Reinstall Windows 7 on an OEM Desktop or Laptop Minus the Bloatware

Whenever you purchase a new branded desktop or laptop, meaning Dell, HP, Gateway, etc… you usually get Windows 7, but you also get a ton of “bloatware” as well. Bloatware is basically just the extras that the computer manufacturer decides to throw in with Windows 7. Programs such as Norton antivirus, Roxio CD creator, and endless other trial products are usually included, but not usually wanted.

When you go to do a fresh install of Windows, using the backup discs that came with your PC, you usually have no option but to reinstall the bloatware as well. This is mainly a marketing partnership that software companies have with PC manufacturers, forcing you towards their products. However, there is a very simple way around this, rather than just uninstalling all of the extra programs that you do not want.

Step 1: Obtain a Microsoft Windows 7 Disc

This of course, must be a retail copy of Windows 7, manufactured directly by Microsoft. These copies of Windows 7 include only the operating system, with no unwanted extras. Chances are that you are not going to go out and buy a retail copy of Windows 7, for obvious reasons.

Luckily, there are a couple of other options that you can use. The easiest way to obtain a retail copy of Windows 7 is to simply borrow a disc from a friend. If you are a student, often times your college will be able to provide you with an OEM backup disc free of charge.

If neither of these options are suitable for you, just head down to a local PC specialty shop. They are usually more than happy to burn you a backup disc for a very small fee. My local shop sold me a backup disc for $10.00.

Most Windows 7 discs contain all versions of Windows 7, meaning Home Premium, Professional, etc… But you do need to make sure that you can install the same version of Windows with the retail disc, that originally came with your computer. For example, if your laptop came with Windows 7 Home Premium, you will need to install Windows 7 Home Premium.

Step 2: Get Drivers

Before you install Windows, you will want to get the drivers for your particular PC. Head on over to your PC manufacturer’s website and download all of the drivers for your PC. After you have done that, transfer the drivers to a USB flash drive or external hard drive, or burn them to a disc.

Step 3: Install Windows

With your newly obtained backup copy of Windows 7 in hand, go ahead and start the reinstallation process. Insert the disc into the PC’s CD/DVD rom drive and reboot your computer. Of course, backup any files to external hard drive that you want to keep first. Once the PC starts loading back up, enter the BIOS and boot from CD.

Once the Windows installation screen appears, it’s all easy coasting from there. Follow the on-screen instructions. Once you reach the setup screen that features Drive Options, go ahead and delete any old partitions, and setup your new drive to suit your preferences. Let Windows fully install.

Step 4: Install Drivers

Many features on your PC will be unusable, such as the wireless card and specialty keyboard buttons. For these, you will need to install drivers. As mentioned above, that manufacturer backup disc that came with your PC has drivers included, but also a bunch of other stuff that you don’t want.

Copy the drivers that you downloaded earlier from your USB flash drive, external hard drive, or disc to the PC. Proceed to install them.

Step 5: Activate

Once Windows is installed on your PC, it’s time to activate it. Here comes the awesome part. The activation code that is on a sticker on your PC case, WILL work with retail copies of Windows 7. So go ahead and open the Start Menu, right-click on Computer, choose Properties, and get Windows activated.

Step 6: Restore Files

If you had any files that you backed up to external hard drive, go ahead and reinstall them onto your new copy of Windows.


Finding a retail copy of Windows 7 seems like a lot of work, but it is worth it if you don’t want to go through the process of uninstalling all of those unwanted programs. Most manufacturer discs can take up to 3x longer to install Windows, just because they install all of the other programs as well.

An OEM retail copy of Windows will install quickly and easily, and even with manual driver install time, it should be faster than using a manufacturers disc. This method of installing Windows is even more useful for people who frequently reinstall their operating system.

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