I Reinstalled Windows in 15 Minutes

By Xorior
Apr 1, 2007
  1. I Restored Windows in 15 Minutes

    This is for advanced computer users that are already familiar with dual booting operating systems. I got sick of the word "Reinstall" making my tummy turn, so I managed to create myself a little setup that allows for the fastest and most efficient reinstall of your OS ever.

    I reinstalled Windows in 15 minutes on a 900Mhz CPU / 400Mhz FSB Laptop
    with a 5200 RPM HD. Drivers already installed and Windows configured how I like it. Impossible? nope :)

    Requirements: (3 drives or partitions are required)
    1) Must dedicate one drive to DOS bootable, where the image will be stored
    2) Must dedicate one drive or partition to Windows and all of your installed programs
    3) Must dedicate a separate drive or partition to My Documents, where all of your stuff gets stored from now on. If you care about it, it doesn't go on Windows drive, it goes in My Documents, or on that drive.

    1) Download Partition Saving (savepart.exe) free from:
    2) Put savepart on your bootable floppy or CD that gets you into DOS
    3) Backup everything you want to keep to media or separate physical HD
    4) Boot to DOS and (i just use old fdisk) wipeout your disk
    5) Create and dedicate a nice 5GB, 10GB, or even a generous 20GB primary partition for a DOS bootable OS. (This is where your OS Image will be stored, which can be large when you have lots of big software installed, make sure you create enough space to store your Windows image here.)
    6) Make the next partition and size it for Windows and it's programs, and the next drive after that (unless it's another physical disk) would be your storage for My Documents
    7) Make the primary drive active, Format the drive in DOS, and use good old "sys C:" from your boot disk to make that drive your DOS bootable drive.
    also copy the savepart program to DOS drive
    8) Install Windows normally onto the next partition.
    9) Move the pagefile to C: drive, or other drive
    10) Update Windows, install all of your drivers, install all of your programs (be efficient, not too many. less software means faster restore time) and configure windows how you like it. Change your My Documents folder to your Storage drive (mine is E:\My Documents) and prepare to create your system image. Remember, when you restore your image, Windows will look like it does before you shutdown, so don't do things you might change later.
    11) Make a text file that says everything you did to your computer and put it on the dekstop, so you'll remember when you use the reinstallation.
    12) Restart, boot to DOS drive, browse to savepart and run it. (if you're reading this guide then you won't be asking me how to use savepart... I figured it out)
    13) Select 'Save element' from menu and save "contents only" ('element' is a partition, thats all you get from me ;) and i use highest compression too.
    14) When you get to select file, browse to the C drive and choose a filename.
    15) The image process will start. (Ignore the time remaining, it's calculated off the total disk size, not content size) If your Windows has lots of programs installed, the image file may go over 2GB, which the program will prompt to create a new file to continue. You can also get the "autonaming' option to work which prevents this message, allowing it to complete unattended.
    16) There you go. restoring is as easy as booting to dos, running savepart, choosing "Restore Element", selecting your saved Image file, and selecting the drive to restore to (Must be the same size, and larger works still i think)

    With some applications installed, like photoshop and Office, it took 15 min to restore XP on the laptop mentioned above. It would have been faster with no software installed, and it compressed to a 700MB file!

    I am working on a detailed comprehensive guide, but right now i felt obligated to share this information with you all because, i think, it is an awesome thing. In addition, you can store your image on an NTFS storage drive and mount the drive with savepart. this makes it even more extensible to everyone, but it's a little tricky. It will be in the comprehensive guide.

    Windows XP is saved to an Image File in full. It should be restored to the same driver letter as it was installed
    Personal PC use only.

    *Only do this if you know what your doing. I am not responsible for anyone else's mistakes, because this works beautifully for me, and by best friend whom i've equipped with also. I'm sure others have already done this, but I haven't seen anything about it.

    Credits must go to Damien Guibouret, author of Partition Saving (savepart), the program which made this possible for me, for free.
  2. Jesse_hz

    Jesse_hz TS Maniac Posts: 545

    But you're not really installing anything, just backing up and restoring an image of a partition.
  3. Xorior

    Xorior TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19

    Yes, it's technically not reinstalling windows, it's restoring it. but it works perfect if you keep your system the same, and Windows XP can be restored in 10 minutes if you have no additional software installed when you back it up.
    It is pretty awesome to see windows new again, in just 10 minutes.

    * I changed the title to be more correct ;)
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