Tasks to Complete After Every Windows Installation

Before you start

Objectives: learn which tasks should be performed after each Windows installation.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: files, install, transfer, user, computer, settings, system, data, run, configure, backup

Post Installation Steps

First of all we should edit our CMOS settings to boot from the hard drive first. This prevents our system from booting from the CD/DVD drive. Next, we should update device drivers as needed. We can use Device Manager to verify the status of all hardware devices. We should download and install drivers for any unknown devices. Also, we should activate our copy of Windows, either online, on the phone or via fax. We must activate our copy of Windows within 30 days. Our system will remind us when our activation period will terminate. If we reinstall Windows, it will need to be activated again. A significant hardware change, such as upgrading the motherboard, may require reactivation. If this is the case, we might need to contact Microsoft to get a reactivation key. Activation does not send personal information to Microsoft, since it isn’t registration.

It is important to configure the Windows Update feature and download the latest updates. The disc that we used to install Windows does not include all of the latest hot fixes or even service packs. Before completing other tasks we should install the critical and recommended updates. Depending on the installation, we might need to install updates and reboot several times to get all of the latest updates.

Next, we should configure Windows Firewall, install antivirus program and update virus definition files. After all this, we can migrate user settings, if required, from an older system. There are several methods to do this. On Windows XP we can run the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. On Windows Vista/7 we can run Windows Easy Transfer. We can transfer files by connecting both computers and an Easy Transfer Cable, which is a special USB cable. We can also transfer files using a network connection between the computers. We can also save files to a removable disk or to CD/DVD and then load them on the new computer. In addition, we can also use User State Migration Tool (USMT) to migrate data to multiple computers or to have greater control over the migration. When using USMT we the ‘ScanState’ command on the existing computer to save user settings and files. After that we run the ‘LoadState’ command on the new computer to move files onto the new computer. There are several things to keep in mind when migrating user settings. First, if we perform an in-place upgrade installation, user settings and data are automatically retained. Because of that we do not need to use mentioned tools to transfer files. If we perform a new installation on the existing system, we have to run the transfer utility before performing the installation and save the resulting files to removable media or a network location. Following the installation, we can run the transfer utility to copy the data into the new installation. If we are moving from an old computer to a new computer, we can transfer files directly between the two computers. Migrating user settings and files does not install applications on the new computer, nor does it migrate system files such as fonts or drivers.

We can also add additional Windows features and install our applications. In the end we should configure regular backups to protect ourselves against data loss. We should take a complete PC backup and schedule regular user data backups.


After we install Windows we should update our system, install antivirus programs, migrate user files if necessary, install other applications and configure regular backups.