Starting Over - Guidance Request: What's the best way to prepare?

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  1. Posts : 120
    Windows 10 Pro
       #1

    Starting Over - Guidance Request: What's the best way to prepare?


    What's the best way to prepare for "starting over" with a fresh install of Win 10 Pro? I'm not talking about the steps to reset, refresh, etc. Rather, I'm looking for guidance on how I can get back to normal the fastest. Consider...

    I have a home LAN with IOT devices, IP Camera's connecting to wireless, mapped drives on LAN peers, mission critical software, utilities, and a whole bunch of other things I've tweaked to suit my needs. This is going to be a nightmare and I need to get things in order before I shut down Jurassic Park, so to speak.

    Ideally, my plan would be to create a VM of my current state and then I could go back and look at my old set up as a reference. Sadly, the main reason I'm going to reset/refresh/whack my system is because I am having problems installing Hyper-V; so I can't use that strategy. I have Macrium Reflect paid version and have rigorous backups.

    So how would the cognoscenti here prepare to start over?

    Edition Windows 10 Pro
    Version 20H2
    Installed on ‎12/‎18/‎2020
    OS build 19042.867
    Experience Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.551.0
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 35,567
    Win 10 Pro (21H2) (2nd PC is 21H2)
       #2

    Ideally, my plan would be to create a VM of my current state and then I could go back and look at my old set up as a reference. Sadly, the main reason I'm going to reset/refresh/whack my system is because I am having problems installing Hyper-V; so I can't use that strategy.
    - well, you could consider using Virtualbox (free) instead.

    Worst case- keep a disk with your old installation on it. Not as convenient to swap of course.

    Transferring a user profile and all installed programs from one O/S to another can be done using e.g. Laplink PCMover - and you can use an image of your old system as source, which you already have. One off license- but a huge time saver for non-trivial installations.

    That may not include all special cases of course, so be prepared for exceptions.

    This may be of use:
    Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 120
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #3

    dalchina said:
    - well, you could consider using Virtualbox (free) instead.

    Worst case- keep a disk with your old installation on it. Not as convenient to swap of course.

    Transferring a user profile and all installed programs from one O/S to another can be done using e.g. Laplink PCMover - and you can use an image of your old system as source, which you already have. One off license- but a huge time saver for non-trivial installations.

    That may not include all special cases of course, so be prepared for exceptions.

    This may be of use:
    Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10
    Will Virtualbox work with Macrium ViBoot?

    So let me rephrase the question. What would YOU do to prepare for a clean install to get you back up and running? I mean, would you create a list of things you have to have before you started? What would be on such a list?

    Any thoughts?
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  4. Posts : 16,162
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #4

    Hello @Silky,

    Silky said:
    So let me rephrase the question. What would YOU do to prepare for a clean install to get you back up and running? I mean, would you create a list of things you have to have before you started? What would be on such a list?

    You will get a good response to this question. So, to start things off . . .

    [1] Create a System Image of the Disk.
    [2] Further Backup ALL your Data and Files that you can NOT afford to lose [ External Drive ].
    [3] Export your Drivers . . .

    > How to Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10

    [4] Retrieve [ FREE ] any Product Keys / License Keys for any installed software. These are widely used for this task . . .

    > Belarc Advisor - Shows in your browser.
    > ShowKeyPlus - Win10.Guru - Toolkit Item.
    > Speccy - Download Page.

    I hope this helps.
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 39,996
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit
       #5

    If you prefer to clean install then the main two additional steps are installing drivers and applications.

    For drivers:
    Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10

    For applications they can be downloaded overnight and installed the next day.



    Before a clean install try an in place upgrade repair:
    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 120
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Paul Black said:
    Hello @Silky,




    You will get a good response to this question. So, to start things off . . .

    [1] Create a System Image of the Disk.
    [2] Further Backup ALL your Data and Files that you can NOT afford to lose [ External Drive ].
    [3] Export your Drivers . . .

    > How to Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10

    [4] Retrieve [ FREE ] any Product Keys / License Keys for any installed software. These are widely used for this task . . .

    > Belarc Advisor - Shows in your browser.
    > ShowKeyPlus - Win10.Guru - Toolkit Item.
    > Speccy - Download Page.

