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mursaat

HOW TO - Install Windows in 25 minutes

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Ok, this is my first HOWTO, so please feel free comment and add to the thread as much as you like. If you feel I should put something into the original post, let me know. Also please sorry if my english sometimes is poor or bad constructed, I'm from Spain :)

 

With this HOWTO I will try to simplify things when doing a Windows reinstall. It will go from the HDD partitions, folder structure, applications used, things to backup, things that need (or don't) reinstall, etc.

 

We all know that Windows installations start to go slower with the use, so I format and reinstall mine every 3-4 months. In this guide I will use all my experience since Win95. Of course, when backing up things you must take a lot of time to be sure you don't lose anything valuable.

 

As a little disclaimer (I hate them) I'm not responsible for the lose of any file you have. Even if you follow this guide, you can use a program I don't that stores things in a different folder. Please be very VERY meticulous when doing a backup before reinstall.

 

This guide is valid for Windows 2000 or newer, as it uses the Documents and Settings structure. I don't think there's many people still using Windows 98, but it can be easily applied with some changes, like using WindowsProfiles instead.

 

For this guide I will assume you know how to partition a hard drive and how to create folders, install Windows, drivers and applications. If anyone needs help regarding that, please PM. Also I will assume to have at least two HDD units, being those logical or physical.

 

So lets go, I hope this help and don't end being a boring big read :D

 

 

PREPARATION:

 

1. HDD Partitions

 

The most logical way to partition the big HDDs we have now is to make a little C: partition, about 10Gb, and leave the rest as D:. Doing more partitions of a single physical HDD doesn't have sense to me, because if you mantain a clean folder structure you can have everything well ordered in two discs. We will go onto this later.

 

By having a 10Gb partition for C: you avoid to backup everything from Mp3, Docs, Avis, Appz, etc EVERY reinstall. Simply you backup some Documents and SettingsUsername folders and you're ready to format C: and install Windows. If you only have one physical HDD, there are some tools like Partition Magic that can create and resize partitions, but it is very dangerous and a FULL BACKUP is always recommended. The best way is to get a 2nd physical HDD or copy to DVDs, then delete and create the partitions in the Windows Setup or with a Partition Magic boot disk. So resuming:

 

You must have two partitions, 10Gb C: and leave the rest for D:. In case you have a 36Gb Raptor, well you can let it be the full C: so you don't have 2 little hard discs in Windows. With 2x36Gb Raptors nVStriped (as in my case) I have C:10gb + G:59Gb.

 

 

2. Folder structure

 

Keeping things sorted and tidy helps a lot. In C: I only store the OS and the applications that MUST be installed every time. Using short names for the folders is a must, as sometimes you get up to 5-6 sub-folders. This is my folder structure for D:

 

D:Docs I store here my documents, family and vacation images, some funny photographs. Anything that is not Music, Movie, Game or Application.

 

D:Downloads Here goes everything I download and is waiting to be moved to its place. Sometimes it grows up to 20Gb :shake:

 

D:Media Here goes all my Mp3, Divx and Applications. I have this sub-folders:

Appz Various applications that do not need installation, but sometimes you install them in a friend's rig, etc.

Bookz Erm, ebooks? :D

Mp3 ditto

Movies ditto

Wallpapers ditto

Reinstall <- This is a must in this guide, with this subfolders:

Codecs and Filters Divx, Xvid, Ogg, etc. Codec Pack ELISOFT 1.4.0 is a very good pack.

Drivers MoBo, GPU, Ethernet, etc.

Windows Components DirectX, Windows Installer, WMP10, .NET, Powertoys, Messenger (I prefer Trillian)

Backup Desktop, Firefox config, some other app config.

Shortcuts Quick Launch icons, another thing you MUST have. I will explain this later.

 

D:Programs All the applications you use and that DO NOT need to be installed. The list is long, because really few programs need installation. I don't want to mess this list too much, so I will post a list of some programs I have stored here.

 

G:Games Almost every game I can think of can run without installing, apart from Far Cry. In case that a game needs to be installed, install it here, so things stay clean and tidy.

 

In my case, I have 2x36Gb raptors in nVStripe, with C: 10Gb and G: 59Gb. In G: I store the Games folder, and all the benchmarks and OC tools in G:Benchmarks, so they load faster.

 

 

Programs that do not need to be installed, to store in D:Programs

 

Acrobat Reader

BSPlayer

EAC

Firefox (you must backup the folder C:Documents and SettingsUsernameProgram DataMozilla)

Fraps

NiBiTor

PC Wizard 2006

RivaTuner

Winamp (makes an error regardin PX.dll, but can work. I reinstall it here to keep C: clean)

WinRAR

 

With these, all you need is to make the extension association the first time you use a .pdf, .rar, .avi, etc. Most programs have a config to associate all the extensions (WinRAR, BSPlayer, Winamp, PowerDVD).

