General discussion

Can I create my own Windows 7 recovery disc without all the bloatware?

Jun 11, 2010 5:33AM PDT
Can I create my own Windows 7 recovery disc without all the bloatware?

I recently purchased an HP desktop PC to replace an old Dell. It came with Windows 7 and, unfortunately, a lot of bloatware came preinstalled on it. I would like to do a clean Windows 7 install. The only disks I have for the operating system are the recovery disks that I created from the factory install partition. Unfortunately, it installs not only the Windows 7 operating system, but also reinstalls all of the bloatware.

I have seen utilities that will create a Windows XP install disk from an existing installation. I would like to do the same for Windows 7. Are any of your readers aware of a way to create a Windows 7 only reinstall disk from the existing system installed on a Windows 7 machine? If there are, can you please recommend them and tell me why you recommend them? Are these types of utilities simple to use and reliable? Please let me know if there any things I should made aware of about these utilities before I proceed. Thanks for you help.

--Submitted by Rick Z.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

It's possible to create Windows 7 recovery disc --Submitted by thljcl

Making a clean recovery disk --Submitted by Fireboss

Use the Official MS Windows 7 ISO image to make a Disk --Submitted by charleswsheets

Use Windows System Image in Backup and Restore --Submitted by j_a_s_p_e_r

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have an answer for Rick, please submit it here. Be as detailed as possible when providing a solution. If you are recommending a specific utility, please include a link for reference. Thanks!

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I've not heard of any such software.
Jun 11, 2010 9:15AM PDT

What I can suggest is that you uninstall all the stuff you don't want.
When you have trimmed down, use something like Acronis True Image (my choice) to create an image of your drive to an external drive and or dvd's, The Acronis boot disk will allow you to restore the system from the disk image file, even if you have a hard disk failure and need to replace it with a new one.
The latest version is certified for Windows 7.

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Jun 11, 2010 9:18AM PDT

jonmor68 pegged it.

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Windows 7 recovery disc without all the bloatware?
Jun 11, 2010 10:04AM PDT

#1 What do you consider bloatware? If it's something integral to 7 forget it.
#2 With XP I had the same issue, went to Control Panel removed the stuff I didn't want and made a new "recovery" disk.
Problem solved.
Hope this helps.

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I too am wondering what is
Jun 11, 2010 10:31AM PDT

being considered bloatware. I recently got a new HP laptop and really accept for a few external links, there really wasn't all that much bloatware. I remove the anti virus first then the office activation then Office trial. I will agree HP does put a lot of customer help programs that I am not a fan of but really they can be removed along the way and will take much less time them reimaging etc.. I also got a Compaq business class laptop with no crapware and it had Windows 7 basic and used Windows 7 disk image as it's restore route so I removed everything off it then did the disk image.

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Windows 7 Recovery
Jun 11, 2010 10:22AM PDT

The easiest and best way to create this is to use Acronis True Image Home 2010. It will create an image at any time and will also run on a schedule if you so desire. There are other imaging programs but this one I have used and know it will do the job at a reasonable price (not free). It can create a stand alone image at various times or, if you so desire, it can create incremental or differential backups on your schedule. You can, and should, create a boot disk, which this program will create for you, in the event your computer will not boot such as when (not if) the hard drive dies and then you can restore your image and you are back up and running in an hour or so right at the point in time your image was created. I think this program is on sale now also. Google Acronis True Image Home 2010.

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It's possible to create Windows 7 recovery disc
Jun 11, 2010 10:30AM PDT

You will need one CD and one or more DVDs. Reinstall Windows 7 with the recovery partition. Don't install any softares just yet. Uninstall all the softwares that are preinstalled in your PC. Search for 'backup' in Start menu. Select 'Backup and Restore' under 'Programs'. On the left side, select 'Create System Image'. You will have two options here: 'On a hard disk' and 'On One or More DVDs'. Select 'On One or More DVDs'. You will have to choose which drive to backup. Since you are going to create your own recovery disc, you only have to backup the drive with Windows 7 installed and other drives that you cannot opt out. After the backup process complete, it will ask you if you want create system repair disc. Put a CD in your DVD burner. You can then proceed to create system repair disc. Then you are done. There are several ways that you can reinstall your Windows. Of course, you can always use the Windows 7 installation Disc. But doing so you must backup the activation file first. After reinstalling the Windows 7, you can restore the activation file so that your Windows will be activated. You can download the tool here:

You can also use the Windows 7 recovery Discs that you created yourself. If you can still enter Windows 7, press F8 repeatedly before your Windows starts. You will have an option to recover your hard drive from the recovery discs you created yourself. If you cannot enter Windows 7, boot from System Repair Disc instead. Hope this will help you.

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Superflous bloatware.
Jun 11, 2010 10:31AM PDT

The way that I got around this and it also saves a lot of time, is to do an image (clone) of my machine after I rid it of all the bloatware. I use Acronis True Image and use the clone option. If ever I need to redo the system, it only takes 7 minutes to image back from a USB HD to the C:\.

I do this at least once a month, on the first day. This is my routine. No need to redo a full 2 hour OS and a cleaning of all the bloat. I am quite happy with this.

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Cloning with Acronis? Not quite
Jun 18, 2010 11:24AM PDT

I think you're using the incorrect terminology. "Cloning" in Acronis means actually moving your partitions onto your NEW drive and making it bootable. The options in Acronis is BACKING UP your data and you select which partition you want or click on the box to select the entire drive. "Cloning" is not an option here.

