I'm going to be buying a SSD in order to replace my 500GB HDD as my boot/system drive. While I do have a restore disc that I created when I first got my system, I think that rather than installing the disk image onto the SSD, I should just perform a clean install of Windows 7, in order for it to align the drive properly, turn off defrag, etc. I think that I have everything I need, but just to be sure, I'm going to run through the re-installation steps"
1.) Backup up everything, including browser bookmarks, user files, program folders, anything on the desktop, and so forth. A quick question I had about this step was, is there a way I can backup my Windows updates? I know I could conceivably create a slipstream disc of Windows 7, and then use that to perform the installation, but I just wasn't sure if it was more convenient, or easier to simply install updates with a regular install.
2.) Install SSD and configure BIOS for AHCI.
3.) Install Windows 7, and activate it. I'm not sure if I it is necessary immediately after I install, but I thought that the sooner I got it out of the way, the better. Since the topic of Windows activation is always mind-bending (at least for me, anyway) I wanted to ask if I should de-activate my current Windows 7 installation, before I move onto a new install? I don't want to perform a fresh install and have Microsoft invalidate my valid, store bought key.
4.) Get online and install anti-virus and anti-malware software, unless you have a version saved on a backup that you can install. Get all programs updated, if necessary, and set their configurations.
5.) Launch Windows Update and install all Windows updates, starting with SP 1, unless of course I really can backup my updates, and then restore those onto the system.
6.) Install all of the latest drivers for my machine from their respective manufacturer's websites. I mostly ignore the driver updates provided by Windows Update, unless the new version number corresponds with the official website release for the driver in question. Here's a step a lot of people (including myself) often overlook: if you are using a WiFi connection, don't forget to backup the wireless card/USB adapter driver, so that after Windows is installed, you can install the driver from the backup, and get onto the 'net straightaway.
7.) Finally implement all data that was backed up before installation, starting with user files and ending with program files. I did have another question about this step. Since I'm essentially migrating my Windows install from my 500GB drive to the SSD, should I simply leave most of my data on the 500GB, and simply have Windows point my libraries toward the backup, archive drive? If so, how would I do that? Or should I leave my user files on the SSD?
8.) Once everything has been verified to be working properly, install all programs and any games. This can be a tricky part, because if you have commercial applications, you have to remember to deactivate them from your earlier version of Windows, because the programs will consider the fresh Windows to be a new computer. Thankfully, all I have is Rosetta Stone, and I've already deactivated it.
I think that should be everything concerning a fresh installation; but please correct me if I'm wrong about a certain point or if I've missed something! I also do have two extra questions: First, is there anything else that I should be aware of when installing Windows 7 on a SSD? Are there any other settings or changes from within the OS that I should change so as to preserve the SSD for as long as possible? Second, I wanted to ask about my second 500GB drive. To conserve space, I want to remove my old installation of Windows 7 on it, once I'm sure I haven't forgotten anything and that the installation was a success. Once I do that, I want to remove my data on there, wipe the drive, and then reinstate my data back onto it. I think this is the only way I could ever completely remove the Windows 7 installation, because even if I manually removed the files, I still think there would be a few floating around on the drive, not to mention the registry! There isn't another method by which I would remove the OS, without reformatting the drive, correct?