Advice Request How fast can you clean install and setup Windows?

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Zero Knowledge

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For secure device I'd say 30 minutes for basic setup, 1/2 hours for Drivers/Group Policy/Services and then an extra 30 mins for basic clean-up and software install. Extra 30 minutes for patches/cumulative updates and then I'm ready to go. If I'm really paranoid and suspect a hack/breach, I flash the machines BIOS to latest version after a clean install and re-install any firmware. I keep it very basic these days with fresh installs, no excess software or useless settings until I need them.

If I'm using a machine for work or programming/development I just usually leave it as a clean install state to help solve security or software incompatibilities and just use some Group Policy mods. I use Hard Configurator and turn off SRP with prog/dev work and just leave the Firewall LOLbins blocks and Defender on High. Also install OSArmor and SysHardener and some cleaners but that's about it.
 
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Trident

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About 45 minutes with downloading fresh copy of Windows, installing it and then installing few programs on it. I am not a fan of OEM bloatware, snake oil/cleaners that free up less space than they’ve occupied, and other useless programs.

Reinstalling Chrome OS is even quicker. Takes about 10 minutes. Haven’t done it on my Mac yet.

Btw I am just as vanilla on my phone and Mac as I am on the Windows and Chrome OS PCs. On my Mac I doubt I’ve got more than 10 apps installed. My phone is extremely organised.
 
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oldschool

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About 45 minutes with downloading fresh copy of Windows, installing it and then installing few programs on it. I am not a fan of OEM bloatware, snake oil/cleaners that free up less space than they’ve occupied, and other useless programs.
You go through Windows settings, etc. all in 45 minutes? uninstalling unused Windows apps? What about setting up browsers? Do you copy&paste profiles?
 

Trident

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You go through Windows settings, etc. all in 45 minutes? uninstalling unused Windows apps? What about setting up browsers? Do you copy&paste profiles?
I download either the media creation tool or the ISO and Rufus (whichever is quicker to click on, don’t care), burn a flash drive (doing all that usually takes ~15 min). Then I’ve got about 15 more to install Windows and go through the initial settings. The other 15 are to tune few settings such as colours, taskbar, start menu. Browser settings I do not modify at all, passwords and all come with the MS account. I install an antivirus (Norton for me obviously), if for someone else, it may be Kaspersky, Avast, Bitdefender (depends on their risk profile). At the same time with the AV, I install MS Office, Windows updates, app updates from the MS store, Intel updates through their application, OEM updater (such as Dell Update but nothing else from them) and that’s it. All done.

And yes, finally I uninstall some unused apps like Spotify, Teams and many others.
 
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a090

Level 2
Mar 26, 2023
67
Install? Few mins…

Setup? Hours. I’m one of those people that go through every setting (yes, every single one) on Windows. Then through GPO to harden. Then install all updates. Then install all mobo drivers, graphics drivers, and chipset drivers. Then install browser and AV. After all that, the PC is “set up” for use. But usually I do a whole bunch of other stuff too afterwards if I’m doing this install for myself. For others, I stop there.
 

Pixelman

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Jun 7, 2022
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Two days, with other stuff going on in my life. Fresh install is the easiest. It's the apps and backups that take time.
But I have about 4-5 backups off different stages of installed/updates settings. From just the OS and security/ privacy tweaks to OS with every app and setting I need.
 

TairikuOkami

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About an hour, if nothing goes wrong, but it usually does, so it can take up to 2 hours.

15 min to install Windows, more like 10 min + 5 min for Windows to think about it
10 min to download/install updates
05 min to install drivers
15 min for Windows Setup 1 - basic setup, disable features and suggestions, uninstall all apps, install apps via winget and manually
10 min for Windows Setup 2 - mostly a manual setup, apps and browsers configs are copied, flags and most settings are preserved
05 min to login to webpages, steam, etc
05 min to Disable Defender (uninstalling AV takes the most, I am thinking about using the safe mode, so no need for 3rd party AV)
01 min for Windows Tweaks (pretty much 99% Windows settings, I turn off PC with it, since Windows likes to change them at will)
15 min for Windows Cleanup with TRIM and System Backup
 

ColonelMal

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Jul 5, 2017
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I maintain a spreadsheet with a checklist of about 150 steps concerning a clean install of Windows OS and other programs. This includes what should be done before the clean install, for example data and disk image backups, document the program settings and back them up etc., what should be done during installation, in the right sequence as much as possible, and post-installation cleanup tasks, for example delete the Windows.old directory. I keep this spreadsheet up to date by revising it whenever I install or remove programs or I make changes to program settings.

The whole process takes at least two full days for me.
 

SeriousHoax

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Sorrento

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Takes me a couple of days to get everything sorted which is why a week ago I imaged back with Macrium to last September which was a clean install as was having some small issues - Took me a few hours to get everything right but much quicker than starting from scratch - I had all the updated programs on another drive so wasn't that difficult, all runs perfectly now.
 

Stargazer_Steve

Level 1
Dec 2, 2022
36
I usually do a fresh install; followed by tweaking services/settings etc. Then I use Winaero tweaker & O&O Shutup10 to debloat and turn of all telemetry from Windows. Then I do my antivirus/security, followed by NiNite to install most programs I use, then install any missing programs. Usually takes about 45 minutes (once Windows is installed).


NiNite is a really good tool to download & install multiple software at once, it's saved me a lot of time over the years - worth Googling & checking it out. (I only say this as a lot of people don't seem to know it exists)!
 

oldschool

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Mar 29, 2018
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Why clean installation is better and how often?
There is no "better", my friend. Some do it with every major upgrade or more often, and some never do. @roger_m rarely does as he posted above. Others like @SeriousHoax and @TairikuOkami probably do it more often. If you install and uninstall lots of programs this can gum up a system, so it's a good idea. And a clean install will remove all OEM bloatware.
 

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