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Windows 7: Data protection, clean reinstall & other ???s

25 Mar 2010   #1

Windows 7 home
 
 
Data protection, clean reinstall & other ???s

Recently I ordered a Dell inspirion 15 laptop for college and am waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime I have a few dillemas and questions for the community to answer.*

Knowing the laptop is gonna be full of crap Id like to do a clean reinstall along with wiping the hard drive clean. Is there a guide around or can somebody explain it to me?*

I have a tendency to install any program that looks interesting so slot of times I end up with viruses and spam. *The computers at my college wipe everything on start up so they don't get any spam. Is this possible to do on a personal level? Or is there another way to protect the core applications and system but still allow me to tinker without completely screwing myself over?*

What have you found is the best way to test applications but not use the main hard drive?*

Well the laptop is supposed to be here by 4/7 so I'd like to get this stuff figured out by then. Oh and did u mention I'm a broke college student so free is better.
*

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Mar 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
Recently I ordered a Dell inspirion 15 laptop for college and am waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime I have a few dillemas and questions for the community to answer.*

Knowing the laptop is gonna be full of crap Id like to do a clean reinstall along with wiping the hard drive clean. Is there a guide around or can somebody explain it to me?*
Reinstalling is simple. Put the DVD into the drive, and then boot into CD. (If this is not default, boot into BIOS by hitting either esc, del, or an Fkey. This should be shown on the boot screen). Then follow the instructions on screen.
You will need to make sure you have your Windows 7 activation key BEFORE you reinstall, otherwise you will have to try to get your key back, or buy a new one.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
I have a tendency to install any program that looks interesting so slot of times I end up with viruses and spam. *The computers at my college wipe everything on start up so they don't get any spam. Is this possible to do on a personal level? Or is there another way to protect the core applications and system but still allow me to tinker without completely screwing myself over?*
My school uses a program called Deep Freeze, which is a corporate application, and I believe pricey.
Your best option would be to use a security suite, scan downloads, and make sure to keep yourself safe.
Also, as soon as you install Windows 7 the first time, and have all your applications and settings how you like, create a disk image (or several) so that if you ever need to reinstall, you can skip reinstalling everything. Acronis can do this.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
What have you found is the best way to test applications but not use the main hard drive?*
You can use a Virtual Machine. My personal choice would be Virtual Box.
You also have the option of creating a separate partition to install things to, but that still requires installation to your HDD and OS.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
Well the laptop is supposed to be here by 4/7 so I'd like to get this stuff figured out by then. Oh and did u mention I'm a broke college student so free is better.
*
Virtual Box is free, and I believe Acronis is $50.
There are free disk image programs (or use Windows Built in if it is enabled).

~Lordbob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2010   #3

Windows 7 home
 
 

Thanks for replying lordbob. My main concern is that if I leave my computers security to a virus scanner I'll definitely get one. Do you know of an alternative to deep freeze?

Regaurding the virtual box: What exactly does it do? Is it possible to still gain virus's from testing an application in such an enviroment?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Mar 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
Thanks for replying lordbob. My main concern is that if I leave my computers security to a virus scanner I'll definitely get one. Do you know of an alternative to deep freeze?
As long as you are careful in your downloads, and don't go to "bad" sites, you should be OK.
If you are still nervous, Acronis Trueimage will periodically create a new full image.
I do not know of a personal Deep Freeze program.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by se7ensins View Post
Regaurding the virtual box: What exactly does it do? Is it possible to still gain virus's from testing an application in such an enviroment?
No, as long as you do not take any data from the virtual machine after it is infected.
A virtual machine is basically running a computer inside a computer.

~Lordbob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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