ThinkPad Windows 7 clean install

[updated 27 Mar 2011]
With Windows 7 (update) and ThinkVantage System Update a clean install is very easy and fast.
  • Update Bios
    • Only if the new version has features you want.
  • Configure Bios
    • Enable AHCI on SATA controller
    • Disable unneeded devices in BIOS
      I assume this improves startup time because Windows does not load unneeded drivers

      • Disable serial port, …
      • Under Security(!), Devices
        Disable unneeded devices
  • Install Win7
  • Let Windows Update install Win7 Updates
    On notebooks I configure Windows Update as “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them”
    because I want control over when updates are downloaded and installed.
  • Install INF-Update
    So that Win7 might identify more devices.
    Rerun Windows Update (not sure if needed).
  • Install ThinkVantage System Update
  • Force System Update to install tools with English UIs
    System Update uses the computers Regional Settings (Ex: GE) to determine the language it uses when installing drivers and apps instead of the OS language (Ex: EN).

    • Start System Update once without letting it install anything
    • Add a REG_SZ key named “LanguageOverride with Value “EN” under
      32bit: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Lenovo\System Update”.
      64bit: “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Lenovo\System Update”.
  • Using ThinkVantage System Update
    • Install (see Windows 7 and ThinkVantage Technologies)
      • ThinkPad Power Manager, Power Management Driver
        Is better optimized for ThinkPads than standard Win7 power management.
      • Thinkpad HotKey Features
      • SoundMax Audio Software
      • Lenovo System Interface Driver
      • ThinkPad Device Experience
    • Optionally install
      • Intel Matrix Manager (Rapid Storage Technology) driver.
        To enable NCQ (c’t Magazin 8/2011 “Der richtige Antrieb” claims that the standard Win7 msahci.sys driver does not enable NCQ).
        If you need raid support.
        If using a SSD: Only install Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver Ver 9.6.9.1014 or newer.
        Earlier versions do not support Win7 Trim.
      • ThinkVantage Toolbox (PC Doctor)
        See video.
        Remove its toolbar from the Windows Task Bar (to allow small icons).
        I disabled the scheduled Hardware check under “Settings”.
        Seems not to impose a performance penalty.
      • Access Connections
        The Win7 standard is sufficient for me
      • ThinkVantage Active Protection System
        Only if you have a non-SSD drive
    • Make ThinkVantage System Update work with Windows 7 SP1:
      To fix error “An error occurred while gathering user information”:

      Add an SP1 entry to:
      c:\Program Files (x86)\Lenovo\System Update\session\system\SSClientCommon\MappingInterface.xml
  • Use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer files and settings from another computer
  • BTW: Win7 defrag does automatically exclude SSDs from defrag.
    There is no need to manually disable defrag for SSDs.
    Even with a defrag /c (all volumes) does not touch SSDs.
  • Do a disc cleanup to free space

About Peter Meinl

IT Consultant
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