Fresh Install vs Update

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  1. Edward's Avatar
    Posts : 334
    Windows 10 Home 64 Bit/ Linux Mint Cinnamon 19

    Fresh Install vs Update

    Do you prefer to do a fresh install when a new big update comes for example like the Fall Creators update and soon the Spring's or do a update from windows update? Which one is the best, and you will lose performance if you update your system using windows update to download these system updates? Thanks.
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  2. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 2,357
    Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

    It`s totally up to you, if you want to reinstall everything then do a clean install, if not then just upgrade.

    Many people do the windows update method and have no problems, others do and have many problems.

    In my opinion, it`s better to wait as long as possible before you try to update, because so many people will be trying to do it at the same time.

    You are not going to loose any performance no matter how you upgrade, but downloading the Iso file (whenever it is availabe) and running setup from within windows is simpler, and there`s no chance of an interruption.

    You are running W10 Home, so you are compelled to update every 6 months (but there are ways around that)

    I run Pro so I only have to update once a year.
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  3.    #3

    If you use PowerShell as I explain in this 3/23/18 blog post, it will show you the sequence of upgrades that's been applied to the PC on which the commands are run. You can get a precise count of how many times a PC has been upgraded by doing this. If the machine is showing signs of bloat (large size for %windir% hierarchy in general, or large size for WinSxS folder in particular) or instability that's what usually pushes experienced Windows users and admins to take the clean install route. But if the PC is working reasonably well and is stable and not terribly bloated then an upgrade is fine.

    For example, I just ran those commands on my Dell Venue Pro 11 7130 Insider Preview test machine. It shows an unbroken sequence of 95 (!) upgrades applied to this machine stretching back to October of 2015. That's a little over 3 upgrades per month over a 29 month period.

    So obviously, it's not strictly needful to perform a clean install. As I said before it depends on how well a given PC is behaving and so forth. FYI, WinDirStat reports the size of C:\Windows at 19.1 GB, and WinSxS at 6.1 GB on that machine. That's neither minimal nor excessively huge. I could use RAPR, PatchCleaner, and DISM /startcomponentcleanup to bring that down somewhat I imagine. ...goes off to check ... Nope, no difference. My system was already squeaky-clean.

    Last edited by EdTittel; 15 Apr 2018 at 09:49. Reason: Fix typo, remove distractingly long listing
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  4.    #4

    Also it depends on how well maintained your system is right? But then again Windows sometimes finds a way.
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  5. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,790
    Windows 10 Pro

    Somewhat off topic:

    It's funny how the consensus about this topic has changed in past ten years or so. Back when we were moving from XP and Vista to Windows 7, I was considered to be a crazy nutcase when I was advocating in-place upgrade instead of clean install. After writing this post on our sister site, I got a s***load of emails and personal messages telling me how stupid I was to tell users that an in-place upgrade is OK: A simple guide to a successful in-place upgrade - Windows 7 Help Forums

    The same a year later when I wrote a tutorial about upgrading XP to 7, which was considered not possible and not recommended: Upgrade Install - XP to Windows 7 - Windows 7 Help Forums

    Jump to now, now I am considered to be a crazy nutcase because I do a fresh clean install at least once a month, building a new deployment image on a VM, then deploying it to my machines after maximum one or two Insider upgrade installs.

    Seems that whatever side I choose, I am always wrong :)

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  6.    #6

    I have always been a fan of the clean install. The only time I actually upgraded my OS was to get the Windows 10 license for my PC's. Once I had the license locked to my PC. BOOM clean install.
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  7.    #7

    The old Latin epigram comes to mind here: "De gustibus non est disputandem" ("In matters of taste, there is no dispute"). Whatever works for the individual with the PC, be it upgrade or clean install, is OK. Lots of different takes on this to be sure!
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  8.    #8

    I've done both with essentially no noticeable difference in performance. A couple years after it came out I purchased a Win7 Home Upgrade CD (qualified as full retail for W10 update) and upgraded from XP to Win7 Home with no problems at all, then used windows update to update to W10 Home, again no problems.

    I had trouble with the fall update in 2016, it wouldn't install due to an old MB, replaced my existing MB with one that was W10 compatible. I did do a clean install that time, the main difference was the time spent installing W10 as opposed to upgrading the existing version. Clean install using an iso was much quicker, 30 minutes or so, an upgrade took roughly 18 to 20 minutes for the download alone for me. Then at least an hour to install from the windows update download.

    The huge downside IMO to doing a clean install is having to set everything how it was on the previous install, that alone could be another couple hours, so an upgrade to me is far better than a clean install. I'm pretty OCD about liking to have things stay the way I have them set up.

    Really there should be no difference in either way, there are times ones' computer has been so gummed up with many installs/uninstalls a user might want a clean install to clean any/all old stuff off your drive.

    @EdTittle; Out of curiosity I checked with windirstat and my Windows folder is 14.5G, WinSxS is 5.5G.

    So whatever is easiest least hassle for you is the right way to do it.
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  9. Wynona's Avatar
    Posts : 23,056
    Windows 10 Skip Ahead Preview Build 18312

    Edward said: View Post
    Do you prefer to do a fresh install when a new big update comes for example like the Fall Creators update and soon the Spring's or do a update from windows update? Which one is the best, and you will lose performance if you update your system using windows update to download these system updates? Thanks.
    Used to be the rule of thumb was to do a fresh installation of each new version of Windows. Let's take older versions of Windows for example. Everyone knew that if Vista (or Windows XP, 95, 98, etc.) had any problems whatsoever, that they'd be sure to carry over to the next version of Windows, so it was a no brainer to do what we now call a "clean install". Reinstalling apps and programs wasn't so time consuming back then either.

    Does the same thought process hold true today? Well, yeah ... somewhat ... maybe ... maybe not. Today's Windows 10 is not your mom and pop's Windows. Not at all; so much progress has been made with Windows stability that most of us just go for the update. Even I, who used to believe "all the glitches are gonna be carried over" have had a change of mind. As an Insider, I've tested both ways; clean install every new Build, then every other Build, and now, for the most part, just an update will do.

    Then there are those new Builds (less frequent these days) that just won't run properly. You do everything you can think of to fix the issue(s) but nothing works. As a last resort, you do a clean install. Sometimes it cures all or most of your ills, sometimes not.

    I have the Fall Creators Update on my teaching Lappy. Because I have a lot of deep discount (free) demonstration apps I won't be able to reinstall, I will first try to do the update, but if it doesn't act right, I won't hesitate to do the clean install.

    Bottom line: If it works great, update. If there are even one or two glitches, clean install! Just my opinion, and like belly buttons, we all got one.
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  10. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 10,802
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)

    Edward said: View Post
    Do you prefer to do a fresh install when a new big update comes for example like the Fall Creators update and soon the Spring's or do a update from windows update?
    Strictly speaking, my answer has to be "neither of the above".

    Like Kari I favour the... upgrade instead of clean install...
    But there are two ways to do an in-place upgrade, only one of which is to...
    ...update your system using windows update to download these system updates
    Remember, there is a third option - to download the install media (as an ISO or USB) using the MCT and use that perform the in-place upgrade.

    Theoretically this should produce identical results to letting windows update perform the upgrade. In practice the manual upgrade seems more reliable. This forum is full of posts where windows update has failed to install a Features Update then an in-place upgrade using the ISO has succeeded.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

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