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Clean Install


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#1 traildad

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:09 AM

I have some experience maintaining my own computers for several years. I am not an expert or a noob. Sometimes it seems that the best and maybe easiest thing to do is a clean install. I wonder how best to back up my computer so I can get everything reinstalled, except of course the problems. I have Acronis True Image on my computer to back up my data. My question is how do I go about preparing for a clean install. Do I just back up everything to True Image and then reload it after the windows install? Do I have to make a list of all my programs and manually reinstall all of them? Also what is the right way to maintain my system and backups so I can more easily fix problems?

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#2 Andrew

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:52 AM

I don't personally use images to back up my data, so I'm not 100% clear on what gets backed up. Here's what I do when I do a clean install (about once every six months for Windows):

1. Make a list of all programs installed.
2. Back up copies of all drivers and downloaded installers
3. Make a note of any special settings I've used, or back up the settings file/registry entry for the program
4. Move any data I want to keep that's on the system drive to my second partition.
5. Download autopatcher for my Windows version, get all Windows updates using it. Save to second partition.
6. Disconnect internet.
7. Wipe the system drive and reinstall.
8. Reinstall drivers for hardware.
9. Run Autopatcher to update Windows offline
10. Reinstall programs (including security apps)
11. Reconnect internet
12. Done!

One way to ease this process is to keep all you file (non-system files) on a second partition. That way, they're still there even after Windows is wiped and reinstalled.

#3 Romeo29

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:43 PM

There are many options:

1. Use a unattended Windows XP DVD
In this case you create an unattended DVD with all the customization, drivers and pre-installed software etc. You use a DVD instead of CD because all that stuff does not fit on a single CD. It is unattended setup, so all you have to do is put the DVD in your DVD drive, boot from this DVD and sit back and relax. Windows would be installed without any user input (unattended) along with the customizations and extra software you had put in it. For more information see http://unattended.msfn.org

2. Clone your hard disk
Wipe you hard disk clean and install Windows fresh. Install all required drivers and software. Now make a clone of the hard disk using tools like Norton Ghost (commercial) or freeware tools like CloneZilla, PartImage. This makes byte by byte clone of your hard disk on a DVD (if it fits). Whenever you want, you can restore your hard disk from that clone image. Your hard disk would come back to the stage when you cloned it. The process of cloning and restoring from cloning is usually lengthy.

#4 traildad

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 05:42 PM

There are many options:

1. Use a unattended Windows XP DVD
In this case you create an unattended DVD with all the customization, drivers and pre-installed software etc. You use a DVD instead of CD because all that stuff does not fit on a single CD. It is unattended setup, so all you have to do is put the DVD in your DVD drive, boot from this DVD and sit back and relax. Windows would be installed without any user input (unattended) along with the customizations and extra software you had put in it. For more information see http://unattended.msfn.org

2. Clone your hard disk
Wipe you hard disk clean and install Windows fresh. Install all required drivers and software. Now make a clone of the hard disk using tools like Norton Ghost (commercial) or freeware tools like CloneZilla, PartImage. This makes byte by byte clone of your hard disk on a DVD (if it fits). Whenever you want, you can restore your hard disk from that clone image. Your hard disk would come back to the stage when you cloned it. The process of cloning and restoring from cloning is usually lengthy.

I will check in to the unattended DVD options. I use Acronis True Image and have a backup of my system. Also the HD has the original install on a partition. I am trying to figure out the best way to stay up to date with the changes so I can easily do a clean install and have my computer still be the same minus the problems. Is there a program that helps with this? Do I need to be very organized so I can figure out what needs to be manually reinstalled? The autopatcher sounds like it will help with re-updating XP at least.




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