space to the C: drive.
- Turn off the computer, plug in your external optical with Windows 7 Installation CD, and restart the computer.
- ‘Press any key to boot from CD/DVD’ will appear – be quick or you’ll get a GRUB error (this is the boot order menu Ubuntu installed but which doesn’t actually exist anymore since the partition was deleted).
- Select ‘Windows Setup’ and follow the instructions to install the new OS
- Once the computer is set up, use the thumb drive created earlier to reinstall the wireless network driver, which should enable the internet. Then, go online and find and install any other drivers you may need. Done!