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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    How should a brand new pc be set up? (Backups, data dumps, recover disk, whatever)

    Before we start again with a brand new PC we would like to plan ahead this time.

    What are all the things that should be done to make it easier to use and maintain over its lifetime?

    We are thinking about imaging the factory drive before doing anything,
    creating a recovery disk and flash drive, etc.

    We want to set it up with ZERO passwords as they only cause us problems.
    But if we have to have any then we will write them down in a log book.

    What else should we do?

    Also planning on starting a logbook that documents everything we do that could have changed something. That would include all passwords for applications.

    If we can find a way we want to print out all settings and options for every program we install.
    Otherwise we will try to write them down as we do it in case we ever have to reinstall them.

    Win 8 does seem more like a tablet than a real PC so what else would make it better easier safer to use over its lifetime? Are there unique things for win 8 that require actions other than a real PC like xppro would use?

    We have win8 for dummies but have not found much about setting it up yet, other than how to put in a password. Maybe its hidden in the back of the book after it is too late to use that info?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Speedball,

    Plan ahead what a concept! It's sad that so few people do this.

    Setting up a PC is a highly personal thing, hence the Personal in Computer.

    For what it's worth here's how I would do it.

    We are thinking about imaging the factory drive before doing anything,
    creating a recovery disk and flash drive, etc.
    An Excellent idea I always do this.

    We want to set it up with ZERO passwords as they only cause us problems.
    But if we have to have any then we will write them down in a log book.
    Sorry but this is next to impossible with Windows 8.1 and IMHO not advisable anyway.
    I would however set it up with a Local account althought Microsoft will do everything in it's power to get you to use a Microsoft Account. I personally don't advise letting them get away with this. If you use a local account you can use the free Sysinternals program Autologon to get around it so you don't have to enter your password everytime you log on but have the password as another level of protection if someone tries to breakin remotely.

    As for the log book it's a good idea which, unfortunately, probablly won't be kept up. My advice is to use a password manager like RoboForm (my personal favorite) or KeePass, there are many alternatives. This way you can use complex hard to break passwords but you only have to remember one!

    If we can find a way we want to print out all settings and options for every program we install.
    Personally, I'd kill for this one but it doesn't exist. Your best protection for this problem is a regular schedule of Image Backups with a program like Macrium Reflect Free or EaseUS ToDo Backup Free.

    Win 8 does seem more like a tablet than a real PC so what else would make it better easier safer to use over its lifetime?
    My recommedation here is to purchase StartIsBack it's only $3.00 and will banish that Metro interface and get you to a IMHO real PC interface.

    The other thing I like to do is to move my Documents directory off of the C: drive. This does require either a 2nd drive or partitioning of a single drive into 2 logical drives. You can search the Lounge for many threads on this topic.

    I hope this helps and I'm sure you'll get a lot of other good advice here.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs

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  4. #3
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I always create a folder for everyone's documents, say C:\DOCS (you pick the name and the location). Everyone stores their documents there. This makes for very easy backup of all of the documents, and it also makes it very easy for anyone to access any document. If you don't mind everyone having access to everyone else's documents, then this is a good plan.

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    I don't think you can make a recovery disk for a Microsoft account. See this thread - http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...l=1#post938927.

    Joe

  6. #5
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    joe

    confusing me here

    i dont want anything to do with microsoft or their accounts

    i want to back up OUR PC SOFTWARE and any hardware settings needed to recover the previous state
    all stand alone , self contained, self sufficient, independent, and free of anything or anybody else.

    are you saying there is no way to back up my pc without involving microslop ?

  7. #6
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    I'd leave "My Documents" and all other "standard" stuff in the standard place. Your backup program knows where this is and will make a nice backup for you.
    I would also suggest an external hard disk (USB) to backup to and store in a secure location.

    cheers, Paul

  8. #7
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Backups come after you've set up your desktop, (Install the Classic Shell 4.0.4) to blow right past the Metro Screen to your desktop on bootup, as you'll probably do almost everything on the desktop anyway.

