Preparing my PC for a fresh, clean install...

  1. Posts : 122
    Windows 10

    Preparing my PC for a fresh, clean install...

    After 5 years and W 7, 8.1 and 10 upgrades the time has come to refresh my Thinkpad T540p. I have read the tutorial here on the clean Windows 10 install steps and I'm comfortable with that. I have a full, mirrored Macrium Reflect disk image of the current setup and important stuff is also archived elsewhere. Never having done this operation before I'm worrying about what I should be doing about the actual programmes on the computer. I guess they should be freshly downloaded from the relevant sites and installed that way and the working files then restored to them from the backups.

    I'm more concerned about this aspect than the clean install. Any tips at all on this gratefully received.

    Windows 10 version 1909 18363.836.

    Worried from Seville
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit

    You should be able to manage it with a little planning.

    Make a list of your various programs so you'll know what you need to re-install after the clean install. I normally DON'T reinstall everything immediately. Rather, I install on an as-needed basis. You'll likely find that some of the stuff on your current install is rarely used and of minimal importance, so why bother re-installing until and unless you actually need it.

    For free programs, yes, I would go to the developer's site and get the most recent version believed to be trouble-free and compatible with your version of Window 10. Some of them may not have had a new version released in many years, so it's hit and miss on what you will find.

    I'd do that now before the clean install.

    Make sure you have any required activation codes.

    I'd install all programs to the C partition unless you have some unusual situation.

    Think about your browser bookmarks and possibly email that may have to be restored after the clean install. Bookmark exporting and importing is usually straightforward, but email can be a pain.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 27,648
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H1

    Well one thing to watch is license products. Make sure you have the key codes available (and any recovery info associated with them, like your sign in id. Had a customer with downloaded office but could not remember the account they created.)

    Some of these licensed products should be de-registered so as to keep the number of copies installed correct.

    While you can likely get your software from downloads I would check this. As an example I've come across several machines running Quickbooks 2012. You cannot download this from the Quickbook site. I was lucky and one customer allowed me to copy the install so all I need is the originals keys.

    I would also suggest you create a list of all install products. This can be used to as an audit list for the above activities and a map for re-install.

    How to Create a List of Your Installed Programs on Windows

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  4. Posts : 122
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks both. All noted.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 39,994
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit

    These are some things to consider when performing a clean install:

    1) A clean install deletes all partitions and allows Windows to create a new partition structure.
    Depending upon the BIOS settings you could choose UEFI / GPT or Legacy / MBR
    There are no issues with data loss as it's a clean install.
    One allows the creation of few partitions whereas the other > 100 partitions.
    One allows the use of WIndows bitlocker drive encryption whereas the other does not have this option.
    One allows secure boot whereas the other does not have this option

    2) Older computers may have drivers that are no longer easy to find
    Drivers can be exported before the clean install and imported after the clean install.
    If you install fresh drivers, the best tested drivers are always displayed on the computer or motherboard manufacturer's websites. The next best source are the component manufacturers: Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Killer Networks, Realtek, etc.

    3) Browser bookmarks can often be forgotten and you may want to save them
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  6. Posts : 122
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Useful tips. Thank you.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm well on the way now. I'll add just one thing from experience so far: keep a copy of your password manager database (securely) handy. It would have made a lot of difference to me at the start of reinstalling my programmes. I had to get Macrium Reflect reinstalled to copy it over from the image.
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 7,115
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit

    There is no real need for a clean install if your current installation is working and you make use of the various disk cleanup tools.

    When doing a clean install, ensure you make frequent backups as you configure the PC (e.g. using Reflect) since it's easy to screw up the installation. I always archive an image of the clean install with desired programs installed and accounts configured.
      My Computers


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