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Installing OS and Programs. Advice Wanted Please.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone, happy new year to ya all =)
I would like to ask for some experienced pro tips on installing OS, apps/programs and games.

So the reason I ask: Basically last week I had a serious problem with my OS, long story short, no amount of restoring from backups or system repairs would fix it, so I decided to just format and reinstall. Now, my knowledge in some areas of computing is fairly decent, but other areas it's pretty damn poor.
So with my lack of knowledge is this area I have always installed my OS and apps/programs on the same drive, no partitions or anything. Then I run a separate drive for media and other drives for games, backups e.t.c...
And this got me thinking, is there a better way of doing this. So I wondered what you guys do to make things more convenient or to safeguard your stuff in the event of having to reinstall your OS?
Is there a way to install your apps/programs in a way that a full reinstall of the OS "Wouldn't" require you to have to reinstall all your stuff and set it all back up?

Really interested to hear what some of you guys think is the best way of doing this.

Cheers everyone
post #2 of 9
The best way to safeguard your OS is to forget System Restore, turn it off completely, and use an imaging solution such as Norton Ghost or TrueImage, or the freebie CloneZilla.

Put OS and apps on the SSD, and your data on the platter drive(s). Make sure you move the My Documents folder as well.

Image that SSD to your platter drive.

Then use something like 7zip to create archives of the entire internal HDDs on an external drive.
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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by euphoria4949 View Post

So with my lack of knowledge is this area I have always installed my OS and apps/programs on the same drive, no partitions or anything. Then I run a separate drive for media and other drives for games, backups e.t.c...

    That is the best way to do it.  Having a partition between the OS and your programs on the same disk will reduce performance by forcing frequent seeking between those partitions.  Having all your personal files, media, games, and backups on another drive allows you to format and reinstall Windows (or restore a system drive image) anytime without disturbing your files.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by euphoria4949 View Post

So I wondered what you guys do to make things more convenient or to safeguard your stuff in the event of having to reinstall your OS?

    As FastMHz said, the best way is a full system drive (your SSD) image.  If something gets messed up in your Windows installation, just restore the system drive image and you're back to the functioning OS you had at that time.  Having your documents/files stored on a different drive ensures that your files remain unchanged by the image restore operation.
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by euphoria4949 View Post

Is there a way to install your apps/programs in a way that a full reinstall of the OS "Wouldn't" require you to have to reinstall all your stuff and set it all back up?

    No; if you reinstall Windows, you will also have to reinstall all your programs (because of Registry entries).  That is why a full system drive image is recommended.  It will allow you to revert your OS and programs to a functioning point in time.  Something to think about: After installing all your programs and Windows updates, if you make a system drive image then, you will have a "fresh" image restore point that would require less work to setup than a full format and reinstall of Windows.[/quote]
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techie007 View Post

    That is the best way to do it.  Having a partition between the OS and your programs on the same disk will reduce performance by forcing frequent seeking between those partitions.  Having all your personal files, media, games, and backups on another drive allows you to format and reinstall Windows (or restore a system drive image) anytime without disturbing your files.
 
 
    As FastMHz said, the best way is a full system drive (your SSD) image.  If something gets messed up in your Windows installation, just restore the system drive image and you're back to the functioning OS you had at that time.  Having your documents/files stored on a different drive ensures that your files remain unchanged by the image restore operation.
 
 
    No; if you reinstall Windows, you will also have to reinstall all your programs (because of Registry entries).  That is why a full system drive image is recommended.  It will allow you to revert your OS and programs to a functioning point in time.  Something to think about: After installing all your programs and Windows updates, if you make a system drive image then, you will have a "fresh" image restore point that would require less work to setup than a full format and reinstall of Windows.

Ok, I got ya. That's really helpful thank you.
Funny enough I did exactly what you mentioned, this morning after I'd "FINALLY" installed all drivers, updates and programs I created a backup and system image just in case. But I used Windows own backup utility, is this not a good idea as FastMHz said???

Thanks
post #5 of 9
It is best to create an "offline" image, where a bootable CD is used to boot the software to create the image. Windows Backup has issues, and it's not an offline image.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok brilliant,

Thanks again for your help.
post #7 of 9
Techie 007 is right unfortunately you have to reinstall all apps and programs with a new OS install which can take ages depending on how much stuff you have on there. You can make it fairly easy and straightforward by backing up all your documents, music, video files, drivers, game saves and profiles on something else, a USB, another drive or even a partition then copy them back.

The best thing is to avoid having to do a complete reinstall by keeping your system clean with spyware scans, defrags, ininstalling stuff you never use. I don't think I've ever had to do a reinstall except for a new hard drive.

What exactly was wrong with the OS? You probably could've fixed it. The system restore on Win7 is OK but I disable it, I'd prefer just to do a clean install and keep it clean.
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ding Chavez View Post

The best thing is to avoid having to do a complete reinstall by keeping your system clean with spyware scans, defrags, ininstalling stuff you never use. I don't think I've ever had to do a reinstall except for a new hard drive.

This. And also, whatever happened to spending a good old Sunday installing, updating your OS and apps to complete flawlessness? All those fun "you must restart your computer" prompts lol.

The question still stands, what was wrong with your OS? And are you in the habit of formatting regularly? I find myself having to format perhaps once every 2 -3 years, tops.
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well the short version is, we emigrated recently and we lost a lot of our personal belongings to loss, theft and/or damage (Story for another day), so I asked my nephew for his copy of Windows. It was a legit copy but as it turns out the product key wasn't! So I was blissfully unaware until Windows started telling me it wasn't activated. Then I let me nephew remote my PC as he knew how to sort it "Apparently", and he FUBAR'ed it..... completely!
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