Minimizing the hassle of reinstalling everything?
November 14, 2009 12:03 AM Subscribe
Help me save time and frustration reinstalling my programs/settings after a fresh Windows install / upgrade / etc.
posted by Alabaster to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Reinstalling my system after an OS upgrade, system wipe, or on a new PC always becomes an enormous task -- usually taking several days plus weeks of random annoyances ("oops, have to find that codec, oh gee, I don't have Java installed, oh no I have to re-map all of my keyboard shortcuts, etc. .")
I'm thinking of wiping my bloated Vista 64 system and upgrading to Windows 7, but I don't have the time to go through the whole process. (I use Acronis TrueImage for emergency restores, but this won't help with an OS upgrade).
* I use LOTS of software regularly
* I'm a tweaker, and have a lot of personalized settings for everything
* Tracking down install files (some on discs around my house, some downloaded, some need to be re-downloaded)
* Many of my programs have been through several patches and upgrades which will need to be gathered and re-applied
* Many programs require online registration/authorization. Some will need to be re-registered because authorization code is tied to system hardware.
* Many programs have a lot of tweaks, settings, plugins, presets, presets, advanced settings, key bindings etc that I would like to retain.
* All those random things like Flash, Java, video codecs, .NET framework, runtime libraries, etc.
Steps I've taken pre-upgrade:
* Backup all data, obviously
* Keep data on a separate partition from programs/OS
* Use portable versions of programs whenever possible to eliminate the need to reinstall
* Save all purchased program serial numbers in one location
* Whenever updating/patching a program, save the patch installer in a folder called "Program Updates"
* Whenever possible, export program settings/presets into a catch-all folder called "Presets" for easy reinstall. Prior to upgrading, go through all crucial programs and export. Make a note of settings which will need manual re-setting
* Use Driverbackup software to gather all of my drivers into one place for easy reinstall. (Is there a similar program for codecs?)
I'd appreciate any advice on:
1.) How I can reinstall all my stuff as quickly/efficiently as possible
2.) How I can maintain my system from now on to make future upgrades/restores hassle-free (I'm curious about using some kind of VM for all but my most essential programs, but I don't know much about this)
3.) If I get lazy and decide to do an in-place upgrade (from Vista 64 Home Premium to Windows 7 x64 Home Premium), will I regret this? Does a Windows 7 install clean up a lot of system bloat and other issues?