Make your next Windows reinstall a better experience with Nick Peers
I t had been two years since our previous Windows reinstall when we came to write this piece. That’s normally a reasonable time to wait between wiping your hard drive clean and starting again, although given the size of our Windows install (90GB and rising), it was clear that we’d possibly waited too long. Despite 16GB of RAM, a fast SSD boot drive, and quadcore processor, Windows took what felt like an age to get going after booting, while there was a noticeable slowdown in performance.
Unsurprising, really: Since we last wiped the drive, we’d installed two major Windows 10 updates—the Anniversary Edition and the Creators Update. It was obviously time for a complete overhaul, but bitter experience had taught us a few lessons along the way. Some of those lessons go back to the early days of Windows; others are peculiar to Windows 10.
And that’s where this feature comes in. We’re going to take you on the ultimate Windows reinstall tour, whether you’re installing Windows 7, 8.1, or 10. You’ll discover that the actual physical act of reinstalling is the simplest bit, so we’ll step you through everything you need to do to preserve your data, transfer settings across the reinstall divide, and ensure nothing gets left behind—just in case.
We’ll show you how to prep for reinstall by bringing all your key apps, drivers, and licenses into one place (oh, and don’t forget to uninstall apps that need deactivating prior to reinstalling). You’ll discover how to source the latest version of your Windows install media for a cleaner, more up-to-date install out of the box (we’ll also reveal a tool that gives you the power to craft your ultimate reinstall disc).
We’ll step you through the install process, but crucially, we’ll be on hand to guide you through the post-setup phase: Get Windows up and running again, reinstall core apps, restore links to your data folders, bring back your app settings, and—for good measure— install a snapshotting backup regimen that lets you roll back your PC quickly when the need arises. Long story short, everything you need is here. Enough preamble—let’s reinstall Windows!