While re-installing Windows operating system, following steps are recommended to be used for easy restoring process later on.
1. Run some key extracter utility (like Belarc Advisor) on the damaged Windows instance in order to have the list of all installed drivers, software keys and other system information saved.
2. Backup hardware drivers using DoubleDriver or any similar utility (hardware backup is recommended only if reinstalling same operating system type).
3. Backup all systems settings like:
a. Internet Dialup connections
b. Outlook / Outlook Express profiles & data files
c. User’s profile directory (including Favorites, My Documents etc.)
d. Backup passwords: IE logins, internet dialup, email login, Wireless etc.)
4. Save the settings on the damaged Windows instance by using the "Files and Settings Transfer Wizard" located at: %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\usmt\migwiz.exe
5. Install the new Windows instance using installation CD or using image made by Sysprep.
6. Insert the registration key according to the customer's key.
7. Restore settings using: %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\usmt\migwiz.exe
8. Verify all HW drivers are installed correctly
9. Run windows update to install latest security and system updates.
10. Restore Internet connection, user’s profile, Outlook/Outlook Express profiles & data files,
11. Install basic useful software:
- Adobe Flasfh plugin
- Adobe Acrobat reader
- Zip tools
- Antivirus + DB update
- Media Player
- Extended Fonts folder
Tip: Make an image of the installed OS so next time you will restore it via 30 minutes :)
Good Luck !