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Windows 7: How do you keep your system running at it's best?

04 Apr 2011   #11
Microsoft MVP


Get a perfect reinstall one last time, then save a Win7 backup image after setup so you never have to reinstall again - just reimage the HD in 20 minutes from stored image using the DVD or Repair CD.

Reinstalling Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2011   #12
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64


To add to WHS' advice : an external USB drive is an absolute must for your images/backups.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2011   #13
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

On one laptop that we sometimes haul around and that is the last without an SSD I made a seperate 50GB imaging partition that can hold 4 images and I rotate images thru there. That will not help when the HDD crashes, but it is convenient when you are far from home and the system goes on the blink. There is also a seperate data partition so the system images are only around 11GBs.

With the SSD laptops that does, of course, not work. There I do not have 500GBs of disk space. But for laptops with reasonable size HDDs (250GB or larger) that is an alternative to protect yourself against malware and OS failures.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Apr 2011   #14
Seventy Nine

Windows 7 x64

I thoroughly agree with those recommending you get rid of the registry cleaners. I got myself into plenty of trouble by "cleaning" the registry with CCleaner so now I just use IObit uninstaller (freeware) to clean up when uninstalling programs and leave the rest to Windows.

I'd also be wary of Defraggler. I can't be sure, but I think it may have messed up my system restore files once way back when. Ever since then I've used Auslogics Disk Defrag (freeware) and found it does a perfectly adequate job in a fraction of the time. OK so it may not be optimising the file placement but I never noticed any performance kick from that level of defragmentation anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #15

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox

Thanks everyone for the replies :)!

So basically what you're all saying is I should do one last re-install....then immediately after make an image? I think I can do that.....all my files etc. are on my data partition, so I don't need to worry about those.....all I need to worry about is my programs, which I can handle, lol. My OS partition is about 20GB.....I could easily make an image of that and store it on my other data partition. My total hard drive space is 250GB.

A quick question about Windows licenses.....from my understanding....each Windows 7 license key has a unique activation on each computer that allows you to re-install an unlimited amount of times on that specific machine? Just curious, want to make sure I don't have to obtain another license key from my subscription.....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #16
Microsoft MVP


A reinstall should cause no problems with reactivation. Just reinsert the key during install.

If you're wiping the HD first, you'll need to wait to activate with an Upgrade version key until after install, then do the quick registry workaround given here: Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version - Windows 7 Forums

I would back up your files and image externally so they will not be lost in case of HD failure, but you can quickly reimage the replacement HD and have your current data backup. You can even link your User folders to another HD so that they are not part of the image which keeps it leaner, and your files always current in their own partition "vault." User Folders - Change Default Location - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #17
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

McDougal, just a little word of caution. Before you create an additional partition for the images (as I suggested above), double check in Disk Management that you do not already have 4 primary partitions on the system. If you do have 4 primaries, a 5th partition would be fatal because all partitions would be converted into dynamics. Result is that your system does not boot any more.

If your system is an OEM installation (the OS came with the computer), there are good chances that you may have 4 primaries. Those OEM took the bad habit of installing hidden partitions that you do not see in Computer - only in Disk Management. Should you be in doubt, take a snip of your Disk Management window and post it here for us to have a look.

But if you originally installed the system from an installation disk yourself, you most likely do not have that problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #18

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1

To keep my rig running smoothly I do the following housecleaning. I have good intentions of doing these thing regularly, but it doesn't happen on a predictable schedule - just when I think of it / get to it.

I make backup disk images (goal: once a week, actual: more like once a month)
I clear ALL in browser cache after every session.
I run Disk Cleanup (once a week?)
I Defragment the hard disks (once a month?)
I run a full AV scan (goal: once a week, actual: more like once a month)
I run anti spyware/malware (more like once a month)
I blow out my case with compressed air (once a month? Or when I can write my initials on the grill)

If I uninstall anything I manually go through the registry and clean up the obvious stragglers. When in doubt I leave it alone.

Most of my programs and all of my user files are on different partitions than the OS. It's got a place all for itself.

That's it. Installed Dec 2009. Still going like new.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #19

Windows 8 Pro x64; Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 on VirtualBox

Okay, I've successfully done one last re-install. I installed Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit, then after installing drivers/updates, refreshing WEI, and activating, I made an image of my OS partition and put that on my data partition (using the built-in imaging tool). The image is about 10-12GB. So far everything is working perfectly :), and all my files are still there from my data partition.

@whs, thanks for the warning :), my laptop came with an OEM installation of Win7 Home Premium. Back then, it came with an OS, DATA, and recovery partition. A while ago....I got myself a TechNet Standard subscritpion. Then, I formatted my whole drive (after backing up, of course), and started all over, creating my own OS and DATA partition.

The good news :)! I've decided to purchase an external hard drive. After some quick research....I found this WD 1TB, does anyone have anything against this? Or is it a good buy?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2011   #20

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I don't run any of the Black Viper tweaks...I find that if you do enough tweaking the system actually slows down.

I don't run any registry cleaners or disk cleaners on any type of regular basis. They "might" be used in the event that something really bad happens, but not as a day-to-day maintenance utility.

Msconfig and disable unwanted startup applications is something that I DO.

I don't hardly ever run a defrag by hand. Windows runs it automatically in the background, that has been sufficient for me.

My recommendations are to
1). Get an external drive and image
2). install as little as possible and only what you actually need.
3). test anything and everything you can in a virtual machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How do you keep your system running at it's best?

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