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Your process for rebuilding a system?Follow

#1 Sep 07 2012 at 11:48 AM Rating: Good
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So, I ordered a sweet sweet 120 GB SSD and it came in today.

I'm going to be turning my existing 1TB 7200 RPM drive into a "media" drive, where all my music and big video files can go.

The new SSD will be getting a clean install of Windows 7, as well as all my important apps and my three main games (FFXI, FFXIV, and The Sims 3.)

But the more I think about it, the more daunting the task becomes. I have so many freaking things on the current OS drive that will need to be transferred over.

Should I pop the new drive in by itself and let it establish itself as the C:/ drive, then put the old 1TB in as a secondary drive and go from there?

Or should I back everything from the 1TB back up to my 2TB external (which has Windows backups already, come to think of it), format it clean, and rebuild from the bottom up?

Edited, Sep 7th 2012 1:51pm by catwho
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#2 Sep 07 2012 at 2:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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It really depends. If the image on the drive is doing well, has no major quirks and seems stable, I'd be inclined to image from that drive onto the SSD without the reload. Of course that requires some sort of drive imaging process. The simplest involves a second computer, You can use the free ImageX (built into windows 7 I believe, or available as part of the Windows Automated Installation Kit WAIK) and the free GUI frontend GimageX http://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit-tools/gimagex/ to take a complete WIM image of your OS drive and write it to your new SSD. Assuming the used space of the boot partiton doesn't exceed 120GB, it will image and copy just fine to a different size drive.

The other option is to build a winPE bootable media. I personally use the Win7PE project disk base and Symantec Ghost for imaging just because it's faster than ImageX, but creating a bootable media with imaging functions is a fairly advanced level task. PM me if you are interested in the process and want to know how to set one up. It's a fairly lengthy process though initially. The main advantage there is that once you have that offline image capture disk, you can also build a windows 7 Sysprep process and make a universal custom windows 7 Image with whatever programs you want installed embedded in it and pre configured, that you can then write to theoretically any other hardware assuming it doesn't have a new kind of mass storage driver that isn't in your driver set. For a use example, we have the ability to take 48 computers, which can be a mix of any of the 12 types of workstation or laptop we have examples of, blast that sysprepped image to all 48 computers, and allow them all to load, set their computer name, automatically install their correct drivers, and go from a bare empty hard drive to a fully loaded, fully patched computer in around 16 minutes on average. That involves time to build that initial base image, and you have to update / recreate the base periodically to keep it patched, but if you tend to reload alot of computers, its a huge timesaver.

Going from a rotational drive to a SSD tends to take a while for the image to process, just because SSD's and Rotational drives use a different byte offset (hence the existance of the TRIM command in SSD's) and the imaging process has to compensate for that.

If your existing image has flaws, i'd copy everything important, all of the "users" and "programdata" folders, etc to your backup then nuke away and load clean on the new drive. Also make sure you have show hidden files and folders and show critical system files enabled so you don't miss anything important under folder view.

Windows 7 I've found doesn't require reloads nearly as often as any other OS tends to though.
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#3 Sep 08 2012 at 10:37 AM Rating: Good
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Yeah this is the first re-image of the system I'm doing since I built it. I have a minor upgrade from Windows Home Premium to Windows Professional, courtesy of my school, so I'm going with a clean install rather than a re-image.

We have HD Clone at the office for ghosting over systems, and I think if I ever upgrade my laptop hard drive I'll just re-image them (because my laptop has a built in restore partition that has already saved my bacon once), but I figured since I had the fat 2TB external drive I'd handle it all at home.

Turns out my system got really confused over which one was supposed to now be the system drive, and I've had to just give up and nuke the entire drive after all in order to get a clean OS on the new drive.

A handy thing: If you ever need to load into a DOS prompt that will ignore privileges set to files, the Win7 ISO DVDs include a command line window in their tools. They also have some basic diagnostics, like memory testers.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#4 Sep 08 2012 at 2:22 PM Rating: Good
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And let me say now that it's up and running...

13 second Win7 cold boot time. Smiley: drool
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
#5 Sep 08 2012 at 2:33 PM Rating: Excellent
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heh, yeah, i always find it hilarious that my bios options take longer to process than windows itself takes to boot now.
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#6 Sep 09 2012 at 9:55 AM Rating: Good
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Apparently, Vuze does not like getting put someplace besides the C:/ drive. Dumb Vuze.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and leader of Grammarian Tea House chat LS
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