It had been a while since I rebuilt my computer so I decided to do it over Thanksgiving break. I was amazed at how quickly it went! Windows 8.1 installed off a USB key in the blink of an eye. I probably could have used the reset functionality built into Windows 8 but I really wanted to do a bare bones completely clean install. Windows 8.1 remembers pretty much every customization I did to the machine and even all of the apps that I had downloaded from the Windows Store. Office and a few other desktop apps required manual install, but Office 2013 is takes literally a couple minutes to install.
I also gave Ninite a try for the first time. It’s free to use and it streamlines the install of some of the most popular apps. Put a check next to whatever you want to install (Chrome, 7-Zip, Skype, Notepad++, ImgBurn, Steam, etc) and it will install them with default settings and tell you when it’s done. It saves so much mindless clicking!
The final thing that made the reinstall so quick and painless is that all of my files are backed up in the cloud. So I didn’t think twice before formatting my hard drive. I knew if I had forgotten some important files, I could quickly restore them from a backup.
I remember when a task like this used to take the whole weekend or more. This time I fired it off before going to bed, clicked a few buttons in the morning, and I was pretty much done!