Here's the link to my suggestions for a clean install of Windows: http://www.carrona.org/canned.html#clean
First off, please understand that there are different opinions on how to do this.
What I describe is what I've found to work best for me.
But understand that I am a BSOD analyst - so nearly all of my work is centered on that (and it's likely that yours isn't) - so we are different.
That being said, there are also certain "givens" that we use.
For example, in most cases a newer driver is better than an older driver. (notice that I said "in most cases").
We also presume that (in a system that has ALL Windows Updates) that the problem probably isn't with Windows (this isn't 100% sure - but nearly so IME).
Then, notice in my guide/canned speech, that there is almost no mention of 3rd party drivers. That's because most problems (again IME) are caused by 3rd party drivers.
Step 6 mentions them because I believe a device without drivers is more problematic than a device with the latest drivers.
3rd party drivers from Microsoft (non-Windows drivers) are uploaded to Microsoft servers by the driver developer or the OEM (who also develop some drivers). These aren't updated very often, so they're not as reliable as newer drivers from the manufacturer. As time passes, this way of updating is becoming better, but IMO it's still not quite up to snuff.
The best place to get drivers from is from the people who developed that particular piece of hardware. In the event that the hardware is installed in an OEM system, the OEM may make changes to the drivers - so (for that system) the best source is the OEM. Comparing driver dates will help (not the release date of the package) will help determine what's the most recent.
A caution here on video drivers. If using a laptop with 2 video cards (or a desktop with 2 different video cards) - it's best to use the drivers from the OEM manufacturer's website (they often change the drivers so that they will work with the switching software/hardware built into the system). I have a Samsung laptop that uses AMD drivers that are signed by Intel (not by AMD as you would expect). I screwed this up so bad that I can't use my AMD video card (no gaming for me!).
In the case of my guide/canned speech, you can add (just added this to the webpage also):
Step 11 - download and install all available updates from the system manufacturer (or motherboard manufacturer if it's a custom build)
Step 12 - download and install all available updates for any additional hardware that's installed (from the manufacturer's website).
Step 13 - download and install all available updates for any software that you have installed.
Now let's discuss how I do it at work:
- I install Windows clean from recovery media or a recovery partition.
- I check Device Manager and update any drivers needed there
- I update Windows fully
- I update the BIOS/UEFI
- I run the manufacturer's update application and apply those updates
- I install the antivirus/Internet Security application
- I do a few tweaks/settings changes to make the system run faster and better