Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Recommend Your Pre and Post Windows 7 Clean Installation Strategies

07 Aug 2019   #1
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 
Recommend Your Pre and Post Windows 7 Clean Installation Strategies

If you are going to perform a "Clean" Windows 7 OS Installation, what are considered "Best Practices" for both pre-planning and post OS Installation?

Some of the topics I was hoping you could share would be some of the following:

1) Before the Operating System Installation, what preparation do you do (gather Application disc/Files, save your drivers somehow, download/gather other programs/utilities you will use for various purposes along the way, etc.)?

2) In WHAT ORDER do you do Install things (such as Cloning/Disc Imaging Software, Windows Updates, Antivirus, Application Programs, Drivers, peripheral software/drivers, go onto the Internet safely for the first time, ........etc.)?

3) What Utilities or Programs do you use to assist in the pre and post installation process?

4) At what "stages" of the installation steps do you create System Image Backups?

5) For those who are avoiding Windows 7 Telemetry Updates, how are you doing this? What Database are you using to identify all Telemetry Updates?

If you have any links that do a great job of covering this topic, please post them.

In general, I am trying see what steps and methods you take to get your perfect Installation.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
07 Aug 2019   #2
Paul Black

Win 7 HP SP1 64-bit Vista HB SP2 32-bit Linux Mint 18.3
 
 

Hi GuitarRock,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
If you are going to perform a "Clean" Windows 7 OS Installation, what are considered "Best Practices" for both pre-planning and post OS Installation?

Some of the topics I was hoping you could share would be some of the following:

1) Before the Operating System Installation, what preparation do you do (gather Application disc/Files, save your drivers somehow, download/gather other programs/utilities you will use for various purposes along the way, etc.)?
[01] Make sure that you have the correct Win 7 ISO or USB for installation.
[02] Make sure that you have a valid Product Key for the above.
[03] Make sure that you have any Product Keys / Serial Numbers for any purchased software.
[04] Backup ALL your data prior to installation.
[05] Make a System Image of the complete OLD OS in case things go seriously wrong.
[06] Collate as many of the drivers needed as possible. You can do this from the manufacturers website or by using DISM++ to extract the currently installed drivers.
[07] Download any software that you are going to be using like AOMEI Backupper Standard for system imaging for example, AV, DISM++, SIMPLIX etc etc etc].

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
2) In WHAT ORDER do you do Install things (such as Cloning/Disc Imaging Software, Windows Updates, Antivirus, Application Programs, Drivers, peripheral software/drivers, go onto the Internet safely for the first time, ........etc.)?
Once the above has been completed and you are happy that nothing is going to be deleted [because a format deletes EVERYTHING and makes it irretrievable] that you will need . . .

[08] Install Win 7.
[09] During installation, delete all the partitions you no longer need and create a new one[s] etc.
[10] Once the installation is complete and before you go on the Internet, make a System Image of the basic installation.
[11] Install any drivers that you need.
[12] Rather than using WU use either DISM++ or SIMPLIX [preferred] to update the OS. SIMPLIX doesn't include any Telemetry etc.
[13] Make a System Image of the basic installation + drivers + WU's.
[14] Install any software that you are going to use.
[15] Make a System Image of the basic installation + drivers + WU's + software.

This way, you have three stages of installation [+ the OLD complete installation] that you can fall back on if needed!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
3) What Utilities or Programs do you use to assist in the pre and post installation process?

4) At what "stages" of the installation steps do you create System Image Backups?

5) For those who are avoiding Windows 7 Telemetry Updates, how are you doing this? What Database are you using to identify all Telemetry Updates?

If you have any links that do a great job of covering this topic, please post them.

In general, I am trying see what steps and methods you take to get your perfect Installation.
See above!

There are many different ways in which people prepare for and execute a clean install. A lot depends on the individual and what they are and are not going to incorporate into their install. I am sure that you are going to get quite a response to your question!

