New Dell Laptop, Time to Format and Reinstall?

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  1. Posts : 40
    Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
       #1

    New Dell Laptop, Time to Format and Reinstall?


    Purchased a Dell XPS 13. Sweet machine, but as always it comes loaded with unnecessary bloat and apps I neither want nor need. With only a 256GB ssd, I figure it's a good idea to wipe the drive and clean install 10. Not being too tech savvy I wanted to throw out a few questions to the brighter minds among us. . .
    Is it as simple as downloading Windows 10 onto a thumb drive, plug it in and follow the prompts, wiping the disk and partitions?
    Does 10 auto install the necessary drivers, or do I need to do so manually from Dell's site?
    Any recommendations on apps/services that can be safely uninstalled or at least turned off to increase performance? Any "must have" tweaks that I should install?
    Overall, any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
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  2. Posts : 1,567
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    My recommendation would be to first create Dell factory restore media (USB flash or external USB HDD) using Dell Backup and Recovery and then proceed as you described.
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  3. Posts : 13,934
    Windows 10 Pro X64 21H1 19043.1503
       #3

    You can save the drivers, see here: Solved Driver Backup in Windows 10 Pro - Windows 10 Forums

    I recommend using the DISM command.
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  4. Posts : 459
    Windows 8&10
       #4

    I totally agree with making a backup. I might even go so far as to replace the current SSD and replace it with a larger one and put the original away for safe keeping. If I understand correctly, the license key in the firmware will be used for the clean install.

    Are you planning on staying with Windows 10 Home version? Have you given any thought to using the system for the first 30 days of the warranty period?

    My thoughts on drivers is if the OEM has drivers available for Windows 10, use those.

    What bloatware you might want to uninstall is going to be up to you. There is software installed which Dell uses for system support. Hopefully, you will have no problems with it, but there is always a chance something will break.
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  5. Posts : 1,567
    Windows 10 Pro
       #5

    Carbo said:
    ...Does 10 auto install the necessary drivers, or do I need to do so manually from Dell's site?
    Any recommendations on apps/services that can be safely uninstalled or at least turned off to increase performance? Any "must have" tweaks that I should install?
    Overall, any advice is appreciated. Thank you!
    All good advice above.

    Further to more specific questions of yours quoted above:

    A clean install of Windows 10 should have you up and running OK and it should activate OK without having to enter a product key - skip any prompts for it.

    This initial clean install MAY leave you with unknown devices in Device Manager but you should at least have important functionality like network drivers and video - although not necessarily optimal. Thus, saving drivers ahead of time is a good idea as mentioned above.

    However, you can get away without reinstalling any or very minimal Dell software. My recommendation, after getting a functioning Win10 clean install, is to go to Dell support online, browse to product support, enter your specific service tag, and browse to drivers and downloads. There you can look at all the driver offerings - especially those for anything that has come up as an unknown device in Device Manager and compare offered drivers to those that Win10 installed to see if there's a more up-to-date or Dell customized driver version for your specific service tag.

    Generally, the Dell driver installs will check that you don't already have a later or same version of that driver before completing the install.

    Also, check what your BIOS version is and see if there's an update to your BIOS available on that drivers & downloads page.

    As far as a specific tweak that I always do with my Dell laptop - I always (after clean install or major version upgrade) go into power & sleep settings and disable "fast startup" - I just don't like its behavior on my machine. Alternatively, especially if you have an SSD and it's not already disabled, you can execute "powercfg -h off" from a command prompt, which will disable both hibernation and fast startup.
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  6. Posts : 1,871
    W10 pro x64 20H2 Build 19042.610
       #6

    I clean installed W10 onto a Dell Vostro laptop a couple of weeks ago. For me, the only drivers and applications needed from Dell were for the cardreader, Dell 'Quickset' which allows control of my illuminated keyboard (without and it was just permanently on at half brightness) and a Realtek HD sound application plus driver. Windows took care of everything else.

    If you really are going to wipe the drive then I would recommend doing as I did and use the W10 install media to delete all partitions and take the drive down to 'unallocated space'. I then create a single partition to install W10 and I deliberately make it small at first, say 20Gb. Do your install and then expand the partition to whatever you want and create any others you may wish. I have Windows on a 70Gb partition, a 30Gb 'Data' partition, a 100Gb partition for backups and a 30 Gb partition for recovery images and to store any drivers and software.
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  7. Posts : 40
    Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks for all the input and advice. Much appreciated.
    Word Man, I've downloaded all the drivers for my machine from Dell. I'll see what's needed and install as necessary. Shouldn't be any issues with drivers. But I'm surprised to read that you disable Fast Startup. Shouldn't that be a desired feature? I mean, fast startup means a, well, fast startup. . .no? The laptop has a 256GB SSD, if that makes a difference.
    Mooly, my preference is to wipe the drive and delete all partitions. Sounds like the Windows 10 installation media offers that option? Or am I better off with a third party app to wipe the disk, something like KillDisk?
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  8. Posts : 2,501
    Win 11 Pro
       #8

    If this is a NEW PC, I would wait at least two weeks before doing any changing. If it "breaks" and you need to call Dell support, likely the first thing they will have you do is a reinstall from the Dell recovery partition (if they still use that). If the disc has been reformatted and whatever reinstalled the Dell recovery will no longer run.
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  9. Posts : 1,567
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    fireberd said:
    If this is a NEW PC, I would wait at least two weeks before doing any changing. If it "breaks" and you need to call Dell support, likely the first thing they will have you do is a reinstall from the Dell recovery partition (if they still use that). If the disc has been reformatted and whatever reinstalled the Dell recovery will no longer run.
    Hence, my first advice out the gate was to create the Dell factory restore media using Dell Backup and Recovery. Once this is done, you're free to blast away all partitions (including the factory restore partition) as part of a truly clean Win10 install (whether you want to do it right now or want to wait some period of time).

    Guidance on a truly clean install, including deleting all partitions, is given here: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/1...n-install.html The install routine includes an opportunity to delete all partitions. Wiping the disk is another can of worms which I wouldn't suggest as necessary for OP at this point and would likely involve, more conveniently, a third party software.

    The factory restore media you create are bootable and duplicate the function of the factory restore partition, giving you the means to restore to the out-of-the-box, and never turned on, state.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 1,871
    W10 pro x64 20H2 Build 19042.610
       #10

    Carbo said:
    Mooly, my preference is to wipe the drive and delete all partitions. Sounds like the Windows 10 installation media offers that option? Or am I better off with a third party app to wipe the disk, something like KillDisk?
    Using the options offered during install is fine. Just delete each partition in turn until the whole disk is just unallocated space. Then click 'new' and make a new single partition of say 20Gb. The rest will remain unallocated until the install is complete. You can then use the disk management tools in W10 to create your new partitions having first extended your Windows one to the size you wish.

    Look at the images in steps 10 to 14 here. You use the custom install method and delete all on the disk to bring it unallocated.

    Windows 10 - Clean Install - Windows 10 Forums

    I fitted a new Crucial 250Gb SSD to my Dell, replacing the original 320Gb 7200 RPM spinner. The difference is staggering. For example, a full disk image would take around, what ! 10 minutes to complete, a restore taking perhaps 15 to 20 minutes. That's come down to 2 to 3 minutes each way. Programs (such as Libreoffice) open instantly.
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