How to Reinstall Windows Without Losing Data

For the many advantages to having a computer, there are also a few disadvantages. Reinstallation of Windows Vista doesn't happen often, but if you have too many corrupted files or viruses on your computer, it may be your last option to have a smoothly running computer [source: Dartmouth]. There's no reason to worry; you can quickly and easily reinstall Windows Vista without losing any of your documents, pictures, videos or music. Read the steps listed below and learn about how to reinstall Windows without losing data.

  1. Back up all your computer files. This can be done in a number of ways. Save your files onto a CD, USB, external hard drive or online hard-drive storage [source: Dartmouth].
  2. Insert your Windows Vista CD into the CD-ROM. It's recommend to download all the important updates for your version of Windows before you start the installation. This will ensure that your installation is successful and protected against security threats. Simply connect to the Internet and click on Get important updates for installation.
  3. Go to the Type your product key for activation page. You will be prompted to input your 25-character product key. This can be found on the disc sleeve inside your Windows package.
  4. Go to the Please read the license terms page and read the terms. If you agree with them, click on I accept the license terms.
  5. Follow the instructions on every page. Go to the Which type of installation do you want? page and click on Custom [source: Microsoft]. By clicking on custom, Vista will automatically create an old file of all your data, to be accessed once the reinstallation is over [source: Microsoft].
  6. Decide where in your hard drive you want the program to be installed and stored. Enter this information on the Where do you want to install Windows? page.
  7. Click Next, and the installation will begin. Follow the instructions on your screen [source: Microsoft]. During the reinstallation, the program may ask you about overwriting existing files. Click No to leave your files as is [source: Dartmouth].

The process should take approximately an hour [source: Dartmouth]. Once you're done, run the reinstalled Windows to ensure that your previous data, called Windows.old, is there [source: Microsoft].