    I hope this helps.
    It does indeed help. This is going to be a beast, but I have a couple of questions about the tools you've recommended:

    Belarc: is the installed software listing comprehensive? That is to say, if it's not listed by Belarc, it's not installed - is that correct?
    Speccy: I've had speccy for a while but in this context how would you use it?

    When you say "create a system image"... would my Macrium Reflect backup suffice or should I use the app from the control panel? Also, is the creation of said image just insurance or will I need it after a clean install?

    By and large, this is a good start for me and I'm grateful for your guidance.

    - - - Updated - - -

    zbook said:
    If you prefer to clean install then the main two additional steps are installing drivers and applications.

    For drivers:
    Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10

    For applications they can be downloaded overnight and installed the next day.



    Before a clean install try an in place upgrade repair:
    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade
    I did an in place upgrade repair using the Media Creation Tool method and it didn't solve my problem with Hyper-V installation. It did however, update me to 20H2 so that worked. Do you think I should try using the ISO method before going through the gag and vomit of a clean install?
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 16,162
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #7

    Hello @Silky,

    Personally, I would stay clear of the Windows Built-In Imaging & Backup option for the reasons I have given below.

    It is common knowledge that most of the time you CAN'T trust ANY of the MS built-in Backup or Image facilities because they just DON'T work. The System Imaging facility is a deprecated feature which is NO longer being developed or updated [ it used the same executables in every version of W10 ]. Even MS say that the built-in System Imaging facility should NOT be used . . .

    System Image Backup (SIB) Solution
    We recommend that users use full-disk backup solutions from other vendors.

    SOURCE: > Features Removed or Deprecated in Windows 10

    I hope this helps.
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 1,244
    Windows 10 Pro x64 21H2 (Build: 19044.1415)
       #8

    Silky said:
    Ideally, my plan would be to create a VM of my current state and then I could go back and look at my old set up as a reference.
    I would use a tool that will convert your current Windows disk into virtual disk to be used in virtual machine:
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sys...loads/disk2vhd

    See also tutorial here or search for more:
    How to Convert a Physical Windows or Linux PC to a Virtual Machine

    So let me rephrase the question. What would YOU do to prepare for a clean install to get you back up and running? I mean, would you create a list of things you have to have before you started? What would be on such a list?
    This is my own list before doing clean install:
    1. backup bookmarks
    2. backup other stuff (documents and anything you care about) to another drive (USB, external HDD)
    3. backup program settings (steps for settings into a file, or write some quick tutorials that serve only you for future reference)
    4. Download up to date Windows ISO and create bootable USB
    5. Since you want current system in future virtual machine, make sure to test virtual disk that you create, ex. make sure it boots up.
    6. once your backup is away from computer on another disk including virtual disk of current OS, go ahead and do clean install. (slow disk format is a must to minimize file system and disk errors in fresh system, although most people skip it with default installer setup)

    At this point you may want to adjust or revisit BIOS options before installing new system...
    ex:
    secure boot, VT-X, VT-D etc.. (ex. you need VT-X for virtual machine)

    First things you do in fresh system in following order:
    1. Fully update Windows
    2. download only original drivers from motherboard site and install them in this order:
    A) chipset drivers, reboot
    B) the rest of drivers, 2nd reboot
    3. Adjust Windows settings and do not install anything else, do not transfer anything from your external backup drive.
    adjusting settings includes:
    A) all settings in Settings app
    B) Add remove features in "programs and features"
    C) Security options in following locations as wanted:
    - Defender app
    - GPO
    - Advanced system settings dialog (Settings app > System ...)

    reboot

    4. First setup and test Hyper-V (enabled in step 3-B)
    5. if it works, boot your virtual disk that you made in old OS, if it doesn't work you need to disable Hyper-V before installing other virtualization programs.
    6. Install only programs that are you really need, less software equals faster system, more you install more possible trouble you introduce.
    The rule is simple: If you plan to remove software at some point in the future that you're installing, then don't install it.
    7. Change all your online passwords starting with e-mail, make each one unique, change router passwords, do not use same Windows account name/password in new system.
    Fresh system is the best time to revisit your passwords.

