LockedHow To: Install Vista with Retail/OEM disk and/or Optimize it

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2009/10/01 07:53:23 (permalink)
(Originally posted by forum member R0b0tc0rpse)
Vista installation guide With or with out SP1 integrated. *Special instructions for SP1 installation  

So you have picked your version of Vista, (if not: http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=471443 ) so let's get ready to install:  

Things you will need:
Windows Install Disk
Valid Windows Key
A Computer
A Keyboard
A Mouse
A Monitor
Possibly a print out of this or another machine with this open near by
A pencil and scratch paper to keep track of what you have already done
External storage medium for back up images, or partition/drive for images.
Internet connection
and above all...
Patience, don't skip steps because that will just cause headaches down the road. I've installed Vista umpteen times and thats one thing I've learned the hard way.

***It is always best to do a clean install on a blank drive. Upgrading a current install of another version of Windows is sketchy at best. If you do this keep in mind you can only upgrade a 32 bit version of Windows to a 32 bit version of Vista, and a 64 bit version of windows to a 64 bit version of Vista, you cannot go from 32 to 64 or 64 to 32. These tweaks and instructions will assume you are doing a fresh install and I cannot guarantee how they will work on an 'upgrade'.***

***This thread is for references purposed only, and if you break something with the information contained here in, or in any of the threads linked, I am not responsible. All risks or concerns related with these tweaks may not be expressed in the instructions (though I tried to be as complete as possible). Editing your registry is not for amateurs and while all of these changes are reversible, if you mistakenly change something you aren't supposed to your computer may not work.***


When you buy retail you will get both the 32 bit and 64 bit installation Cd's and your keys will be good for both, you can even dual boot it. IIRC at launch, all retail boxes included both disks, and now, only the Ultimate includes the DVD with 64 bit on it, unless otherwise specified. If you buy a system builders pack from newegg/etailers you will have to chose which you want and you will not be able to receive the other version from Microsoft. Here is the link to order the 64 bit DVD


Do not install while hooked up to your LAN/Modem. We don’t want it going on the INTERNET to get drivers on its own.

Once you have your new computer assembled, or your old computer formatted, you set your first boot device to your CD ROM.  

Drop the CD in and reboot the machine and it will load to the windows installation.  

After entering your CD key you will be prompted to load drivers for your raid controller. If you are running a raid array, load your drivers. Configure your drive(s) and partitions how you want. With my 750 GB 32MB cache Seagate I made 2 partitions of 50 GB, one for the OS, one for possible 32 bit installation, which never happened and now I use it for back up images, and one large 600 GB partition. Make sure you format all your partitions AND you don’t leave any unallocated space, other wise once you get into windows the drive will be unusable (not formatted) or unrecognized (unallocated). Chose your drive for the install. I always made my OS partition partition 0. For single HDD set ups you always want your page file on your OS partition and you always want that partition to be the first partition on the disk. Windows will by default make the OS drive C regardless of its partition number, and then the other partitions will be labeled in order of their partition number. At this point my set up will be C: 50GB OS partition 0, D: 50 partition 1 GB, E: 600 GB. If you are using a raid array then you likely know how you want to choose your partitions. If it is your first raid array, you’ll have to look up that information on your own.  

Follow along, and chose not to activate automatically. Only activate after your hardware is in its final configuration and it’s best to wait to the very last day. (More information on that later)   

After this point The Vista installer will kind of take off on its own. Go grab a snickers and come back. It will restart a few times and come to a set-up interview. Name your computer what ever you want, create your user named what ever you want it to be.  

The computer will reboot. Go into the bios and set the boot device to your HDD. Re boot and windows will load the first time.  

(start here if you are already installed, or on an old installation, keep in mind most fixes, especially UAC is best done on a fresh install.)

You will likely get the Windows Customer Experience Improvement Program nag box, here’s how to get rid of it:  

Log in, and it is my recommendation to immediately enable the super admin account:   http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=468119  

Log out of the account created during installation and log into the new super admin account. Making sure you changed its name to what you want to use before logging into it.  

If you are not going to use this account continue on, the steps are the same from here on out.  

I disable the sidebar, it is more or less useless and uses way too much ram. You can tailor it to your tastes or remove it completely. Also at this point take the time to stream line the start menu by removing music, movies, games, help, etc, and adding expanding control panel, admin tools, and putting back the run command.  

First you need to disable UAC before installing any programs or drivers. 

