HOW TO: Windows Installation Thread (includes SATA III, SSD Upgrade, RAID0 Discussion)

Discussion in 'Alienware' started by Mr. Fox, Aug 6, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. tecrp7

    tecrp7 Notebook Consultant

    Reputations:
    34
    Messages:
    256
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Here is a link to a Microsoft usb tool that installs Windows 7 to a thumb driver or HDD that is at least 4GB in size.

    Microsoft Store

    If you don't use the lights or anything then you don't need the Alienware software. You do need the drivers for the rest of the hardware in your computer.
     
  2. Optimistic Prime

    Optimistic Prime Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    572
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    95
    Trophy Points:
    41
    In my opinion, clean installing Windows 7 to your SSD is the best route. Doing it this way will likely ensure better performance, overall. By cloning from an HDD to SSD, the partition may not align properly and could cause reduced performance and extra wear on the SSD. After installing drivers and ensuring everything is working properly, I would install AlienRespawn, which will create a backup of your installation. The whole process really shouldn't take too long.

    As far as drivers, I would recommend downloading the latest from the website and ignore the included driver disk completely.

    Edit: Woah, my phone totally wasn't loading a bunch of posts. My opinion still stands, though. :p
     
  3. ped

    ped Notebook Guru

    Reputations:
    2
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Copying from another thread as this one seems most relevant:

    Had a question for your Mr. Fox, see you mention Windows 8 often enough, and know you did quite a bit a tweaking to get it where you wanted. So was thinking of upgrading to Win 8 myself on my m18x, but pulled out after seeing so much negative criticism. Perhaps related to the UI formerly known as Metro (or Modern UI as you call it. :) ).

    So now that you've had it running for awhile, seem to like it quite a bit. Do you think it's worth the time, tweaking, and energy for those of us who have Win 7 to make the leap? Of course can get anyone else's opinion as well, but Mr. Fox is the only poster I've seen as of yet saying they liked Win 8 alot. :D Heh heh.

    Cheers.
     
  4. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

    Reputations:
    28,182
    Messages:
    34,758
    Likes Received:
    54,781
    Trophy Points:
    931
    There are actually a couple of threads where your questions would be equally relevant in addition to this one. I have posted a lot in both of these threads, too.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/ali...upport-thread-questions-discussions-here.html

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/alienware/708240-windows-7-8-a.html

    I hated Windows 8 to begin with and it is a love/hate relationship even now. The hate part is two-fold. (1) the stock flavor of Windows 8 literally blows chunks in my view. (2) the "evil plan" with Windows 8 involves the next level is draconian controls with UEFI-based hardware certification and Gestapo-grade control over end users much like Apple has become infamous for. The next generation UEFI nightmare has potential to utterly DESTROY the autonomy that enthusiasts have enjoyed for years.

    The move to Windows 8 is inevitable and I made a decision to move early and work through the issues so I could come out on top in the end. Windows 7 is still the better OS for enthusiasts in most ways, but it is on the pathway to obscurity as a legacy OS. Windows 8 tends to hinder CPU performance a bit. But, it has some features that are pretty sweet that help compensate for the loss.

    Here are lists of the tweaks I have done (as many as I can remember) to make Windows 8 what I consider to be a really great OS.

    • Install Stardock Star8
    • Install Stardock Decor8
    • Install Stardock ModernMix
    • Install Stardock WindowsBlinds 8
    • Install Stardock SkinStudio
    The above apps take care of all the Windows 8 icky/ugly cartoon UI issues. It is extremely rare that I visit the Start screen (Modern UI) because it just sucks. When I have to, it is now tweaked to look a lot more like the desktop with tacky tiles instead of elegant icons. I have also done the following tweaks, a few of which I also applied in Windows 7:

