Newbie Backup / Windows Reinstall Questions

SirSavage

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May 28, 2011
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Okay I'm undoubtedly going to annoy some people with such a newbie question, but I've spent the last few hours trying to research this and I'm getting lots of contradictory information. In a nutshell:

- My laptop is starting to malfunction for whatever reason. Won't open most applications unless I reboot, then it works for a little while. Super slow, internet is weird/glitchy, won't restart, have to hold power button.

- Laptop is only 3 years old, and is a pretty decent Ultra Book, so shouldn't be hardware.

- Looked into "Clean up / optimization" software and it seems like that is pretty hit and miss or even harmful at times.

- Considering just reinstalling windows to get a fresh start.


Now for the questions:

- Agreed that software to "speed up" or fix your computer are bs?

- Any alternatives to look into other than reinstalling Windows?

- If reinstalling Windows is the best option, what should I do in terms of backup? You don't want to simply image the disk, reinstall Windows, and put the same crap back on, right? Is there a neater, more organized way of selecting what to keep, or make sure things don't get lost when you do wipe it? I'm considering getting Office 365 as that would also give me lots of cloud storage, so if I do need to wipe it I could backup on the cloud too.


Again, sorry for the super newbie questions. I've never really had to reinstall windows and try to restore things, so I don't want to mess it up. Thanks for the help!

 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


Your steps are pretty much right in line.

That link is just for a tool which allows you to create your own DVD or USB.

"If you need to install or reinstall Windows 8.1, you can use the tools on this page to create your own installation media using either a USB flash drive or a DVD."
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
What OS is this?

For backups?
Here is what you save...
All your personal doc/pic/music/video you wish to keep
Document all your username/passwords
Any serial numbers and license keys of software
Any application install files that you can't download again
All the drivers for your hardware (save this on DVD or USB)
 

SirSavage

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Sorry I forgot to mention OS. It's running Windows 8.

As for the things you mentioned to save, how do you even find serial numbers and license keys, and all the drivers? This is my concern that I'll screw up somewhere along the way and things won't work.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


Drivers you get from the manufacturers websites.
Serial numbers etc, use this: Belarc Advisor

Do you have the OS install disk and license key?
 

SirSavage

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Ugh, no I don't even think I do still have the OS disk or license key anywhere. I think last time I had to install Windows it was Windows 7 on another PC and I downloaded a file that I was able to format onto a bootable USB. I have StartIsBack installed on this one too, but that is easy enough to reinstall after I suppose.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


That application I linked will retrieve the OS license key.
But without the install media (DVD or USB), you may be in a tight spot.

Once you've discovered the OS license key, go here:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows8

This may allow you to download an ISO file, then you can create your own install DVD.
 

SirSavage

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Okay first off let me say that you are so ridiculously helpful. Thanks a TON for this help!

Now to make sure I'm tracking on the process:

1. Install Belarc Advisor to get any license keys, etc. for programs I need to reinstall, including the OS
2. Save personal files/pics/etc. onto an external HD
3. Download Win 8.1 tool from the link above and install onto a USB
4. Reinstall Win 8.1
5. Install any drivers needed from manufacturer website (assuming this is needed after reinstall)
6. Reinstall any programs I want back on using keys from Belarc Advisor

Did I miss any major steps? And does that link you posted to the Win 8 tool actually have the install file for the OS, or is that just the tool?
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


Your steps are pretty much right in line.

That link is just for a tool which allows you to create your own DVD or USB.

"If you need to install or reinstall Windows 8.1, you can use the tools on this page to create your own installation media using either a USB flash drive or a DVD."
 
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