HOW TO: Clean Windows 7 Install (Driver Install Order) Guide for Alienware Systems

Discussion in 'Alienware' started by BatBoy, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    Greetings fellow Alienware Owners... We frequently have folks post asking about driver install order when clean installing Windows 7, what apps to install in order to monitor the system, etc. Some of you have already shared your clean install process with the forum, many thanks for contributing.

    Below is the driver install order I use. I have not run into any driver conflicts using this order and each clean install has completed without any odd issues. At the end of the 'guide' I have also included links to a couple of handy apps/utilities which I use.


    Concerning AlienRespawn / Dell DataSafe Local:
    Before performing a clean install, please do take the time to create your emergency rescue option using AlienRespawn. This will help if you ever need to revert back to an 'out of box' state.

    Although it is possible to 'keep' AlienRespawn or Dell DataSafe Local installed on the system with a clean install, I find that its really not necessary (can also be a bit complicated for new users). Just be sure you preserve the out of box state by creating the rescue media and in the event of a failure, you can easily respawn back to when you first unboxed your system. Another third party app for imaging can be used if you want to preserve the fresh install of W7.

    See this link for details on AlienRespawn:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...k-drive-aftermarket-drive-alienrespawn-q.html


    Dell Drivers:
    Recently, Dell made a change to their Driver Support page. As a result, all of the links I previously had here (to specific models) have broken. Please use this link to reach the Dell Driver Support Page for your model. NOTE: You may have to click 'Select A Different Product'.

    http://www.dell.com/support/drivers?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=anavml


    Driver Install Order for fresh Win7 installs:
    (NOTE 1: I suggest disabling Windows Automatic Driver Install before updating drivers - reference this LINK)
    (NOTE 2: I suggest disabling Windows Automatic Updates - reference this LINK. Once you have installed all of your drivers, re-enable Windows Update)
    (NOTE 3: If the driver installer prompts for a restart, be sure to do so before proceeding with the next driver)


    ****Regarding WebCam****
    Frequently we have folks ask where the webcam driver is so they can download it. The webcam does not require a device driver. It uses the microsoft driver. For the webcam software which came pre-installed with your system, see below, item #15.


    1. Chipset Driver
    2. USB 3.0 Driver (11xR3, 14x, 17xR3, 18x only)
    3. Intel RST Driver / Intel Management Engine
    4. Freefall Sensor Driver (Optional - many members choose not to install this. Also, as long as your drive supports it, the 'App' will work with aftermarket drivers)
    5. Alienware On-Screen Display Driver

    6. INTEL/AMD/NVIDIA Display Driver
    • Optimus systems require the Intel Driver be installed prior to the NV Driver. So if you have an M11xR2/R3, M14x or M17xR3, install the Intel Driver FIRST.

    • If you have a 17xR3 with 3D option, Optimus does not apply to you and the Intel driver is not needed

    • For M17xR3 with AMD, install the AMD Display Driver. AMD owners report the Intel HD Graphics driver is included with the AMD installer.

    • For M18x with AMD,
      If you are unable to switch between the AMD GPUs and the iGPU (Intel HD 3000), try the following:

      1. FN+F7 to initiate the GPU switch call.

      You will be greeted by a dialog box:

      2. Select 'Yes' and the system will shutdown.
      3. Once the shutdown has completed, power up the system.
      4. When you are back at the desktop, run the IntelHD driver installer (grab it from the M18x Driver Download page - linked earlier in this post).
      5. Once the driver is installed, reboot and when you return to the desktop, hit FN+F7 again (dialog box will display).
      6. Select 'Yes' to switch and the system will again shutdown.
      7. Once you power back up you will again be in discrete mode (AMD GPUs active).

      Done - iGPU driver has been installed.

    7. LAN Driver
    8. Wireless Network Driver
    9. Audio Driver
    10. Bluetooth Driver
    11. Touchpad Driver
    12. Media Card Reader Driver
    13. Remote Control/Infrared Driver (Older systems - M15x, M17xR1/R2)

    14. Alienware Command Center
    NOTE: Command Center should always be installed last.

    15. Log in over @ https://smartsource.dell.com to grab any apps which came bundled with your system that were not included on the Resource DVD. Webcam application is one of them.


    Recommended Updates after Installing W7:
    Once all of this is done, proceed with the following:

    1. Update/Install Flash
    (NOTE: Be sure to uncheck the 'Install Google toolbar' option - lol)

    2. Update/Install Java
    (NOTE: Be sure to uncheck the 'Install McAfee Security Scan' option - lol)

    3. Update DirectX

    4. Update OS by launching Windows Update

    *IMPORTANT NOTE:* If you disabled Windows Automatic Updates as suggested at the start of the driver install order portion of this guide, feel free to re-enable automatic updates now (if you like - not necessary, but easy to do if you want)

    (NOTE: Once Win 7 SP1 has been installed, be sure to remove the service pack installation files. Right click on your boot drive (C:\) and select 'Properties'. Click the 'Disk Cleanup' button and then check the option to remove 'Service Pack Backup Files', select 'OK'. This will remove all of the SP backup files and free up space.)


