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Windows XP Restore Checklist

Last updated: March 16, 2006

One of my least favourite tasks is restoring Windows XP after it gets trashed. Whether the PC belongs to family, friends, or clients, I'm not usually able to lock it down the way I'd like to, but these steps make it a little less painful and a lot more secure.

1. If the PC still works, make a backup
Run the Microsoft Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to save the user's current data and settings
Back up all files with the Microsoft Backup Utility (to catch the ones that the Files and Settings Wizard misses)
2. Basic Windows XP Install
Wipe the hard disk and create a fresh NTFS partition
Install Windows XP
Install Service Pack 2 (much faster from CD: download here, or make a slipsteam install CD)
Run Windows Update until everything is up-to-date. Make sure Automatic Updates are enabled.
Run System Restore, (Start / Help and Support / Performance and Maintenance / Using System Restore to undo changes), and then click Create a Restore Point -- or -- Run the System Restore Wizard.
3. Absolutely Essential Utilities
Install antivirus. Update definitions; do a full scan; set to auto-update daily; make sure real-time is enabled
My favourite is CA's eTrust EZ Antivirus (12-month free trial)
Install antispyware. Update definitions; do a full scan; set to auto-update daily; make sure real-time is enabled
My favourite is the free Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft AntiSpyware)
Run Windows Update until everything is up-to-date. Make sure Automatic Updates are enabled.
Create a Restore Point
4. Useful Utilities
 
5. Restore User
Run the Microsoft Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to restore the user's old data and settings
Create a Restore Point
Reinstall the user's applications
Run Windows Update until everything is up-to-date. Make sure Automatic Updates are enabled.
Create a Restore Point
Run the Microsoft Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to save the user's current data and settings
Create a full backup (to DVD if possible)

 

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