    • Set BIOS to Legacy Boot mode (no Secure Boot certificate crap for this guy, no thanks)
    • Install Windows 8 using a local account (no Micro$oft account sign-in feature except Windows Store)
    • Disable Windows 8 "Smart Screen" feature
    • Disable Micro$oft Updates (must be checked for, run and installed manually)
    • Disable ugly "Space Needle" Windows 8 cartoonish Lock Screen (Group Policy Editor)
    • Disable driver signature enforcement, enable "Test Mode" permanently
    • My_WCP_Watermark_Editor (gets rid of watermark on desktop after the above tweak)
    • Disable UAC in Windows (all versions since Vista)
    • Take Ownership of everything on the HDD, including system files and folders wherever possible
    • Reg tweak to add "Copy/Move" to right-click menu
    • Disable Windows 8 desktop "hot corners"
    • Disable Windows 8 Charms Bar "hinting"
    • Disable Windows Hibernation functionality
    • Disable full-screen Modern Apps (launched from Start menu to desktop in windowed mode)
    • TinyWindowsBorders app tweak (fixes the idiotic über-thick window borders)
    • Reg tweak to add "Take Ownership" (adds feature to right-click menu)
    • Reg tweak to turn off "Notification Balloons" (idiotic status messages in your task bar)
    • Remove the ugly stock shortcut arrow and "shortcut to" (all versions of Windows)
      (I use FxVisor64 to add a small attractive blue arrow to identify shortcuts)
    • Change Group Policy to allow use of blank local area network passwords
    • Turn off password protected sharing on local area network
    • Give the "Everyone" user full control of all files on local area network shares

    I'm sure there is something I forgot to list... but, that covers most of it.

    [parsehtml]<iframe class='imgur-album' width='100%' height="550" frameborder='0' src="[URL]http://imgur.com/a/FvPXb/embed[/URL]"></iframe>[/parsehtml]
    [parsehtml]<iframe width='1280' height="720" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kTAqqfNH8zk?rel=0" frameborder='0' allowfullscreen></iframe>[/parsehtml]
     
    reborn2003 likes this.
  5. Optimistic Prime

    Optimistic Prime Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    572
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    95
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Mr. Fox, sometimes it feels as if we should start an Alienware tinfoil hat club. :D

    Really, though.. just look at that list you posted.. why in the world should someone have to do any of that just to have a functional system? I would say it's worth going ahead and moving over, given that you are willing to make many of those tweaks. The flexibility of the OS is it's most redeeming quality. The thing I dislike most about it is the direction Microsoft seems to be moving, as Mr. Fox alluded to.

    Love/hate relationship, indeed...
     
  6. ped

    ped Notebook Guru

    Reputations:
    2
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Holy schnikes batman!

    Those tweaks take over 1 full screen resolution at 1980x1080! I never realized that you really did all those changes to make it work. Honestly we all love to take advantage of your knowledge on this, and dang... what a list!

    Er ummmm.. hmm. Honestly other than it being ineviabable...(what?) inevidible (try again). things will inevitability change!!... not sure if Win8(.1) is worth it. I do however can completely see this love / hate shining through. :)

    LOL, tinfoil hats were removed as extras starting with the new 14/17/18 lines. Shucks..

    Happy Sunday!
     
  7. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

    Reputations:
    28,182
    Messages:
    34,758
    Likes Received:
    54,781
    Trophy Points:
    931
    And, a happy Sunday to you as well.

    Some of those tweaks are for aesthetic customization. The rest of them are implemented to forcibly take back control of things Windows 8 stole from end users to protect them from making what Micro$oft thinks are mistakes or security risks. I won't have Micro$oft making any of those decisions for me as long as I have a say in the matter.
     
  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

    Reputations:
    28,182
    Messages:
    34,758
    Likes Received:
    54,781
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Bumping for those wondering.
     
  9. gibson00

    gibson00 Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    0
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    So, if your system came with a regular hard drive, if you make the alienspawn usb backup, then simply install a ssd into the empty bay, then insert usb and reboot, go to bios to move that new ssd to the top, and usb into second spot, will that not work to setup the new ssd as your main boot drive?
     
    Mr. Fox likes this.
  10. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

    Reputations:
    28,182
    Messages:
    34,758
    Likes Received:
    54,781
    Trophy Points:
    931
    No, not unless your SSD is the same size or larger than the HDD. Respawn is not a full-featured imaging or cloning program. It makes a sector-by-sector copy of the drive. It is intended to restore the factory-fresh OS on the same drive it was originally installed on and create USB or optical media to do perform the same drive restore function. It is a good program and works well within its intended limitations.

    You can use an aftermarket cloning utility to clone your HDD to SSD regardless of size. There are a number of free options out there. Seagate and Western Digital include free versions of Acronis True Image that function as long as a drive of their brand is present. Check the web site of the manufacturer for the HDD brand that arrives in your new system and you may find something there.

    Be aware that cloning from HDD to SSD often results in degraded performance on the SSD. Doing a clean OS install to SSD is preferable. Some folks have cloned HDD to SSD and been happy with the results. Others, including myself, have tried it several times and found the read/write performance was less than expected. There is no harm in trying it to see if it performs well. If not, you can always do a clean OS install on the new SSD later.
     
    Perfect Stranger likes this.
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page