1. Before you buy check out the computer, I don't even buy computers with lots of junkware.
2. Examine the system after you buy it to see what tools you need, this is important because in some situations you want different things. Get the tools for the task.
3. I get not only the tools you list but, over time I have gathered all sorts of tools from Microsoft like Autoruns and Nirsoft as well as a plethora of bits and pieces like tools from Easeus and other companies. As an example some makers are using dynamic disks, which makes it hard to add a Linux partition so you need Easeus partitioning tools to convert to static disk structure.
4. Tool to the tasks, I will use a simple example. I know a bunch of people that "just hate, hate Vista and Windows 7." They don't like the way it looks, works, the login screen you name it. So I have gathered about twenty tools to get back the old alt tab functionality, the up button, rip out the bread crumb functionality, return the old start button menu etc.
5. Once I have organized my list of tasks and tools, I alway save and test the OEM disk image. I like parted for some instances, Acronis for others and disk image for some.
6. Then I go about using all the tools you list and more to rip out all the junkware, as well as all the funky "customizations" that the OEM or Microsoft have installed. I run a registry cleaner and use msconfig as well as ipconfig to see if there are any hidden issues. Norton is especially noted for this, I have downloaded their own ripper tool to make sure it is all gone. Then I test this configuration for any little surprises left behind.
7. Then I customize. In my case I do lots of stuff, so I repartition the machine so I can have several Linux and Microsoft operating systems and prepare the way for virtualizing if I need it. I use tools to repartition the disk, change the format, edit the bootstrap etc.
8. Then I add the software and customizations I want and test it all.
9. Then I save this image to DVD and test the image to make sure the media isn't hammered.
10. Last but not least re-image periodically to capture new changes I have incorporated.
I don't know how many times over the years, late at night, up against a deadline some problem like a virus etc. has hammered my system and these image disks have saved the day. Nuke the system, pave and re-image a process that takes an hour or so and I am back up and running. How sweet it is.
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