    So set up your desktop the way you want it and install all your Security (AV & AS) Software, Word Processor, and any other programs you can't do without. Set your screen resolution, themes, text size, etc.
    Then once you have it all the way you want it, make a backup to an external media, with one of the FREE backup programs *. Then if something goes haywire in the near future, you have a way to go back to day one.

    * I had the FREE copy of "Todo Backup" and it worked great, but....
    to do a restore, I had to buy the program.
    So be careful with the free programs... there's usually a reason why they are FREE! And, watch out for all the Spyware and Trojans that come with most of them.


    Make sure, that your backup program is on some bootable media, so if or when your hard drive crashes, you can still boot up your PC to restore your last backup to a NEW hard drive.


    Two 'MUST-HAVE' programs that I install as soon as I can after the Setup is done, are "Classic Shell" and "Grant Admin Full Control". You really NEED more control over your files and folder than what MS is willing to give you.

    I do a lot more, in the way of Tweaking and Tuning the OS for max efficiency, but that's too deep to get into here.

    Then, since you'll be making more changes and adding more programs in the next few days, make a plan to do another backup of your C: drive, at least once a week. Save multiple backups, just in case you might need them.

    If you're the only user, then skip the log-in passwords. If necessary, you can always add one later on.

    Cheers Mate and Good Luck!
    The Doctor

    PS: "The only bad backup is the one you decided you didn't need to make".
    Last edited by DrWho; 2014-02-06 at 13:03.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Backups come after you've set up your desktop, (Install the Classic Shell 4.0.4) to blow right past the Metro Screen to your desktop on bootup
    Windows 8.1 can be configured to boot to the desktop without a 3rd party add-on.


    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    as you'll probably do almost everything on the desktop anyway.
    That's quite an assumption. Maybe the OP will stay in Metro, who knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    So set up your desktop the way you want it and install all your Security (AV & AS) Software, Word Processor, and any other programs you can't do without. Set your screen resolution, themes, text size, etc.
    Then once you have it all the way you want it, make a backup to an external media,
    Good advice, agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    ]with one of the FREE backup programs
    In my opinion backup programs are worth paying for. If the data is worth backing up it is important and has value. Skimping to save a few for backups is a false economy in my opinion.



    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    And, watch out for all the Spyware and Trojans that come with most of them.
    Whoa there! That's a pretty big claim to make in a public forum. Care share your evidence with us?



    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho View Post
    Two 'MUST-HAVE' programs that I install as soon as I can after the Setup is done, are "Classic Shell" and "Grant Admin Full Control". You really NEED more control over your files and folder than what MS is willing to give you.
    Opinions will vary on the need for Classic Shell, but there is rarely a need for Grant Full Admin Control. The purpose of preventing access to certain files and locations is to prevent the kind of problems that might lead to needing a full image backup. If you don't tinker and mess about with things, the default permissions in the latest Windows Operating Systems are perfectly adequate for most users. There may be a desire to have full control by some people, yes, but I question the statement "really NEED" applying to most people if only because it's inherently dangerous to inexperienced users.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  10. #9
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    If you don't want to use Windows backup get something like Acronis True Image. When You get everything installed and tweaked make an Image. Then I would partition the disk with the system on one and saved data on the other. Then make an image of both.
    Joe

  11. #10
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    my bad experiences with a previous attempt on win7 setup
    and now trying to fix a broken 98se machine
    is that i need to back up the factory original before ANY changes are made
    then after i set it up my way , i would back it up again

    then after every major install do another backup/ restore point capability

    on the win98 se i am finding files i printed out that are invaluable to helpign fix the problems
    they are not on the emergency boot disk
    dont know what happened to the original backup disks
    i think it turned out the program i chose was totally bogus and useless
    so i trashed it and the orignal alleged backups

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe S View Post
    If you don't want to use Windows backup get something like Acronis True Image. When You get everything installed and tweaked make an Image. Then I would partition the disk with the system on one and saved data on the other. Then make an image of both.
    Joe

  12. #11
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    thanks

    i put all my stuff in one folder for backup

    this is more concerned with the pc itself so it can be restarted after a windows problem

    ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    I always create a folder for everyone's documents, say C:\DOCS (you pick the name and the location). Everyone stores their documents there. This makes for very easy backup of all of the documents, and it also makes it very easy for anyone to access any document. If you don't mind everyone having access to everyone else's documents, then this is a good plan.