    There is a lot more one can do for fresh start, it looks like a lot but you do this only one or twice a year so it must be perfect!
    The rest is best practices to keep your system stable and secure for as long as possible, otherwise a new start is needed...
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 16,162
    Win 10 Pro 64-bit v1909 - Build 18363 Custom ISO Install
       #9

    Hello @Silky,

    Silky said:
    I have a couple of questions about the tools you've recommended:

    Belarc: is the installed software listing comprehensive? That is to say, if it's not listed by Belarc, it's not installed - is that correct?
    Belarc is pretty comprehensive when it comes to situations like this. Just check to see if there is any sotware that is NOT included.

    Silky said:
    Speccy: I've had speccy for a while but in this context how would you use it?
    Speccy is more for information, but could possibly help if you have software installed and it does NOT show up in Belarc.

    Silky said:
    When you say "create a system image"... [1] would my Macrium Reflect backup suffice or should I use the app from the control panel? [2] Also, is the creation of said image just insurance or will I need it after a clean install?
    [1] Yes it would.

    [2] No, you will shouldn't really need it after the Clean Install. It is more for piece of mind and security than anything else. If you find that you do NOT have a file that you need, you can Mount the Macrium Reflect Image and then copy the file or folder for example.

    Silky said:
    By and large, this is a good start for me and I'm grateful for your guidance.
    You are VERY welcome.

    I hope this helps.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 120
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #10

    zebal said:
    I would use a tool that will convert your current Windows disk into virtual disk to be used in virtual machine:
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sys...loads/disk2vhd

    See also tutorial here or search for more:
    How to Convert a Physical Windows or Linux PC to a Virtual Machine


    This is my own list before doing clean install:
    1. backup bookmarks
    2. backup other stuff (documents and anything you care about) to another drive (USB, external HDD)
    3. backup program settings (steps for settings into a file, or write some quick tutorials that serve only you for future reference)
    4. Download up to date Windows ISO and create bootable USB
    5. Since you want current system in future virtual machine, make sure to test virtual disk that you create, ex. make sure it boots up.
    6. once your backup is away from computer on another disk including virtual disk of current OS, go ahead and do clean install. (slow disk format is a must to minimize file system and disk errors in fresh system, although most people skip it with default installer setup)

    At this point you may want to adjust or revisit BIOS options before installing new system...
    ex:
    secure boot, VT-X, VT-D etc.. (ex. you need VT-X for virtual machine)

    First things you do in fresh system in following order:
    1. Fully update Windows
    2. download only original drivers from motherboard site and install them in this order:
    A) chipset drivers, reboot
    B) the rest of drivers, 2nd reboot
    3. Adjust Windows settings and do not install anything else, do not transfer anything from your external backup drive.
    adjusting settings includes:
    A) all settings in Settings app
    B) Add remove features in "programs and features"
    C) Security options in following locations as wanted:
    - Defender app
    - GPO
    - Advanced system settings dialog (Settings app > System ...)

    reboot

    4. First setup and test Hyper-V (enabled in step 3-B)
    5. if it works, boot your virtual disk that you made in old OS, if it doesn't work you need to disable Hyper-V before installing other virtualization programs.
    6. Install only programs that are you really need, less software equals faster system, more you install more possible trouble you introduce.
    The rule is simple: If you plan to remove software at some point in the future that you're installing, then don't install it.
    7. Change all your online passwords starting with e-mail, make each one unique, change router passwords, do not use same Windows account name/password in new system.
    Fresh system is the best time to revisit your passwords.

    There is a lot more one can do for fresh start, it looks like a lot but you do this only one or twice a year so it must be perfect!
    The rest is best practices to keep your system stable and secure for as long as possible, otherwise a new start is needed...
    Okay, wow. Great outline - it got me thinking about other things that I'll want to put on the list. I'm grateful for the thought you put into your reply as well as for being pretty clear on the strategy outline. That's what I was after from a 50,000 foot view.

    I would like to check for understanding though. Are you saying that one strategy would be use Disk2Vhd to create a VHXD of the current state/machine. Then once I'm done with my "checklist" of fresh install activities, use that VHXD to create a VM using Hyper-V. Then I would always have that VM to refer to - am I understanding this right?

    If that's roughly what your saying, I like it because that's what I want - lemme run my old machine and see what the settings/passwords/themes, etc. were. After being sure that the fresh install is configured properly.

    Also, devil's in the details - will I use disk management console to mount the VHXD, then could I use Macrium Reflect to Image that mounted drive, then use MR's ViBoot to run that "snapshot state" as a VM when I need it? Is that how that would work?
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