Once Win­dows has been re­in­stalled, open Win­dows Up­date to bring your fresh op­er­at­ing sys­tem fully up to date—don’t be sur­prised if there are hun­dreds of up­dates still to ap­ply in the case of Win­dows 7 and 8.1. Once it’s com­pletely up­dated, con­sider re­in­stalling Macrium Re­flect Free (see page 32), and tak­ing your first drive im­age—a vanilla backup you can re­store in fu­ture if needed, in­stead of re­in­stalling Win­dows it­self.

If you fol­lowed the ad­vice on page 33, you should be able to re­in­stall your core apps us­ing Clone App from your PC’s data drive. If you click “Re­store,” ev­ery pro­gram set­ting you backed up is re­stored—if there are any you don’t want to re­store, se­lect “Op­tions” to lo­cate the backup folder, then open it, and move any pro­gram fold­ers you want to ig­nore out of the folder tem­po­rar­ily, be­fore click­ing “Re­store.” Once done, take your sec­ond Macrium Re­flect Free backup.

Fi­nally, open File His­tory or the Win­dows Backup and Re­store tool, and take the nec­es­sary steps to re­store any data you backed up, then make sure that ei­ther tool is con­fig­ured to carry on back­ing up all your pre­cious files go­ing for­ward.

1. Re­boot for Me­dia

If you’re run­ning Win­dows 7, or have Fast Boot dis­abled, insert your boot me­dia, and start your PC. Look for a “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” op­tion—even if you have booted from a USB flash drive. Press any key on your key­board, and you should find that the Win­dows in­stall process starts.

2. Tweak Boot Op­tions

If you boot back into Win­dows, restart your PC again, but this time press a key, such as F11, when prompted, to open a boot menu. Once you have done so, se­lect your boot me­dia—choos­ing “UEFI” if that op­tion ap­pears—to boot; oth­er­wise, en­ter setup so you can change the boot de­vice or­der.

3. Win­dows 8.1/10

If Fast Boot is en­abled on your com­puter, open “Set­tings” in Win­dows, then nav­i­gate to “Up­date & re­cov­ery > Re­cov­ery,” then click “Restart now” un­der “Ad­vanced startup.” When the boot op­tions ap­pear, choose “Use a de­vice” to se­lect the USB drive or DVD you cre­ated from the list that ap­pears.

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