I hope this helps for starters!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2019   #3
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10 multiboot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
1) Before the Operating System Installation, what preparation do you do (gather Application disc/Files, save your drivers somehow, download/gather other programs/utilities you will use for various purposes along the way, etc.)?
If clean installing over an existing installation of the same OS, I save existing drivers* with Double Driver before nuking the existing installation. Also make sure you have or extract any installation or product keys for apps you want to reinstall.

In addition, if OEM drivers are readily available (e.g., from Dell or HP) I'll download drivers I think I'll need. I do this before losing the existing installation because I may need to refer to Device Manager to figure out exactly which hardware I have. (For example, even on a single model, Dell may use an assortment of different brands of modems or wifi adapters, so there may be multiple choices on the Dell drivers page.)

When reinstalling I typically try the OEM drivers first, then use the Double Driver backup to remedy any "unknown hardware" alerts remaining in Device Manager.

I also take a screenshot of the Start Menu before nuking so I can remind myself what programs were previously installed. I may not reinstall them all, but I like to be able to review what had been there.


Quote:
2) In WHAT ORDER do you do Install things (such as Cloning/Disc Imaging Software, Windows Updates, Antivirus, Application Programs, Drivers, peripheral software/drivers?
Install Windows, make interim image. Drivers next, another image. Win updates**, another image. Application programs, and final "pristine" image. If everything is working well at this stage, I delete the three interim images. I make the interim images so I can easily roll back in case I mess up. For instance, I may install the wrong drivers or may inadvertently succumb to bundleware secreted in with driver installers, and rather than try to clean up the mess I just revert to the interim image and try again. (Wifi drivers are notorious for this behavior, installing monitors and proprietary configuration or auto-updating utilities.)

I prepare bootable cloning/imaging boot media (such as a Macrium Rescue disc or USB stick) before nuking the old installation, and use this to make the interim images because the Macrium app is not yet reinstalled at those stages.

I never include AV in my pristine image. AV programs change so much and have such a drastic impact on the functioning of Windows that I prefer they not be committed to my pristine image. After restoring from a pristine image in the future, I may find I later prefer a different AV program. Rather than trying to untangle an embedded AV to change to something else, I restore my pristine image and then install whatever AV I'm favoring at that time.

Going forward from the initial clean install, I follow my "rolling clean install" strategy, as I've detailed here. That virtually guarantees this will be the last time I ever have to start completely over from scratch on this particular computer.




Footnotes:
* only need to backup non-Windows drivers. Windows drivers will be reinstalled by Windows. It's the non-Windows drivers you want to have a copy of.


** Paul and SIW2 like DISM++, while I prefer WSUS Offline Update. Either is good, it's just a matter of preference. The important thing is DO NOT USE WINDOWS UPDATE! Windows Update only works with Monthly Rollups, which will give you the whole bundle of optional/garbage updates and telemetry you may not want. Keep your clean image to the minimum (Security Only). You can always go from security-only to full-rollup later if you choose, but it's not easy to go the other way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

07 Aug 2019   #4
Paul Black

Win 7 HP SP1 64-bit Vista HB SP2 32-bit Linux Mint 18.3
 
 

Hi GuitarRock,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
The important thing is DO NOT USE WINDOWS UPDATE! Windows Update only works with Monthly Rollups, which will give you the whole bundle of optional/garbage updates and telemetry you may not want. Keep your clean image to the minimum (Security Only).
I wholeheartedly agree with dg1261!

If you go down this route then you will need to download ALL the Security-Only updates FIRST to a folder. Then you could write a batch script that uses DISM++ to install them automatically on the LIVE OS in the correct order [I have done this before!]. There are quite a few Security-Only updates to be downloaded now => Security-Only-Updates.

DISM++ - Product [Activation] Key & 3rd Party Drivers

As for obtaining your Product [Activation] Key and drivers, look at these two links by SIW2 =>

Backup => current activation key and 3rd party drivers using DISM++.
Restore => current activation key and 3rd party drivers using DISM++.

DISM++ - Exporting Drivers Procedure

Here is the sequence [screenshots] for exporting the drivers [including third-party drivers] from your current OS installation [this way, they will be in the correct folder structure] ready to integrate the ones that you want into the .wim [mount the .wim, add the drivers, save and un-mount] using DISM++ provided by SIW2 =>

[1] Using DISM++ to export drivers [including third-party drivers] from your current OS installation 1
[2] Using DISM++ to export drivers [including third-party drivers] from your current OS installation 2.