  13. #12
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    thanks

    dont care about ms accounts

    only about the pc hardware

    assume i will be in the desert with no internet
    i want everyghing on cds or flashdrives so i can bring it back and make it work after windows messes up

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    I don't think you can make a recovery disk for a Microsoft account. See this thread - http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...l=1#post938927.

    Joe

  14. #13
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Imaging the factory default setup is always a good idea, especially if you rely on tech support and don't
    have a genuine OS disk to clean install with.
    I absolutely hate factory setups and will go out of my way to ensure that I have a genuine OS disk on hand
    to perform a clean install with. It's the only true clean setup in my opinion, and it has always proven to be worth the extra cost
    and effort.

    If your setup comes with a hidden partition with either an image based copy of the OS, or the actual OEM install,
    you may choose to make a bootable copy of it if possible. Many computer maker's will have these how-to's in their user based forums,
    or you can search on the internet on how to accomplish this.


    Also..
    1 Your imaging software should be 3rd party, not Windows based.
    Windows based imaging and backup applications represent a basic simple/beginner level backup regimen and is far from being rock solid reliable.
    Not to mention very limited in options. Find a reliable app and stick with it, spend the effort of making a restore disk and TEST IT.

    1.5 Get to know your computer's hardware, especially the options in BIOS, or more likely, the UEFI setup and how it relates
    to Windows 8.
    Learn what keystrokes gets you into this and what your booting options are. Learn how to temporarily disable fast startup
    so that you can actually use restore disks and do advanced bootable tools and diagnostics effectively.

    2 Windows Update should be very first on your run list. WUs are far less troublesome when they
    are installed BEFORE your other software. This goes for drivers too.
    Update the OS, then the drivers, then lastly, install all the 3rd party applications.
    You won't be able to do this all the time, especially with a well established system, but it's just something to keep in mind.

    3 Buy an external drive exclusively for image storage and nothing else. Keep it UNPLUGGED from the
    system when specifically not in use.
    You'll want to avoid any potential entanglements of having a drive always plugged into the system with
    non image based data mixed in with images. Keep it organized and keep it simple.

    4 Once you get the system setup to your liking you should image it again.
    Actually, you should image it prior to installing the bulk of your applications, then afterward too.
    What I like to do is have an image of a clean foundation for only updating drivers and Windows Updates.
    This way if I have a serious issue later on with a driver or WU compatibilities, I can update the image
    with WUs and Drivers only, then reinstall all the complex software that is more prone to mal-interaction.
    Make certain you have copies of all your personal apps and store and organize them the same as for drivers. (#6)

    5 Take special care of those disks and other documentation that come with that new computer.
    Quite often people will loose these things and come to regret it only later.

    6 Take the time to go to the maker's website and locate and download driver updates.
    Driver updates should be stored on another drive independent of the primary, and they should be stored in organized
    folders with proper version based naming schemes.
    This does not mean you have to actually install them, but you should have easy access to them and know exactly
    where to get them should the need arise.

    7 Buy or make certain your computer comes with extra internal drives for storage.
    With extra internal drives you can elect to move many folders from the OS to other locations.
    You can get as simple or as complex with this as you like, just see bbearren's
    site for some great advanced user info on this.
    The point of keeping personally generated data off the main drive is to take better advantage of image based
    backups and restore an OS in a timely manor.


    The OS is a means to an end, not the end in itself, only noobs see it the other way around.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2014-03-01 at 09:25.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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