 

There are a lot more, maybe it would be easier to name the

 

 

Programs that MUST be installed:

 

Antivirus

Microsoft Office

iTunes

PowerDVD

Daemon Tools

NERO

Alcohol

ITE Smartguardian

In general, any program that install some kind of driver and/or service or copies any .dll to C:Windows

 

 

OC and Benchmarking programas I store in the nVStripe G:Benchmarks

 

Aquamark3

Clockgen

CPU-Z

CrystalCPUID/Mark

Everest

3dmarks

HD Tach

OCCT

Prime95

SP2004

SuperPi_Mod

WCPUID

A64MemFreq

A64Tweaker

 

Remember, always keep a folder called "Shortcuts" with all the app shortcuts you habitually use.

 

 

3. Things to backup

 

If you follow this guide, all the things you must backup are in C:Documents and SettingsUsername(s).

That's the Desktop subfolder and Program DataMozilla . For Outlook/Outlook Express I use Genie Outlook Backup, as a simple copy-paste of the folders used to corrupt my emails and contacts. I don't backup anything else. Maybe you use any other program that needs to backup some config, but then it is likely to be stored in C:Documents and SettingsUsernameProgram Dataprogram name, or in the program's folder inside C:Program Files.

 

Be aware to save anything in C:Documents and SettingsUsernameMy Documents in case you use that folder to store your things. I've found it easier to use D:Docs, but that's up to you.

 

 

INSTALLATION:

 

4. Windows Setup

 

First thing to do: Are you ABSOLUTELY sure you have done backup of EVERYTHING you want to? Really? Check again :D It is a PITA to find out too late you forgot something. It can be recovered with some applications like GetDataBack, but only if the sectors you want to recover are intact, without nothing new written on.

 

At this point, you can install you favorite Windows flavor. Remember to make partitions.

 

5. Driver and App installation

 

There are a ton of guides, even AG made a really good video, so I will skip this part. Only a recommendation. BEFORE installing the NIC drivers I always install Windows patches (SP2, blaster, Sasser, etc) and the Antivirus you use. Threads of interest:

 

Angry guide: http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1541 post #6

Angry videos: http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25029 http://www.dfi-street.com/forum/showthread...ghlight=WINDOWS

 

6. Copying Shortcuts and Final Config

 

Now you have all the drivers and appz installed, simply copy the content of you Shortcuts folder where you like to have them. I have some in my Quick Launch, and some in the Desktop. Remember, each time you install a program you know (or think) you don't need to reinstall again, copy a shortcut there. I also add two Toolbars to the Task Bar, pointing D:Programs and G:Games, but that is a personal preference.

 

With this method I've installed my comp fully operative in less than 25 minutes, with all the Windows Setup, Driver and App reboots. Even changing wallpaper, Windows Explorer config and setting the pagefile to 1.5Gb in my 2nd SATA drive for faster access times.

 

 

Again, feel free to comment, add or critic any part of this guide. I know this will be edited in the future, so I will post updates on the top. Of course everything here are recomendations, and things can be done in a multitude of different ways. Maybe yours is better, so please post them to include here (and in my routine :P). And thanks for reading :shake:

 

P.D. I posted this into Off-Topic because I didn't find a better place. Also I've searched for a simmilar guide here, with a lot of terms "os install, windows install guide, win setup howto"

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I would like to say that since we have such big hd's these days, i make my "c" partition 30 gigs for the os... as i like it to have plenty of breathing room.

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I really like this lil tutorial of yours musaat. Nice work

 

I added a link to it in Post #3 of the MBM thread. Thanks for the info.

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I do around the same, I have a seperate program files partition allways setup from whatever previous install :).

It saves time sure, but it saves my setup for certain programs, which are just right.

Others I have to go through and re-setup.

 

Many programs don't keep there config with there dir :(, instead they use the registry :.

I suppose you could get around this by making reg files, I have'nt done that yet.

 

Having reg files ready to go for the majority of the windows options and tweaks, well that is nice.

I would'nt live without those I think.

That takes care of alot of time.

 

Still takes me a good hour though to install 2k3.

I mean, it may take less then 20mins to install, but it takes me much longer to get everything setup.

 

 

I patch out ms networking and sharing after I un-install it.

I also patch out the ide driver after I install the nv sw ide.

I patch out all ide chipset drivers, all scsi.

I remove the ghost devices, etc etc.

Tons of stuff that takes some time, even if I got 98% of it in reg files, I still have to do certain things per boot like.