    Handy Utilities and Apps:
    Once this is complete, proceed with any apps, games, etc. A short list of apps/utilities I use follows:

    1. Piriform's CCleaner - very handy for cleaning up after driver/app uninstalls.
    CCleaner - Optimization and Cleaning - Free Download

    2. Auslogic's Disk Defrag - quickest defrag utility I have found.
    Disk Defrag - Fast and Safe Defragmenter for Your Disks

    ------------------------------

    3. CPU-Z - Yes, we all need a trusty CPU information app
    CPUID - System & hardware benchmark, monitoring, reporting

    4. HW Monitor - A handy monitoring app useful for keeping an eye on temps
    CPUID - System & hardware benchmark, monitoring, reporting

    5. GPU-Z - GPU information Tool
    GPU-Z Video card GPU Information Utility

    6. Speccy - System Information Tool from the makers of CCleaner
    Speccy - System Information - Free Download

    ------------------------------

    7. WhoCrashed - This is a very cool crash dump analyzer for anyone who is not familar with using the Windows SDK to troubleshoot issues. WhoCrashed can point you in the right direction when investigating a crash/BSOD and provides useful data which can then be shared here on the forum for additional advice/help.
    Resplendence Software - Advanced System Tools and Developer Components

    8. LatencyMon - A much more useful DPC Latency Checker which provides quite a bit of info which can help you pinpoint the offending device/driver/app. If you are encountering DPC Audio dropouts or other issues which may be related to DPC, give this one a try.
    Resplendence Software - LatencyMon: DPC, ISR and pagefault execution monitor

    9. Notepad++ - Very versatile source code editor and a great alternative to Microsoft's Notepad
    Notepad++ | 5.8.7


    Restoring the "Alienware Look and Feel":
    After your apps, utilities and games have been installed, its time to restore the Alienware 'look and feel'.

    Please see this thread for further instructions:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...ook-feel-after-clean-install-windows-7-a.html

    Also, don't forget your Alienware Font pack ;)



    Wrap Up:
    Well, you should now have a fresh install of Windows 7. At this point, how you proceed is your call. I will add additional apps/utilities as I think of them...


    Have fun clean installing W7! :)
     
    Lasted edited by : May 8, 2015
  2. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    link added to AW General Info Sticky
     
  3. jmat46

    jmat46 Newbie

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    hi I'm new here, do not speak English very well :eek: , I have a question for Bat Boy, how I can keep my data safe from alienware and then do a clean install? thanks


    Concerning AlienRespawn / Dell DataSafe Local:
    Before performing a clean install, please do take the time to create your emergency rescue option using AlienRespawn. This will help if you ever need to revert back to an 'out of box' state.

    Although it is possible to 'keep' AlienRespawn or Dell DataSafe Local installed on the system with a clean install, I find that its really not necessary (can also be a bit complicated for new users). Just be sure you preserve the out of box state by creating the rescue media and in the event of a failure, you can easily respawn back to when you first unboxed your system. Another third party app for imaging can be used if you want to preserve the fresh install of W7.
     
    Lasted edited by : May 8, 2015
  4. orijin

    orijin Notebook Evangelist NBR Reviewer

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    I recommend using a second partition on your computer if you have one. If not you should make one, it technically only takes one hard drive to do this.

    Safest way is to have two hard drives one serving as the file storage on your computer.

    My alienware m17x uses a 256gb ssd and the secondary drive is a 1tb drive.
     
  5. jmat46

    jmat46 Newbie

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    thanks for the reply, but I have only one hdd and my laptop is a m15x, so I would like to know how to back up the recovery partition
     
  6. steviejones133

    steviejones133 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    If you created "recovery media", you should be able to install windows to the SSD from that. It will reinstall the recovery partition.
     
  7. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    LOL - I knew this would come up. ;)

    When you clean install W7, in order to keep the recovery partition you will need to instruct the W7 installer only to install to the C: partition. Do not delete any partitions.

    Once the OS install has completed, you will need to install AlienRespawn. See the following post (#2 link)
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...tasafe-software-respawn-faq-discussion-2.html

    Once complete, you should then be able to use AlienRespawn again - I say 'should' since I haven't confirmed this is possible. Just keep in mind that the recovery partition will be back to the out of box state and NOT your clean install state.

    The best solution - use a third party app to image the drive once you have performed your clean install. Ghost, Acronis or any of the others will do just fine and you'll just need to supply an external drive to send the image to - or, over the network.
     
  8. jmat46

    jmat46 Newbie

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    thank you very much, I look now
     
  9. I Never Relax

    I Never Relax Notebook Consultant

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    If I were to do this on an M17X R3 with a 6970M, would I also need to install the IGP driver, then the AMD driver?

    Curious b/c it has graphics switching.
     
  10. BatBoy

    BatBoy NBR Community Moderator

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    Updated driver order with 17xR3 AMD/Intel best guess. :)
     

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