I hope this helps!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2019   #5
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

I reinstalled win7 yesterday.


I had already updated the installation media using simplix, so no telemetry. It also includes the "universal" usb3/3.1 drivers.
The process will take around an hour on a modest desktop, longer on a laptop, and it saves a lot of time later.


Update your Win 7 installation media.


You can back up activation and drivers beforehand, using dism++


also wise to make an image and/or copy the entire user folder to another drive. Stuff can be fished out later, if needed.
You might find that some of your programs settings can be restored, e.g. Thunderbird profiles folder can be copied from
"\Users\your_use_name\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird". Some programs keep the licensing info in AppData as well, eg. Winiso.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Days Ago   #6
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Thanks to Paul Black, dg1261, and SIW2 for their great advice.

Your computer knowledge is soooooo far above me and I am appreciative that I have such knowledgeable resources available to me.

……..Because of this knowledge gap, my biggest challenge is trying to understand and follow your outstanding advice without totally embarrassing myself.



dg1261:

I like your idea and rationale of keeping an Image Back-up(s) before installing the Anti-Virus software. That makes a lot of sense.


Regarding the WSUS Offline Update web page you linked, Could you elaborate more on how to effectively use it.

For example, some things I am wondering about and hoping you could comment on:
1) How do we know WSUS Offline Update is safe?

2) Can you give guidance as to what “OPTIONS” I should put “check marks” next to in the WSUS Generator screen?
Recommend Your Pre and Post Windows 7 Clean Installation Strategies-wsusoffline_generator.png
http://www.wsusoffline.net/docs/wsus..._generator.png

3) What “OPTIONS” should I put “check marks” next to in the WSUS Installer screen?
Recommend Your Pre and Post Windows 7 Clean Installation Strategies-wsusoffline_installer.png
http://www.wsusoffline.net/docs/wsus..._installer.png

4) How do I make sure I download and Install only the “Security Updates?

5) How do I make sure I do not install Telemetry updates?

6) What “data base source” or “reference list” are you using to determine which updates are Telemetry and therefore not to be installed?

7) Could you provide some of the reasons why you prefer WSUS over DISM++ and SIMPLEX (which, by the way, I don't know anything about either)?

Any further details or clarification is appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Days Ago   #7
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

As far as I know, you can't avoid telemetry using wsus.


There is more flexibility using dism++ which will warn you so you can skip them.

Or simplix, which is probably the best way. You just need to run it, it does everything else automatically. It will reboot a couple of times and clean up afterwards.
https://update7.simplix.info/UpdatePack7R2.exe
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
3 Days Ago   #8
GuitarRock

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
As far as I know, you can't avoid telemetry using wsus.


There is more flexibility using dism++ which will warn you so you can skip them.

Or simplix, which is probably the best way. You just need to run it, it does everything else automatically. It will reboot a couple of times and clean up afterwards.
https://update7.simplix.info/UpdatePack7R2.exe

SIW2 and Paul Black:

I know you guys have stated you like DISM++ and SIMPLEX. I have never heard of either of these programs before. Because you both have recommended them, they certainly must be pretty good. I am intrigued by them, but like any program, I want to be cautious about what I install on my computer.

1) Exactly what are these?

2) How are the two different?

3) Who wrote the software for each of them? What are their credentials?

4) How do we know these programs can be trusted and are safe?

5) Since you mention that dism++ gives warnings about Telemetry (not sure about whether SIMPLEX does), "someone" (or group of people) must be determining what Windows updates are Telemetry. Do we know who is deciding which updates are Telemetry so they can program that into the software?

Have they posted a List of the Updates they are labeling as Telemetry in their software?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
3 Days Ago   #9
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
4) How do we know these programs can be trusted and are safe?
Because we say so. We have been using them for years. They are well known among advanced users.

