Clean Install Instructions for Windows® 7

This document provides the steps and information necessary to perform a Clean Install of the Microsoft® Windows® 7 operating system on applicable VAIO® computer models. This process will take 1 - 2 hours to complete. Windows 7 Logo

What is a Clean Install?

A Clean Install formats the hard drive before installing the operating system. All user data, files, and settings are erased and a new copy of the operating system is installed. A data backup (to an external drive or media, such as a flash drive or DVD) will be required to save desired files, such as documents, music and pictures. Existing software on your computer will also be lost and need to be reinstalled.

When should I do a Clean Install?

A Clean Install is necessary when upgrading directly from Microsoft® Windows® XP to the Windows 7 operating system.

If the Microsoft® Windows Vista® operating system is currently installed on your computer, you have the option to perform a Clean Install or, if you would like to keep your settings and applications, follow the Windows 7 Upgrade Instructions instead.

Additional Information

Read important information from Microsoft about upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 or upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Table of Contents


STEP 1 - Getting Started


Please print and carefully read this document before you begin. It is recommended that you keep this document on-hand for reference while you are installing Windows 7.

  • If you have not already, you will need to purchase a retail copy of the Windows 7 operating system. Use the Microsoft Upgrade Advisor tool to determine which version you can install.
  • If you have changed the configuration of your computer, please review the Windows 7 system requirements provided by Microsoft to ensure compatibility.

Backup your Data

  • WARNING! The Clean Install process removes all current content such as files, programs, etc. from your hard drive.
  • It is strongly recommended that you backup any data you want to save to an external drive or media, such as a flash drive, Memory Stick® media or DVD.

Download Drivers

  1. Go to the Drivers & Software page for your VAIO computer model.
  2. Select the version of Windows 7 you are installing from the "Operating System" drop-down menu.
  3. Download and save the following drivers to an external drive or media, such as a CD, DVD or Memory Stick:
    • Audio
    • Bluetooth®
    • Chipset - Located under "Motherboard"
    • Memory Stick
    • Memory Card Reader/Writer
    • Modem
    • Network
    • Notebook Control Device - Located under "Notebook Control and Utilities"
    • Sony Notebook Utilities
    • Sony Shared Library - Located under "System Components"
    • Video
    • Wireless LAN

Please keep the external drive or media near by. You will need to install these drivers after you have installed Windows 7.


STEP 2 - Install & Setup Windows 7


  1. Turn on your computer. Make sure your computer is connected to an AC power outlet; do not use battery power.
  2. Make sure the computer has an active Internet connection.
  3. Insert the Window 7 disc that came with your retail version of Windows 7.
  4. Click "Run setup.exe" in the "AutoPlay" box.
  5. If the "User Account Control" appears click the Continue button, otherwise skip to step 6.
  6. Click "Install now".
  7. Click "Go online to get the latest updates for installation (recommended)".

    Note: An active Internet connection is required for the installation process.

  8. At the "Microsoft Software License Terms" screen, read the license terms. If you agree, click "I accept the license terms".
  9. Click "Custom (advance)" at the "Which type of installation do you want" screen.
  10. Choose "Disk 0 Partition 2 (C:)" and click "Next" at the "Where do you want to install Windows?" screen.

    IMPORTANT: It is strongly recommended that you do not select to change or modify the "Disk 0 Partition 1: Recovery".

    "Disk 0 Partition 1: Recovery" is where the original operating system is stored in case a recovery to the original system configuration needs to be performed.

  11. Click OK at the "Install Windows" box to confirm the selection.
  12. The Installation of Windows 7 begins. This process may take 1-2 hours to complete, please do not interrupt or power off your computer.

    Note: The computer will automatically restart once the installation portion of Window 7 is complete. After the computer restarts please continue to step 13.

  13. Set up the following options at the "Set Up Windows" screen and click "Next".
    • Country or region
    • Time and currency
    • Keyboard layout
  14. Enter the desired user name and click "Next".
  15. Enter a password and a password hint.

    Note: Write down your password information and keep it in a safe place for future reference.

  16. Enter the Product key at the "Type your Windows product key" screen and click "Next".

    Note: The product key came with your retail copy of Windows 7. It is 25 characters long.

  17. Click "User recommended settings" at the "Help protect your computer and improve Windows automatically" screen.
  18. At the "Review your time and date settings" screen, setup your Time zone, Date and Time and then click "Next".
  19. If applicable, select your wireless network then click "Next" and continue to step 20, or you can click "Skip" and go to step 23.
  20. Select the network location at the "Select your computerís current location" screen.
  21. Select the type of files that you want to share (Pictures, Videos, Documents, Music, Printers) and create a homegroup password at the "Share with other home computers running Windows 7" screen.
  22. Click "Next".
  23. The computer will now restart into Windows 7. Please continue with the "Install Sony Drivers" section below.

STEP 3 - Install Sony Drivers


Although your computer may work with the drivers that come with the Windows 7 operating system, the following files are provided by Sony to improve compatibility for certain functions.

Copy and install the driver files to your computer:

  1. Insert or attach the external media to which you copied the Windows 7 drivers you downloaded from the eSupport web site.
  2. Copy the files to a local directory on your computer.
  3. Install one file at a time.
  4. To install a file, double-click the file and carefully follow the on-screen instructions.

IMPORTANT: It is strongly recommended that you install the files in the following order:

  1. Audio Driver
    • Enables sound for the notebook speakers.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "PCI Device" or "Audio" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  2. Bluetooth Driver
    • Enables the computer to connect to Bluetooth enabled equipment.
    • Resolve the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "BCM2046 Bluetooth Device" or "UGX" error that may appear in Device Manager if the driver is uninstalled.
  3. Chipset Driver
    • Enables the motherboard to communicate with other hardware devices.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "SM Bus controller" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  4. Memory Stick
    • Enable use of Sony memory cards (e.g. SD (secure digital) cards).
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "Base System Device" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  5. Memory Card Reader/Writer
    • Enable the use of external memory cards such as SD and MMC (secure digital/multimedia cards).
  6. Modem
    • Enables to computer to use a dial-up connection.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "Modem Device" or "High Definition Audio Bus" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  7. Network
    • Enables the computer to connect to a network.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "Ethernet Controller" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  8. Video
    • Enables the computer to show an improved display / resolution quality.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "Video Controller" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  9. Wireless LAN
    • Enables connection with a wireless network and other wireless devices.
    • Resolves the Device Manager Exclaimation Point Error "Network Controller" error that may appear in Device Manager.
  10. Sony Shared Library
    • Required for other Sony applications (Notebook Utilities) to function correctly.
  11. Notebook Control Device
    • Installs essential system components that enable Sony utilities (Notebook Utilities) to run properly.
  12. Sony Notebook Utilities
    • Installs the VAIO software component required for Function keys operation.
    • Note: Even after installing this file, the Brightness, Monitor Output and Zoom Function keys may not work.

After the Sony drivers are installed, the Clean Install process for Windows 7 is complete.

Optional: Use the Microsoft Easy Transfer tool to migrate settings and files from another computer.