Adventures in configuring a new computer

Good grief a Windows re-install takes a long time!

My shiny new laptop arrived today, while we were in a staff meeting. 🙂 So I burned a couple copies of the recovery discs (Sony was thoughtful and didn’t include the dvds, just a partition on the hard drive), and now I’m trying to do a re-install to prevent the bloatware, only the recovery disks don’t give me any choice in the matter — they install exactly what was on the computer when I first turned it on.

So I am currently waiting for the install to complete, as I have been for an hour and a half or so, after which I’ll be stuck taking the jury-rigging “semi-clean install” route. It’s like a crude hack; you start the install from the recovery media, then when it gets to the part where it installs the crapware, you hit ctrl-alt-del and end the process called “VAIORecv” (or some very similar abbreviation of “VAIO Recovery”). That stops it installing all the crap.

Of course, before you do this, you must have copied the VAIO Care / Recovery Center folder (which contains the tools you need to reinstall any skipped programs that you actually want) to an external drive. After the OS install, you replace the VAIO Care stuff where it was supposed to be and run it; there’ll be a couple useful programs that got skipped, like maybe the DVD player software.

A clean install would probably be the best approach, in that you have complete control over what you install (and, I think, over the drive partitions), but it’s more work and easier to mess up. A true clean install means finding a disc image of just Windows 7 and burning it to a disc, finding and copying all the drivers to a flash drive or cd, and installing each individual item manually, resetting after every step. It’d be relatively easy to miss a driver or to get an outdated version, the latter even if you’re using a guide from somewhere like the Notebook Review forums.

…And…it failed. The ordinary reinstall didn’t work, and it said I need to redo the installation. Well, forget copying the VAIO Recovery Center folder, I’ll just have to look for a download if it’s missing anything. I’m doing the hack install, and re-partitioning my drive while I’m at it. (A 50GB partition for program files, 400ish for data, and the pre-set size for the recovery partition.)

Wish me luck.

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