Things to Do Before You Reinstall Windows
If you are on a Windows PC you know that every once in a while you need to reinstall windows. Depending on your pattern of usage, the time may vary from a couple of months to a few years. However, you cannot delay it forever. After using a single installation for a year or so, you will find the need to reinstall windows.
There are many things we need to keep in mind before and after installing windows. However, some of these will only occur to us after the process is complete and the data has been lost. So here is a list of 10 things you should keep in mind before doing a clean install of windows:
- Any files or folders stored on the desktop – the first thing you should do is to check if there are useful files or folders on the desktop. You should move them to another drive so that they don’t get deleted during the format process.
It is generally not advisable to store files on the desktop, but all of us are in the habit of doing it. If you want to avoid this hassle of moving files and folders before formatting, use DropIt to keep your desktop clutter free.
- Documents – If your documents folder is located in the same drive as your windows, chances are you will have a lots of files stored there. Do not in any way forget to backup these files. Same goes for the Downloads folder.
- Libraries – if you have added a lot of folders to your libraries and/or created custom libraries, make sure you make a list of all the folders included therein. If you don’t do this, it may take quite some time to get everything back as it was.
- Software currently installed on PC & their license keys – Make
a list of all the software you currently have installed on your PC. A list will allow you to install all the software at one go. Otherwise you will keep forgetting and will only remember certain programs when you need it.
If you have a bunch of software installed, making a list manually may take time. I suggest using IObit Unistaller to export a list.
Also, backup all the license keys or make sure you have all of them noted down at one place. You can use an application like license crawler to make a list of license keys. However, it may not always list all your applications. For instance, on my PC it missed Bitdefendor Internet security. So do a manual scan too.
- Setup files – check if you have the setup files for all software readily available, especially the most essential ones. After installing windows, you don’t want to go hunting setup files or download all of them afresh. It would make it much easier if you had all of them organised at one location.
- Save games – if you use your PC for gaming, you might have one or more games under progress. If you do not take a backup of these, you will lose the progress and will have to start the game from the beginning once again. So make sure you backup the profile folder or the save games directory. If you are unable to locate the required files or folders yourself, lookup the internet, you will definitely find help.
- Drivers – Make sure you have the updated drivers for your motherboard, graphics card and any other device that you may have. The last thing you want is to go looking for the driver DVD after installing windows.
That’s it. Now you are almost prepared to reinstall windows. I say almost because there might always be other things you have to do depending on your PC’s usage patterns. For instance, I always take a backup of MediaMonkey library before doing a clean install. So, take a look for such things before you proceed.
Once you are done installing Windows, things are much safer and you can proceed at your leisure. However, it makes sense to do everything you need to do at one go so that you can start using your PC normally when you use it next.
- Install drivers – First of all, install the important drivers for your PC. You might need to install the audio driver, graphics driver etc. If you have external devices like printer, scanner etc. install the drivers for those too.
- Change the location of Documents folder – Next you should change the location of your Documents folder. In Windows XP this was done from the properties of My Documents folder. In Windows 7 you can simply include a folder in the Documents library and set it as the Save Location.
- Update location of Libraries – If you made a list of folders and libraries earlier, it is now time to restore them. Update all libraries to include the folders of your choice.
- Install anti-virus software – At this stage, you it is essential that you install an anti-virus software. You have just done a clean install and you are sure that your PC is clean from malware. Protect it before it gets infected.
- Install rest of your software and games – Now install all your software and games.
If you need to install many software after doing a clean install, then it will become boring after some time to run one setup file after another. Ninite.com can help you in this by making a consolidated installer for many popular software.
To create a consolidated installer, visit http://ninite.com and select all the applications you use. Then at the bottom of the page, click on the Get Installer button. It will download a small consolidated installer. Keep in mind though that the actual setup files will be downloaded during the installation. So if you choose many applications, the installation may take a long time depending on your internet connection speed.
I hope this will help people in keeping the reinstallation smooth. Do tell if I have missed something. If you like this post, share it with your friends on Facebook.