When your computer is not operating as it should be, especially if the problem has something to do with the software side, sometimes reinstalling its Windows operating system is the last, yet best resort. And doing this is somehow a simple task since you just need to insert the installation media, and then the wizard will walk you through with the installation. That being said, problems start to arise once you are done installing Windows. Unable to connect to the Internet due to some driver issues or forgetting to install one or two important applications, or lose application settings and configurations are just some examples of problems that you may encounter afterwards. The reinstallation process would be much easier if you already have a plan beforehand.

Here is a guide of the things you need to check for before and after installing Windows on your PC.

Before Re-installing Windows

1. Back Up Files, Application Settings, and Configurations

This is the first thing you need to do when considering a re-installation. Skim through your C: drive and back up any personal files like images, videos, and documents. Especially, look in general folders like Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Downloads, etc.

After that you need to back up the settings and other data of your favorite applications. For instance, if you are using the Thunderbird email client, you can back up the profile folder. This helps you restore the Thunderbird application without manually adding all the email accounts again. Each application has its own way to export settings and configurations, so take your time and back up those settings. Since you can easily import those settings and configurations with just a few clicks, it helps you save a ton of time after re-installing Windows.

2. Make Sure You Have All the Product Keys

To activate some premium software like Windows, Office, etc., you need to have product keys. It is a good idea to have those products keys beforehand. This lets you activate the software as soon as you install it. You can use free software tools like ProduKey or Belarc Advisor to quickly find and copy the product keys of different software. One thing to keep in mind is that you might not get the product keys of all your premium software. If you find that you are missing a product key for premium software, you can try to recover it from your email inbox or simply contact the developer.

3. Download Drivers

Device drivers are a big issue for Windows systems. Though Windows 10 tries to install generic drivers automatically, it is good to have all the required drivers beforehand, especially video and network drivers. Head to your laptop or motherboard manufacturer website and download their latest drivers. The drivers contained in the CD/DVD you get when you buy the laptop or motherboard are usually outdated and may sometimes cause unnecessary problems.

4. Make a List of All Installed Programs

This is one of the most overlooked parts, but it always helps to make a list of all the software installed on your system. Besides the installed software, also note down any portable software you are using.

5. Make Sure You Have Up-to-Date Installation Media

Unlike Windows 7, Microsoft is updating Windows 10 twice every year. So before you proceed to reinstall, make sure you have the up-to-date installation media. If you are unsure, you can download the latest ISO from the official Microsoft website and create a bootable USB drive.

After Re-installing Windows

1. Install Device Drivers

The first thing to do after installing Windows is to install all the drivers you downloaded earlier. This will ensure that all the hardware devices work properly and that you can connect to the Internet.

2. Update Windows

After installing hardware drivers, you need to install Windows updates. More often than not these updates contain bug fixes, security patches, and feature updates. To update a Windows 10 machine, open the Settings app by pressing the keyboard shortcut Win + [I], navigate to Update and Security, then go to Windows Update and click on the Check for updates button.

3. Download and Install All Your Software

Next, download and install all the required software. Use the list you created earlier to make sure that you are installing all your favorite applications. For general purpose software like browsers, media players, image viewers, etc., use Ninite. This free software automates everything and installs common software with just a single click.

4. Configure Windows and Application Settings

After installing all the required software, it is time to configure the Windows settings. These include common settings like unhiding file extensions, disabling unwanted startup items, setting up Windows Hello, changing default apps, etc.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 6:18:28 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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