Networking stuff, tons of that, security stuff, both drives and windows :(I hate this part..., the drive part I got down so it does'nt take long).

 

This last install I did'nt do any security stuff at all lol...

Matter of fact, I think my drives are setup for administrors access, so I don't need to bother with them anymore.

But the system it's self, blah, I got a list of previous setups for all that, it's boring, I gotta type each one one by one in one of the admin consoles....

That and it del key alot...

 

Boring stuff, I hate intalling windows lol ^^.

I got 912 files just in my win2k3 sp1 tweak folder ^^, all that I made by hand...

(I had no idea I made so many, jeez...).

Well a few are backup files for files I plain out del out of windows from dos...

Not many of those though.

You can probably understand now why it takes so long, I have to take multible steps to get windows the way I like it.

Or don't understand lol :P:).

 

Still, defenlty reccomend that seperate program files partition and downloads.

You'll wonder what you ever did without a config like those, unless you're the type that gets confused by partitions :.

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off-topic:

 

@Neo: you are the biggest software/driver-tweaker geek I have ever seen. I am getting lost in all of your posts, hehe. I do admire though ;)

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I would like to say that since we have such big hd's these days, i make my "c" partition 30 gigs for the os... as i like it to have plenty of breathing room.

 

If you separate the Programs and Games into the 2nd partition, it is very unlikely you get short of space. At least I've never had problem and always end with 4-5Gb free.

 

Notice I only install in C: the OS (~2Gb with the patches?), Nero, Antivirus, Daemon Tools, Office (400-800Mb). Everything else goes to D: or other. Even the pagefile.

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Partitions is of great value. Since I've experienced by now several crasches of different Windows operating systems, I have found them perfect when it comes to saving time and not loosing data. Actually even if I have two partitions on the harddrive used for my OS, it's solely used for programs which can be installed fairly easy. Personal work and backups of files used by other programs, or installation packedges I save on another harddrive.

 

So it's less than 25 minutes that way to be up running after a crasch, but still I have to do those silly phonecalls to MS repeating senseless numbers and codes to get it registrated. Next time I probably just crack the damn thing, since I'm a legal user anyway.

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one thing that wasn't mentioned and kind of should have been, would be the windows activation files. These are the files that XP uses to "activate" on a fresh install. Activation requires contacting M$ so that they can mark off a used key to your computer and, in my case at least, I went through 4 keys because of various problems. So, notate the following... maybe even just back up the wpa files as a just in case measure. Also, be advised that the wpa file cannot be moved due to serial numbers, and etc stored in it that relate to a specific computer (motherboard, cpu, cdrom and MACs are all tracked).

 

Follow these steps.

 

Backup your activation files:

 

1. Open Windows explorer and navigate to C:WindowsSystem32

2. Copy the files Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak to another media floppy, CD-R or another hard drive (if you have more than one installed)

 

Now you can reformat your drive and reinstall Windows XP.

 

At the end of the installation, when Windows asks you to activate your product, decline and do not activate.

 

Restore your activation files

 

1. Restart your system, and as your system boots up press F8 to access the boot options (Windows Advanced Options)

2. From the menu options select to start Windows in safe mode (minimal)

3. After Windows loads in safe mode, open Windows explorer and navigate back to C:WindowsSystem32

4. If you find the files Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak in this folder, rename the files to something like Wpa.dbl.backup and Wps.bak.backup

5. Copy your original Wpa.dbl and Wpa.bak from the CD or floppy back to C:WindowsSystem32

6. Restart Windows

 

You should now have a clean and activated Windows XP

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Kilamon, I hope this will be added since it's a nice solution to an anoying feature of Windows. I will try this next time, if I'm not back into my Linux world.

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Guest Milkshake
one thing that wasn't mentioned and kind of should have been, would be the windows activation files. These are the files that XP uses to "activate" on a fresh install. Activation requires contacting M$ so that they can mark off a used key to your computer and, in my case at least, I went through 4 keys because of various problems. So, notate the following... maybe even just back up the wpa files as a just in case measure. Also, be advised that the wpa file cannot be moved due to serial numbers, and etc stored in it that relate to a specific computer (motherboard, cpu, cdrom and MACs are all tracked).

You don't need to call them to use your cd again, I've used the same cd through 5 systems I've had without calling them, and yes it did let me activate it. So you dont have to call them, I doubt they track any of your MACs because you can stick it on a new system with different hardware and it works.

 

I bought myself a new system and discarded my old, and with the new system I used my cd of windows xp which was previously on my old computer and it activated just fine.

 

Unless somehow the new cds that come with sp2 have that feature, but I doubt it. Its just I've never experienced the problem you are talking about on any previously used windows xp cd.

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