Dism++ downloads the microsoft database, scans your system and then lists applicable updates. If you tick any that contains telemetry, it pops up a message. Click OK and it will skip that one. There are several, and it changes depending on what updates are available.

Simplix does not offer any updates that are telemetry only. The updates it offers have had telemetry elements removed. There is a new version every month.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Days Ago   #10
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10 multiboot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by GuitarRock View Post
Regarding the WSUS Offline Update web page you linked, Could you elaborate more on how to effectively use it.
Perhaps this thread in another forum will give you a clearer understanding of how it works.

WSUS Offline Update is built around Microsoft's own Windows update utilities. The basic idea is that *all* critical/important patches are downloaded and cached locally, and then when UpdateInstaller is run on a particular computer it determines (via wsusscn2.cab) which patches are missing on that particular computer and installs them from the local cache.

This is a handy strategy for a tech who might want to patch an assortment of different computers. I find it much easier to carry around a USB stick rather than having to connect each computer to the internet and running Microsoft Update. A 64GB USB stick is probably large enough to hold all updates for Win 7/8/8.1/10 plus Office 2010/2013/2016.

WSUS Offline uses Microsoft's own wsusscn2.cab database of all Windows critical/important patches. Wsusscn2.cab makes no distinction if a patch includes telemetry -- if it's listed as critical/important and you don't exclude it, it will be installed by default, just as Windows Update would. You can tell it to exclude specific patches with a simple text file listing the KB numbers you want to avoid. But it won't tell you the contents of any patches or which contain telemetry, so you have to determine for yourself which KB numbers you want to skip by following relevant threads in this and similar forums, and adding those KB numbers to the exclude.txt file.

The screenshots you've posted are from an old version of WSUS Offline Update -- from before the advent of the Security-Only and Cumulative-Rollup bifurcation in Oct 2016. The new version has another option selector to choose Security-Only patches instead of Cumulative-Rollup.

The default options shown in your screenshots look fine (if you include the Security-Only option in the new version). Don't forget to tick the Windows and/or Office versions you want to download and cache. I also tick Windows Defender and MSE, though that may depend on your particular anti-malware/AV plans. I figure it doesn't hurt to have them in the local cache, and with UpdateInstaller you can choose whether or not to go ahead and install MSE. Given all the recent RDP controversy, it probably doesn't hurt to have UpdateInstaller patch Remote Desktop Client, too.

The installation process may need to reboot a few times, so the "Automatic reboot" option lets it do that unattended.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Recommend Your Pre and Post Windows 7 Clean Installation Strategies




Thread Tools




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Windows 7 clean installation question
Hi, I have 500 GB hard drive with 3 partitions. Windows 7 is installed on C: drive, 8.1 is installed on D: drive (dual boot) and all of my programs and files are on E: drive. I would like to uninstall Windows 8.1 and do a clean installation of Windows 7 without losing data from E: drive. Can I...
Installation & Setup
Windows 7 SP1 installation on clean SSD Problem.
I am trying to set up windows on a Crucial M500 250GB SSD. I have a ASRock P67Extreme6 which has Uefi. I boot from a USB drive containing windows 7 SP1(it should). When i try to install it gives me "Setup was unable to create a new system partition or locate an existing system partition" Im...
Installation & Setup
windows clean installation help
hello im new here ...firstly:confused: my laptop acer aspire 4752zg is around 2 years old... my first computer error was ofcourse caused by viruses.. but it was resolved (through reformat and install windows using RECOVERY CD)..but the fatal one was caused by a failed windows update ... this time...
General Discussion
Windows 7 Clean Installation from USB 3.0 fails
Hi folks, Got Windows 7 Clean Installation over the computer's USB 3.0 port done without too many problems but with some hassle anyhow. For the clean installation I followed the procedure of GreGrocker...
Installation & Setup
Could A Clean Installation of Windows 7 Reformat My Por
I am hoping very much that someone can help me out of a catastrophic situation that I find myself in after having done a clean installation of Windows 7. The situation is that I used my 500 GB Fugitsu HandyDrive to store the Windows Easy Transfer file and now neither of my two computers will...
Hardware & Devices


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 20:06.
Twitter Facebook