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reinstalling windows...once...twice....

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#1 scurvychef


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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:39 PM

Hi all,


Wondering if anyone has some advice for (more than one) issue I usually have. You see, I typically get everyone's computer problems dumped on me because I am the only technically savy one in my social circle.


I don't typically mess with viruses. mostly because I find that people desperately install everything under the sun to remedy the issue until it snowballs out of control. What I do do is back up all their data and reinstall the OS. (original software discs are nice, but often enough I have to use a retail copy and the original key code) I find it easier to just make everything clean again. before all the toolbars, adware and crap that sticks to Microsoft like a tick. After that is said and done, I install the drivers, dump the data back on and return it to the owner.


not a big deal, but this week I have had two returning computers. I just hate having to do everything all over again. can't I install the OS, the drivers and load it all into an image before adding the data back on? I know that win7 has a built in task that does this. what about xp and the wretched vista?


that way all I have to do is back up the data. run the saved image and dump the data back on? maybe even add firefox to the install and security essentials and such things to make it all easier?





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#2 Platypus


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Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:01 AM

Yes, I have clean fresh installation images of all my computers, and several belonging to friends, church etc. For my own purposes I have systems with Seagate and Western Digital hard drives, and I use the free versions of Acronis True Image that those manufacturers make available for download from their support websites to assist owners with their drive maintenance. (I also have a retail licensed older version of TI)


There are also free imaging products, I've seen good recommendations for Macrium Reflect.

Edited by Platypus, 11 April 2013 - 04:12 AM.

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#3 Thorstein


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:04 AM

I had the same question a few months ago. I ordered a Synology DiskStation 2-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS213 from amazon. I ordered 2 TOSHIBA PH3300U-1I72 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive from Newegg they had them on sale for $139.99 each.

The NAS and hard drives arrived and the NAS was simple to setup. While setting up the NAS I came across a reference to nClone. The website said "nClone is a software bundle that allows you to backup, restore and clone the hard drives of computers in your network. Once the nClone software is installed on your NAS appliance, it enables computers residing in the same subnet to boot the cloning software over the network. The cloning software can transfer the contents of the local disks to and from the NAS." Plus it was FREE. No boot CD or USB needed.
I have backed up several computers without any problems. I have restored three and everything worked just as advertised.

#4 hispaladin


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Posted 15 May 2013 - 04:30 PM

Another option for if you just have to re-install multiple different machines regularly (where you don't have a clone available) is to use Nlite to make a custom install disk.  I have used this to add SP3 and certain drivers to the disk as well as being able to make the disk unattended so that you dont have to babysit the machine while it re-installs.  Just pick the settings you always want and then when you get the machine just pop the disk in boot and let it go.  Just be careful not to go crazy on turning things off or you can end up with a machine that cant really do anything (yes, yes I have done that).  I know it works with XP, I think it works with vista but not sure about 7 or 8.

#5 Mr Gibberish

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

I would recommend building a recovery image using DISM or Imagex (From Windows ADK or Windows AIK). Perhaps you can use it to create a .wim backup of the system (without users files) and then save it to a hidden parition. If the computer needs rescuing again, you will just have to copy off user files (like you already do), and note any new softwares they've installed. Then restore from the backup and re-add the new softwares and user files back in, everything else will already be setup as it was last time you fixed it. For more information check out the microsoft website. You could even go hard-core and setup a professional style recovery parition depending on the operating system.


I wrote a post about building a winpe disc for running DISM to create images:



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