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reformatting is painful

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Posted

so I always hate reformatting windows or upgrading because it takes me a few days to install my apps and configure my settings. 

 

I was hoping to setup a VM with a dedicated hard drive and do all that work while still enjoying my system. When I am good and ready, I would dual boot and make sure everything is straight before scrapping the old system. 

 

 

Is this possible with virtualbox? Seems too good to be true but my readings suggest that it's actually easy.

 

PS. I own Acronis backup and recovery. Doesn't that let me backup the VM and recover it onto the clean install of windows when I am ready? 

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Posted

I'm just wondering, why not set up your system, set up the essential programs, then take a snapshot of the setup? That way when a format is needed in future you can just apply the snapshot image, which will install the OS and configure the applications to be identical to how you did it but without you needing to manually configure anything.

It wouldn't help with an upgrade, but then again I don't think what you're suggesting would help when upgrading either, just when formatting.
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Posted

How often do you reformat your system? Properly maintained a Windows installation will last for several years. 

 

If you are re-installing every few months you're doing something wrong.

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Posted

 

 

Is this possible with virtualbox? Seems too good to be true but my readings suggest that it's actually easy.

You will be sacrificing performance.  Why do you need to format every so often? Experiencing slowdowns or performance degradation? Easier clean up? I've had my laptop for two years and I've never formatted my HD, not even when upgrading between Win 7/Win8/Win81 - there was never the need to go through that hassle.

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Posted

How often do you reformat your system? Properly maintained a Windows installation will last for several years. 

 

If you are re-installing every few months you're doing something wrong.

 

well with Microsoft switching all .1 updates to Upgrade Installs, I'm now forced to completely re-install every time they release an update, which I suspect will be every year or more frequently. I tried the Store upgrade but it promptly caused a BSOD after successfully installing, so there's that.

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Posted

When a new version of windows is released I install in hyperv > install all programs and updates (except eu browser choice) > export the start screen layout after grouping all tiles and using gpedit.msc to set the start screen layout from this file > sysprep and then backup using weds or some other solution

The result is an image of windows that can be deployed on any hardware and boots with all my programs and start screen layout out of the box.
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Posted

I actually like reformatting but that's simply because i don't have tons of crap on my system. I basically use it for the browser which is why i've been looking into a tablet. I'll then setup this machine with office and few key programs and fire it up when i need those options but for everything else i just need simple stuff.

Gonna do it tomorrow to start fresh for the new year :p
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Posted

When a new version of windows is released I install in hyperv > install all programs and updates (except eu browser choice) > export the start screen layout after grouping all tiles and using gpedit.msc to set the start screen layout from this file > sysprep and then backup using weds or some other solution

The result is an image of windows that can be deployed on any hardware and boots with all my programs and start screen layout out of the box.

 

^And the virtual disks can be added to the boat loader and booted directly in Windows 7 or later.

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Posted

I usually  (in the past at least) did a full system format once a year or so. I have an area setup on my nas that contains install files for applications and whatnot to improve the process. and for a while there i just kept an imagex file of my computer after i had configured it. so at that point i just have to do updates.

 

since i got my new laptop (had to give up the desktop as i have no where to put it) i have not formatted the computer, nor so i see a reason to yet (running Windows 8.1)

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Posted

I usually reinstall when a new version of windows is released. When windows 8.1 came out I loathed the thought of reinstalling. So I just did the upgrade from the store. I had to fix a few small issues, but now everything is running great.

 

I still have drive images and 500GB 2.5 inch hard drives each one being an image of each computer I use. So if a computers drive dies I can pop that drive out and pop in the 500gb 2.5 inch clone for that computer and boot from it and get back to work minus a few updates.

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Posted

+100 for snapshots.  Once and done, only time I ever reformat is with a new OS.  This current install I'm on is around 3 years old or so, haven't had a need to reformat, still as perky as day one.  Only time I touch the snapshot is if a drive dies or is replaced typically.. I don't let my system get cluttered, if there's something I'm not sure I'll want to keep or is only temporary it goes into the sandbox or a VM first.. if I like it it gets installed for real, if not, buhbye and done, no fuss no mess.

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Posted

My current install is 3 years old so I am totally up for a reformat. I just want the process to be smoother and I want access to all my settings and apps from minute 1.... 

 

Upgrading to 8.1 from 7 so the imagex solutions aren't ideal. I actually do daily snapshots with acronis, that's how it's lasted 3 years. 

 

I have decided to make a VM out of my current system and install the new one fresh. Then I will be able to get on the VM of my current system and continue daily operations while I slowly configure the new one. 

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Posted

that's gonna come with some hefty performance penalties.

 

how much do you have to configure? it only takes me 2 days on and off to reinstall everything and reconfigure all the settings to mostly right. then i just make minor adjustments when things come up that i forgot during the initial config.

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Posted

How do you do a snapshot?

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Posted

I hate reinstalling. as I would lose a couple days of being able to watching my shows, neowin and work or  what ever else.

 

I dont like system restore as it can make problems worse sometimes. I had it happen couple time to me.

