New Windows 7 install - Does my plan make sense?

Hello all,

Just looking for some opinions / comments before I proceed with the below. Have never had to reinstall an OS before so please bear with me and my simpleton questions:

I’ve got a Windows 7 machine that has slowed to a crawl. Try as I might, I cannot diagnose root cause(s). I’ve decided to reinstall Windows while keeping my files and programs.

Here’s the plan, does it make sense?

  1. Create Windows 7 bootable USB flash drive (done), also copy all program installers to flash (done)
  2. Use MS One drive to back up documents etc (done)
    3. Use Duplicati to back up all that it does from C, to external drive
  3. Reinstall Windows and programs
  4. Restore the Duplicati backup from external drive
  5. Take a snapshot image, throw it in a safe, breathe easy :wink:

Fine? Not? Please chime in and thanks!

Welcome to the forum and thanks for your interest in Duplicati!

Is your usage plan solely for this one time OS re-install or are you expecting to continue using Duplicati for backups?

If it’s just a one time use then I think you might be better off with a pre-re-install copy (or image) of the drive then restore from that.

Though you say you’ve not re-installed an OS before it sounds like you’re planning well - most people forget the program installers. :slight_smile:

Other things that aren’t necessarily easy to recover from a backup/image include:

  • installation license keys
  • browser favorites & saved passwords
  • browser add-ons / extensions and settings
  • firewall or hosts file rules
  • drive mappings
  • printer, monitor, etc. software / drivers
  • motherboard hardware drivers (esp. if you’re planning to re-format the drive - OK, these might be “easy” to get off a drive image)

If you’ve got the space, you might want to consider taking both a before AND after snapshot image - just in case you later realize you forgot something. Plus, if the upgrade fails for whatever reason you can restore to your “before” image.

And if you’re really a masochist why not go ahead and virtualize the old version of your machine too! :crazy_face:

Hope that helps - and good luck!

Thanks for the quick and comprehensive feedback. To your question, this is not a one shot deal for me. Once my OS reinstall is done, I’ll be using Duplicati for regular backups. Locally to an external drive for sure, and likely to the cloud as well.

I had thought about a few of the post-restore gotchas you mentioned (drivers etc) but not all. So thanks for the additional heads up! :+1:

On a slight tangent, I’m reinstalling the OS from scratch because the current image has problems. Corrupt drivers or system files, registry conflicts, who knows. I’ll just burn the house down and start from scratch :wink:

… and virtualization, you say? There’s a next project planned after resurrecting Windows… think I’ll dust off VirtualBox and install me a little macOS environment. Should be fun :joy:

Belarc Advisor is the best way to get your license keys. Products: Belarc Advisor
Definitely recommend running it before wiping

I’d also suggest using an image based local backup method–I like Veeam Endpoint Free–in case you forget something and need to revert to the original.
Or you could get a new hard drive and do your reinstall onto the new one, so you can revert back if you need to.

I would recommend relying on Duplicati for data only, not program restores or settings.

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I’m reasonably sure I have all my program keys already, but certainly good sense to make absolutely sure. So thanks, I’ll check out Belarc.

I’m less inclined though to do an image based backup. Maybe I’m missing something? The goal of my exercise is to install a clean OS from scratch, and leave whatever problems the current image has behind. I think I’ve been careful not to miss anything before starting. But if I have, it should be ok. It’s " just" my home PC, not work.

And yes, I wasn’t looking for programs and settings backup, understand that any backup tool is typically data centric, not program centric. Hence ensuring program keys and installers on a thumb drive before reinstalling the OS etc

The one thing that I would say–as one who has done this around a half dozen times–is that it is almost always worth it to get a new hard drive, so you have the old one, just in case.
I also wonder what the advantage of Duplicati over just copying your data manually is, since this is a single time operation.
Once you are done with the reinstall, Duplicati will certainly be useful, since it does versioning and deduplication. But I don’t see the value of adding extra complexity here.

Anyways, is there anything else that we can help with, or should we close this topic?

Think I’ll get a second hard drive after all, good idea. To be clear, I’m not planning on just a one time operation of Duplicati, but I guess that’s a bit off topic.

I’d say I have all the info I needed so yes. this topic can be closed. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.