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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Fresh Install with SSD

    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?
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    No need to "deactivate" your current Windows 7

    There isn't another method by which I would remove the OS, without reformatting the drive, correct?
    Formating it would be best otherwise your down to manually deleting stuff. You would likely have to set explorer to "unhide" hidden files and folders.

    Clean Install
    Download Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 prior to the clean install.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    You didn't mention the size of the SSD.

    There are a number of variables, but if you could reduce the partition size of your existing Windows 7 installation to match the size of your SSD (offload data to an external drive, etc.) you could simply make a drive image of the existing, resized Windows 7 partition and restore that image to your SSD.

    That is the basic method I use whenever I upgrade an OS hard drive or a data drive. (I like to replace older drives before they fail.)
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    If you use bbearren's advice above you probably won't need to re-activate Windows.

    In any case, if you find that you need to (re-)activate Windows, hold on for a few days (you have 30 days grace) until you are happy with your installation. If you install/activate/re-install/activate etc you run the risk of the MS servers detecting multiple installs at which point you would need to call MS to be activated.

  6. #5
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the great replies! The link you provided for a fresh install was very informative, thank you Clint! I agree with you: formatting would be the easier route for the slower drive.

    That's a fair point to make, bbearren, and right now the drive size should be about 120GB. I like that idea of imaging my existing installation of Windows, and swapping that over to the new drive, but there are two points I wanted to make about this suggestion:

    1.) I'd prefer that the installation was fresh, simply because I've been planning on reinstalling Windows anyway, so why not on a newer drive? Besides, I'm not sure if implementing a current install of Windows will allow the OS to properly set up the necessary configuration for a SSD, as opposed to a fresh install, when Windows can detect the drive it is being installed on.

    2.) Wouldn't Microsoft detect multiple installs, because I'd have the exact same Windows on two drives? Well I guess not, if I'm planning on wiping the second drive and using it for archival storage.

    So basically I should wait 30 days, and then activate, Browni? I think I might simply install Win 7 on the new drive, wipe the second drive, and THEN activate my primary drive. In this way, there would only be one activated version between my two drives at any given time, thus preventing the activation process from going haywire.

    Just a final question I had: is there a way to backup updates? Or should I simply follow Clint's advice, and download SP1, install that on the new drive, and then get other updates?
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  7. #6
    New Lounger
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    I think Browni meant that you have up to 30 days, so no, you only want to take sufficient time to be confidant in your new install and the reliability of the SSD. The phone call to MS is not so horrible, either, as I had to do it when my daughter's laptop had to be replaced. We installed with Win7 that was recently purchased for it, but since that copy was not going to be used on the dead laptop, MS activated on the new laptop with nary an argument.

  8. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I've had to call MS a couple of times when I had to reinstall apps (Office in my case) They were very accommodating with my request. Took less than 10 minutes. MS service support personnel are not monsters and generally are pleased to help their customers for these type requests.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  9. #8
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Just a final question I had: is there a way to backup updates? Or should I simply follow Clint's advice, and download SP1, install that on the new drive, and then get other updates?
    The best & least problematic time to install SP-1 is just after a planned clean install. Tweakhound has the goods on the install order in his Windows 7 clean install article.
    After SP-1 is installed there will not be too many stragglers left to download from WU and with cable or DSL internet it won't be an issue anyway.

    Plan your clean install and download everything that you will need beforehand as Tweakhound advises. This includes updated driver versions for all of the hardware on your system & updated software versions of common apps like CCleaner, Foxit reader, etc. Since SP-1 is still relatively new, you will not need to connect to the internet immediately to use WU if you have planned you clean install right.

    Good Luck with it.
    C

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  11. #9
    2 Star Lounger Diogones's Avatar
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    All right, great to see some more helpful posts! Well, that is a relief that Windows Activation Support isn't nasty or terribly difficult. In that case, if worst comes to worst, I can just call them and get it over with. Ok, I get what you are saying Clint: just install SP 1 after the Windows install, and then get other updates. Since I'm going to be switching my motherboard settings to AHCI, should I also flash my BIOS to a newer version as well, while I"m at it? I'm busy downloading all my other device drivers at the moment, but I think I might avoid the motherboard settings, just because I don't want to negatively impact the system's performance. Thanks all for the help, and I'll keep posting about any issues I encounter.
    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." - Issac Asimov, from his novel "Foundation"

  12. #10
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    Never mind. I see the point I was trying to make was already raised.
    Last edited by rayt435; 2011-07-07 at 09:03.

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