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Fresh XP installation: tweaks and configuration shortcuts?

Member for

21 years
I'm still using Windows XP Professional (SP2) and will probably continue to do so for some time. As such, I like to reformat my Windows/Applications drive at least every 6 months. I know exactly what registry changes, service settings, Windows settings, etc. I like to configure with each fresh installation, but it takes me a great deal of time to make all these adjustments.

I'd like to know whether there's a way to automate Windows into making these changes for me upon a fresh installation, either natively or by means of a separate application, rather than spending the hours each time doing it manually. Any input is appreciated.


Member for

15 years

VonRocK Sat, 12/29/2007 - 10:52
Ghost is an excellent program that will do exactly what you are looking for.

Install Windows.
Tweak it.
Install all your apps.
Make a ghost image.

When you are ready to reformat your drive again, just run Ghost, and less than 15 minutes later you have a perfect installation of Windows.

I have used this program many times before I made the switch. I have a friend that uses it almost daily. If I was still a Windows user, I would still be using this program.

Member for

15 years 10 months

Kapt.Krunch Wed, 12/26/2007 - 15:50
When you have it freshly set up and tweaked exactly like you want...BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING....clone it with Ghost or some other similar software to a backup of some kind. This will be an image of the disk--not simply a backup of files--and you should be able to simply instigate the routine to copy it back when you need to. Then the computer should boot exactly as when that image was made, unless, perhaps, you changed any components or peripherals in between. Then it may complain because it isn't seeing the same thing.


Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Fri, 12/28/2007 - 07:42
I've used Ghost. We used it when I worked for Dell to image all of the USAF 11th Wing Systems. Worked like a charm. It's not a bad idea.

The hardware config has to be identical though or expect some problems. (That, for some reason, are always bigger than you'd expect for something as trivial as a new chipset on a modem...)


Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 12/28/2007 - 07:53
Let me make sure I understand this. If I choose to use Ghost, I:

1.) fresh-install Windows
2.) install drivers
3.) install applications and configure them
4.) make services and registry changes, et al.
5.) run Ghost to make an image of my system

After I've done this, do I run Ghost every time I boot up? Is this effective enough that I won't have to reinstall Windows again?

Lastly, will application-specific configurations (keyboard shortcuts, customizing...) be saved with this image?

Member for

17 years 6 months

Cucco Fri, 12/28/2007 - 08:17
Not quite. Ghost is only if you plan on building multiple systems the same way over and over. Or as you mention, after a reformat. Once you've built your image, store in on CDs, DVDs or external HDs and use it when you reformat again.

If you're only talking about one system and you want it to boot the same way every time???

That's different. Just save your hardware config (nothing to do, just make your changes. When you reboot, the changes are there.)

If you want to create hardware profiles, that's possible too. My audio laptop has two configs - one for audio where EVERYTHING is stripped that I don't need and one that allows me access to the internet for updates, etc. It gives me the option when I boot.

As for your last question - if you make a ghost image of your machine, any and all configurations (including keyboard shortcuts, etc.) will be saved.