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I am currently re-installing Vista on an older laptop. Started Updates (105 critical and recommended) at 2PM today. It is still installing with 10 left to go. I imagine when I get this batch installed and re-booted there will be another bunch. Un-freaking-believable.

This is my first Vista experience.
 

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You should slipstream all the existing service packs onto a new install disc and the update procedure is much less painful.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Other than the incredibly long wait it was easy. A few clicks.

I seemed to have lucked out. It just finished installing and the second reboot only found 1 more update.
 

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I think I have a original Windows XP disc around here somewhere that, once installed, would top that.

Of course, it would only be fair to use it in equally slow hardware.

I also recently did a install of MacOS X 10.5 recently on a Core Duo Mac Mini, It took many hours for the updates to download and install.

I think the length of time for computers to perform updates is often a function of the speed of the hard drive, since it's usually bottlenecked by the hard drive. Old slow laptop drives are probably the worst case scenario. Well, worst realistic scenario. I'm sure we could dig up floppy drives and figure out how to make this process slower.

The reason I say this is that SP1 for Windows 7 took about ~10-12 minutes from me to click the update button in Windows update until my computer was rebooted and back to the desktop. This is on a Sandy Bridge i7 2600K, 16GB RAM, and a 120GB Sandforce SF-1200 based SSD as the OS drive, and on Shaw's Warp internet service.
 

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One person who I help with their computer use it primarily for downloaded games off the internet (lets not go there, I just grind my teeth and "fix it" :) ) my procedure is, (WinXP SP2), blow away the partitions, reinstall the OS, install SP3 from CD BEFORE the system is allowed to hit the internet and then immediately run Windows Update. My experience has been that doing this many times I find that early morning weekdays or weekends on a cable internet connection gets me the fastest download times and overall speed of install of both service packs and updates. The 72 updates figure appears to be quite accurate for WinXP. As a workday wears on, or later on Saturdays I find MS servers slow down, and turnaround from update request to fulfillment slows down dramatically.

Once updates are done, an AV product is installed before anything else. The user is aware of my "procedure" and knows that their PC usage methods will result in a fresh install each time, and anything saved gets blown away, including acquired viruses. :)

Cameron
 

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So why not install the OS, apply Windows updates and then take a disk image? That's what I do. That way, a fresh install only takes about 30 minutes plus a few minutes for the latest updates. Then a new image can be made. I also make and image after installing drivers and major software packages. Again, that's just a 30 minute restore. Then I make daily incremental updates. That way, if the system is irretrievably nuked on Tuesday, I can go back a day or two (or any day in the last 6 months) and very little is lost. Some disk imaging software can even restore to different hardware. I've used that to make a master image for 2 HTPCs.

Jake, I've got to wonder if your internet speed is a little slow.
 

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I just had my hard drive replaced on one of my laptops and spent the better part of 4 hours and several restarts to update up through Vista and SP2. Now it's back in of course so I guess it wasn't the drive after all. ;)

On another note, I have a Gateway with Vista and it keeps failing to install the SP2.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jake, I've got to wonder if your internet speed is a little slow.
The internet speed is not a problem. In fact the updates were already downloaded when I started. It spent what seemed like 6 hours on .net 3.5. It seems to be a common forum topic.
 

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What's the best software to use these days to take an image of a windows drive? XP and/or Windows 7? I hate hate hate hate all those updates every time I do a new install.
Plus, isn't your computer sitting "naked" and exposed to all the nasties out there while those security updates are being downloaded and installed?
 

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Nuje, I use Acronis True Image. It's getting expensive and bloated though. Auslogics has a free product that seems to work well.
 

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I just threw together spare parts to make an experimental XP machine (primarily to install iTune on to attemt to restore a dead iPod).

I installed my original Xp Home, then installed SP1 and SP3, and 94 updates.

I made an image through Linux, using basic dd and bzip commands. For some reason, it took around 8 hours, for an 18GB image.
 

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In doing something else today, I stumbled across this WSUS thing:
http://download.wsusoffline.net/

It basically puts all Windows (and Office and .NET Framework, etc., etc. - you can choose which you want) updates onto a USB stick that you can then use to do an offline update of a new installation.

I tried it out just with the Office updates, and it seemed to work quite well.
 

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Speaking of which has anyone booted and installed a Windows OS from a USB stick? The read speeds should be 10X faster.
 

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My experience with booting from a USB stick is that seek times are well over 10x faster, but if the optical drive is doing sequential reads for most of the file copy / OS install then the difference isn't nearly as big for low end/slow USB sticks. This is where you really notice the difference with faster flash memory (in the more expensive USB sticks).

Of course, the big plus of using a USB stick for a OS install is that you can copy the correct drivers onto the drive right before your install (e.g. RAID controller drivers, network drivers) whereas you'd need a separate storage device if you're using optical media, or you need to burn a special copy just for that install. I haven't used a CD/DVD to install a OS for over 2 years now.
 

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Speaking of which has anyone booted and installed a Windows OS from a USB stick?
I've done it. The file initial file copy is faster but the rest is still slow as molasses. A search will turn up instructions fairly easily. As DWL said, applying updates, especially SP1, ahead of time may be the biggest advantage.

Downloading SP1 and using a USB drive also a good way to apply SP1 to multiple computers.
 

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OK now my XP netbook is trying to install .net framework 4. Two hours in and still only about 50% along the progress bar. The download took a few minutes. Man I can't believe how pitiful Windows updates are. I have converted the Vista laptop to Ubuntu and this Netbook is next. Here is how idiotic windows is. I launch the Windows Update from the START menu and select 9 updates to install. As it is about half downloaded the auto update process wakes up and says "Hey there are updates" Auto or custom install them? I can see my other updates starting to install. But what a confused mess I now have. I have two updates running and two sets of dialog boxes. I managed to cancel the second instance.

Now I know what you are going to say "yeah but you are using XP and it is old". And I am going to say "yeah but I represent the majority of users". :)
 
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