Those instructions are found here:  

After you disable UAC, I recommend doing the following security tweaks:   http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=470378

After that, these drive and file optimizations will speed you up:   http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=470338  

Make sure to do these registry changes in Regedit:

; Specifies the time, following user input, during which the system keeps apps from moving into the foreground.
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop]
**VERY useful  makes windows a lot snappier.

; Faster Shutdown, may cause an error at shutdown with misbehaving apps
**Time before windows auto end tasks a service that wont close during shut down, makes windows shut down faster. Default is 20 seconds, WOW! 

Then, here are some suggestions for what services you can disable to save some ram:   http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=470444

Just don’t disable windows update yet… (come back after updating windows and turn it off) 
At this point, I would recommend you create a backup image of your drives. Install your drivers, and then create a second image.

After driver installation it is now safe to connect the machine to the internet/lan. Run windows update and get all the important updates and 64 bit updates (if you are running 64 bit) I would NOT recommend downloading optional updates like games, themes and language packs. Do not download drivers at this point, unless you want to use the windows driver for that device (my monitor, for example, had the correct driver available through windows update). Make sure you use the correct (64/32 bit) version of your drivers and any other software you install on your computer. If you are running 64 bit vista, only install a 32 bit app if you MUST have it and there is NO 64 bit version of it.  

If you are having issues running install or uninstall programs in safe mode, try this fix:   http://forums.evga.comarchive/tm.asp?m=468134

Once this is all done, navigate to C:\windows\prefetch  
Sort them by file type and delete all .PF files. This will make windows rebuild the superfetch and remove old things that we disabled. (Some things will take longer to load the first few times, but it will be MUCH quicker after that).  

Boot into safe mode and run disk clean up and defragment your hard drive.  

Note:   You can speed up disk clean up loading by having it skip the compress old files scan. Copy paste this into notepad and save it as cleanup.REG then run the file, clicking yes that you want to add it to the registry.  

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files]

Or open a command prompt and type REG DELETE HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files

Then, if everything is well, create the final backup image of your new, slimmer Vista install.   There will be a special note for those whose Windows disk did not include SP1. If you are one of these people, hold off on the prefetch delete, defrag, and final image until you have installed SP1, and are happy with it, because I will write up how to remove the SP1 installation and un-installation files to save disk space. Once you do that, however, you can never go back from SP1 with out loading an image from before installing it. So it is up to you. SP1 is fine for me and the disk space is likely worth it.  

Remove SP1 install/uninstall files:

At this point you can reclaim more disk space by doing the following:

If you are happy at this point and nothing seems wrong you can delete the extra images, or save them for having a drive free-image to revert to for new drivers. I like having 1 image with windows + drivers, and one image of windows + driver + all my games and apps I care about. I also keep a separate backup of my steam and WOW installation.  

I have some more memory saving recommendations for the MSCONFIG dialog that I will add later.        

ALSO, I have found an interesting tool that allows you to customize your Windows installation from the start, so you can create an install disk with all these changes already set, and even chose not to install things like WMP11 that is integrated into VISTA and will not let you remove it. Once I test this program thoroughly myself, I will make a write up on how to use it to achieve an even cleaner Vista install. I don’t want to recommend a program I haven’t tested myself yet, but I will let you guys know.  

These are some tools I use regularly
Autoruns – lots of registry information and driver file information on what is being loaded by windows, you can disable anything
Highjackthis – makes a registry dump of what is currently loaded and you can find spyware/hijackers and annihilate them
Drivercleaner – removes old drivers
AVGfree – Best virus protection no money can buy. I install it, update it, run it and remove it if I think I have a virus. I have been running this machine for 3 months with out a virus scanner, and this current install has never had a virus scan on it. I imagine I could share the entire drive and have my other machine scan the drive. Above all security programs I recommend you have web sense, know what website you’re going to, know what program you are installing and don’t install gimmick programs and go to stupid links. Know who’s attachment you are opening and make sure its something you knew they were sending you. Don’t open little game or joke attachments; they are usually some form of infection.

Hope this helps you make Vista into more like how it should have shipped, nag free, less restrictive, and much lighter weight.

Personally I saw around 40% reduction in used physical memory after doing most of what I described here.  You should save several hundred megs. I was up near 1.5 GB of ram used on a normal Vista install, and now after learning all this and doing a several fresh installs it got down under 900mb.

*edited for formating, links, additions
post edited by rjohnson11 - 2009/11/23 08:54:12

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