After many years of restoring computers, I have found a way to increase reliability and speed. This whole process takes about 2-4 hours, depending on the amount of software you have. After doing these steps, restoring will take 15 min.
Before you do anything, back up all user data - your docs, pix, etc. to a separate hard disk or removable device
1. Download all of the latest drivers and applications and store it in a removeable device or separate HD
2. Buy or get anti-virus software and defrag software (PerfectDisk is recommended)
3. It is EXTREMELY recommended to get an imaging program (Ghost 2003 is highly recommended)
4. Create a map of your hard drive. In this map, divide the space into five partitions - Ghost Image (At least 75% of the System Disk Partition), System Disk, Downloads (Optional), Sources (Optional), and Documents. Mark the Ghost and System Disk as Primary Partitions. Mark the rest as Extended and Logical partitions. Make sure to give MORE space to System Disk and Ghost Image. Watch your remaining space
5. Disconnect from the internet.
1. Insert the OS CD and restart and boot to the CD
2. Delete all the partitions from Windows Setup
3. Create ONLY the System Disk partition - give it about 10 GB (10240 MB) Leave the remaining space ALONE.
4. Install the OS
1. In windows, run diskmgmt.msc and create the remaining partitions - The Ghost Image partition MUST BE a Primary Partition. The remaining space is Extended Partition. Then in the Extended Partition, create the remaining partitions as logical partitions. Format them as NTFS. Also, there cannot be more than 3 Primary partitions (Extended counts as 1 primary) or else Ghost wont work.
2. Install Ghost 2003.
3. Install all drivers.
4. Install necessary apps (Office 2003, Photoshop, anti-virus, etc.) DO NOT install games (It will use a lot of HD Space)... But DO NOT activate them yet
5. Go to run. type inf. hit enter. look for sysoc.inf. Open it and use the replace tool to remove all instances of hide
6. Go to the registry editor. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher.
Make sure you set this key to 0.
7. Go to run. Type prefetch. Delete everything in that folder
8. Create an admin and a standard user account. You will use your restricted account almost all the time. The admin account should be used ONLY for installing programs.
9. Use Microsoft Update to update the OS and Microsoft products.
10. Use Disk Cleanup to remove unnecessary files, windows components, and recent restore points.
11. If you have XP Pro, set group policy settings.
12. Defrag the HD.
13. Using Ghost, backup the system partition to the Ghost Image partition using HIGH Compression. Also, use the -z9 in the command-line options for ultra compression. Backup will take ~1 hrs.
-DO NOT connect to the internet until you complete the backup
- Download Cablenut (Free) and the update to optimize your broadband connection (Use the T3 CSS file for max speed). I use cable and get about 1 MB burst transfer rate; average speed is 600 KB/s. Download Link: http://www.cablenut.com
-Use the event 4226 fix to change max half open connections. Download link: http://lvllord.de/?lang=en&url=downloads
-The Source partition is optional; useful if you hate swapping disks
-Download partition is optional
- The Documents partition is useful for User Data (Docs, pix, etc.)
- Restoring your computer will take 15-20 min vs. 4 hrs
- User data will stay intact during restore if you saved them to the documents partition