 

I use acronis home to make system images. and I dual boot windows 8.1 and windows 7

 

although I did make a mistake last year. I was making monthly backups from 2012 to 2013 and decided to clean up and remove older backups.

 

later I found out. there was some uncorrectable software problems and my recent backups had the same problem. so I had to reinstall from scratch. 

 

and it takes long time to install all of the adobe products and office and then update everything.........

 

rule to the wise. dont delete older backups unless your sure there no problems with the current system.

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Posted

I actually like reformatting but that's simply because i don't have tons of crap on my system. I basically use it for the browser which is why i've been looking into a tablet. I'll then setup this machine with office and few key programs and fire it up when i need those options but for everything else i just need simple stuff.

Gonna do it tomorrow to start fresh for the new year :p

 

Back in the day, I use to be like that too. Now with my time more limited I like to set it up and forget it. However, a fresh start is a good thing sometimes. :)

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Posted

I do the following:

  • setup online storage for files and portable applications.
  • For non-portable applications that I want to keep persistent across installs, I symlink/hardlink them from online storage.
  • I setup batch/powershell scripts to disable services, configure windows specific things, setup environmental variables, setup file associations with applications, automate symlinking, etc.
  • Use Ketarin to keep up-to-date installers around for applications.
  • Sync my browser settings and bookmarks.

This makes it fairly easy roll re-installs of an OS with minimal effort. The largest issue is waiting for the initial syncing of files.

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Posted

Sounds like a lot of you like to complicate your home setup for no particular reason (do you like feeling you're at work when you're at home). Reason I say this is because personally, the last thing I want to do is dick around with computer setups at home when I do it for a living at work. 

 

I haven't formatted my machine in years. If you know how to maintain a setup, it'll run forever. I've even got machines I've managed for 10 years+ that haven't been re installed. Macs aren't too bad when it comes to this either. I've owned a Mac or two over the past 10 years and I can't recall ever having to do a system rebuild (except for when I had a drive fail and I had no backup). 

 

Ghost for the best part is probably one of the better options for home users, as it's straight forward and not much can go wrong. Last thing you need is home users with no clue trying to use WDS, or SCCM. 

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Posted

Sounds like a lot of you like to complicate your home setup for no particular reason (do you like feeling you're at work when you're at home). Reason I say this is because personally, the last thing I want to do is dick around with computer setups at home when I do it for a living at work. 

 

I haven't formatted my machine in years. If you know how to maintain a setup, it'll run forever. I've even got machines I've managed for 10 years+ that haven't been re installed. Macs aren't too bad when it comes to this either. I've owned a Mac or two over the past 10 years and I can't recall ever having to do a system rebuild (except for when I had a drive fail and I had no backup). 

 

Ghost for the best part is probably one of the better options for home users, as it's straight forward and not much can go wrong. Last thing you need is home users with no clue trying to use WDS, or SCCM. 

 

Some of us don't do 9-5 and need a viable consistent setup everywhere.

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Posted

I think reformatting is excellent. It shouldn't take anyone days to get back and going. I'm usually up and running within a couple of hours! :)

 

If it takes days, you're installing too many programs :P

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Posted

I think reformatting is excellent. It shouldn't take anyone days to get back and going. I'm usually up and running within a couple of hours! :)

 

If it takes days, you're installing too many programs :p

 

The only time I find reformatting excellent is when Windows is having a problem, and it'll be faster to blow the config away than to tinker around with 100 different band aid methods to try and fix the problem (and in the end create even more issues\instability). 

 

Realistically, the average joe doesn't even rebuild their PC once in it's life time (let's say for argument sake a machine life is 5 - 6 years max for the typical home user). If Windows is having issues, they'll end up buying a new PC.

 

However, installing Windows is a lot faster than it was back in the day. 

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Posted

Snapshots are even easier if you have a windows 8 or 8.1 system. Just use recimg. Then when you want to start over just refresh or reset your PC. This works out great for me. Since I have like 100+gb of games to reinstall. I no longer have to go so far with the patching now.

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Posted

How often do you reformat your system? Properly maintained a Windows installation will last for several years. 

 

If you are re-installing every few months you're doing something wrong.

My exact words also!

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Posted

Since I do all my work from within a VM there is no need to restall or reformat.  At the end of each day I save a copy of the VM to an external usb 3 SSD.  I have VMs for Win 7 Vista, XP, Open Suse, and Mint.  I run Win 8.1 as the main OS sitting on a 520 gig SSD.  So if a VM goes bad I just delete it and move over a copy of the VM from the external to the internal, job done.

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Since I do all my work from within a VM there is no need to restall or reformat.  At the end of each day I save a copy of the VM to an external usb 3 SSD.  I have VMs for Win 7 Vista, XP, Open Suse, and Mint.  I run Win 8.1 as the main OS sitting on a 520 gig SSD.  So if a VM goes bad I just delete it and move over a copy of the VM from the external to the internal, job done.

 

but you'd still have to do a new install if you ever want to update the OS in the VM

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