IT Dojo: Three critical things to do before reinstalling Windows

December 15, 2008, 11:41 PM PST | Length: 453


Whether you support your tech-novice family members or a corporate office, you will have to reinstall Microsoft Windows at some point. And, it's really irritating when you realize after the install that you should have exported the client's Favorites list or documented specific network settings. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler goes over the three things you need to do before reinstalling Windows to make the process go smoothly. Once you’ve watched this IT Dojo video, you can find a link to the original TechRepublic article and print the tip from our IT Dojo Blog.

10 comments
jim
jim

Do not forget the PST File for MS OUTLOOK. Very very important!

MaxDerhund
MaxDerhund

Great video. I wanted to share this on my own web site with the supplied embed code, but when I did the player appeared but was empty. If anyone else has had the same problem, here is how I fixed it: In the embed code replaced... =0xCF0000?msURI=htt with =0xCF0000¶msURI=htt ...and it worked fine.

melekali
melekali

You really should introduce the system state migration tool. This does the user data/profile backup for you, eliminating all that extra, manual labor. In our corporate environment, we have an image based on an Active Directory group. This has been customized to copy the user data, settings, etc to a hidden directory on the drive, then completely wipe and image the drive with all the commonly used software and restore the profile(s). This way you do all the work upfront as the technician. All you then have to do is ensure the user has all his or her data backed up that they put in places other than the standard My Documents or other profile-based locations, such as the root.

M.R.
M.R.

I didn't watch the video but flipping through the transcript I didn't see any mention of checking your hardware config before reloading. Many venders allow you to look up system configs based upon serial number but to be certain you should verify what video card/network/etc drivers are installed. Finding the keys for reinstall is very important especially with preinstalled systems. If you can't find the DOCs in you basement use Belarc or something similar to pull up your license keys. I backup to DVD. Most systems don't need more than a couple once you exclude service pack and other generic OS files. An external burner is cheap if you are doing this on a regular basis.

knudson
knudson

While you are backing up, check that you have the latest drivers for ALL hardware, make sure you have the MB CD too. I usually have a folder on one of the HDs "DRIVERS", copy it separately to the backup drive !!!

keith.pinster
keith.pinster

One suggestion I'd like to make if you are installing an older version of Windows (such as XP or 2000), is to download the latest service pack and put it on some external media. It is usually MUCH faster to install this right after the Windows install than to have Windows Update go through several patches that are included in the latest service pack and then finally getting to that service pack. It's usually faster to download the sp as an installable than going through Windows Update as well, so you can save yourself a lot of time by downloading this large file ahead of time.

DalesPC
DalesPC

Not only saves time but disk space too. One of the things I do If I unable to download the service pack prior to reinstallation, is disable automatic updates until I get the service pack(s) downloaded and updated. Then enable automatic updates. This skips all of the patches prior to the service packs. It

Nori Sarel
Nori Sarel

Just slipstream the latest SP onto the existing disc. Its rather simple and will save you a lot of time. Also driverpacks.net will help you a lot in a XP environment because you can forget about finding a lot of the drivers as it'll have most of what you need. Very nice tool!

roblesj
roblesj

I couldn't see the video. It wouldn't come up. Just the heading. Everytime I clicked it the heading was all I got.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Nice article about prepping before reinstalling/reimaging. Thanks, Bill. Although slightly more involved, I prefer to keep a spare drive to swap with the one that has a corrupt image. (Ideally, one 3.5" IDE, one 3.5" SATA, one 2.5" IDE, and one 2.5" SATA - with the low cost of drives, it only costs $250 to keep all four on stock). I image the new drive, then connect the old drive using an IDE/SATA to USB adapter, which only costs $30. Now I can copy the user's data over to the new hard drive. I tell the user that I'll keep their original hard drive for a specified amount of time, usually two weeks. If they haven't asked for something in that amount of time, then it's USUALLY safe to use the drive for the next reimaging project. I always confirm with the user that nothing was overlooked before reimaging their original drive.