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Cloning with Acronis
Jun 18, 2010 6:44PM PDT

Acronis True Image provides two options, either BACKUP or CLONE AN ENTIRE DISK. This is my option too. When you have a fatal problem, just switch the drives.

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Windows 7 Without Bloatware
Jun 11, 2010 11:00AM PDT

Hi Rick-
Try this: First, strip off any bloatware and unwanted applications-go to strictly bare-bones. Back up your system using the Windows 7 DVD option. CREATE a system repair disc.
Wipe your computer clean with KillDisc. Insert the repair disc. Wait for the prompt the insert your backup dics.
Worked great for me. (HPIQ508 Win7 Untlmate.)

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making a clean recovery disk
Jun 11, 2010 11:59AM PDT

There are probably several ways to do this but this one works and costs nothing. I know this is for Win 7 but instructions are included for XP and Vista.
First download the free Paragon backup utility here:
Once you have cleaned the garbage from your system either bit by bit or using something like PC Decrapifier use Paragon to create a complete backup of your system to an external disk, a partition, another internal disk or (I believe) a network drive.

I recommend getting the free partition manager as well while you're there in case it's a new drive you're recovering to or you want to mess with the partitions.

Then download the appropriate Paragon Win PE maker.

If you are booted into Vista/XP use this version:

If you are booted into Win 7, use this version:

Instructions are the same for both versions:

1. Copy the contents of the 32 BIT Vista/7 install DVD , OR 32 BIT Win7 repair disc onto your boot partition (the one you are currently booted into, usually C ). I actually left mine on a network drive and sourced the files from there instead.

2. Right click and run as admin on the ParPeMakerVistaXP.cmd, or Parpecreatror7.cmd if you are using the Win 7 version

3. You will be asked to browse to boot.wim inside the "sources " folder of the windows install/repair disc files you have just copied onto your system.

4. Then you will be asked to browse to the launcher.exe of the Paragon product you wish to include. The Paragon product you wish to include must be installed on your system already of course.

You can include Paragon Partition Manager 2010 Free, or Partition Manager 10 Personal as well. Y

The windows 7 version ( parpecreator7 - which you can only run from within Windows 7 ) also offers to add 32 BIT drivers to the WinPE 3.0 media.

IF you don't have an install or repair disc to hand, The 32 BIT Win 7 ( WinPe 3.0 ) Repair disc is available for download from here:

You can burn the recovery program to a CD or DVD of course but you can also use a flash drive.

I hope this helps.

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Clean Backup on laptop
Jun 11, 2010 12:06PM PDT

It?s long winded but I did it this way use your recovery disks install all the settings IE email accounts then remove all the unwanted Junk then use something like Acronis 10 and make a recovery disk. I controlee 11 laptops and 3 desktops with the same problem as you have and it works for me.

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Win'7 without bloatware
Jun 11, 2010 12:18PM PDT

Remove all you think you don't need using Control Panel.
Make the system image.

The system image will include the sys recovery partition.
I guess in the future if you will have to recover from the sys image, it first will reinstall the Win7 with all bloat, but after that it will restore settings from the image without bloat.

Other way is to make a system recovery point. Look for Window Help.

By a way, I also use HP machine with WIN'7. I just remove from a desktop Icons I deem not needed, and that was it. I have 1TB of disk space, so it does not hurt to waste little bit of it. You never know what you will need tomorrow.
Of course, promotions should go. But system, especially Win'7, does not crash every day...

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Windows 7 recovery disk problem
Jun 11, 2010 12:25PM PDT

You should be able to use the disk they supplied with the PC.
Just choose to install the operating system, don't install the other junk.
Then go to the HP website, and download, and install the needed drivers for graphics, sound, ethernet, chipset etc.
Dells are the same, and I have done this before with no problems.

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I don't think that he has such option
Jun 11, 2010 12:48PM PDT

I use HP TouchSmart 300-1028d myself. That was a PC I bought on the last day of 2009. HP recovery will install the Windows 7 and all preinstalled softwaraes. I've no choice, unfortunately. I've tried the recovery disc I created myself. It turns out it doesn't work every time. Anyway, I don't reinstall Windows that often. I still remove most of the preinstalled softwares manually.

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yes you can
Jun 11, 2010 12:45PM PDT

paragon drive copy it on cnet..

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Uninstall all the bloatware after you reinstall
Jun 11, 2010 12:51PM PDT

Just uninstall any bloatware that came with the your Computer and you can create a new Back up to your OS on Several DVD's. There are a lot of freeware programs that allow you to do this. Vista and W-7 has a program built in that you can specify what to back up on a Recovery disc. Mine took 3 DVD. aor about 10 CD's

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Can I create my own Windows 7 recovery disc without all the
Jun 11, 2010 12:52PM PDT

Rick Z. 6-11-10
I hve fooled with computers for a long time with the same bloatware problem that you are having. The only way I no of is to install and then take off all the trail systems before you get them installed and then run a GHOST and then you will a more or less clean install or as close as you can get. There are other backup programs that will work.
You can install back on a seperate drive if possible you can in on DVD's If you have extra drives you could them for a backup which is somtimes more reliable and which you can install for a double check
Hope this helps


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Use System Image in Backup and Restore

Get Windows the way you want it with the bloatware removed and your favorites preloaded

Click the start button
Type Backup
Select "Back and Restore" or "Backup my Computer" (same thing)
On the left select "System Image"
Pick the media for the image

You probably also need a "system repair disk" (should be listed under "Sytem Image") to boot so you can load the system image.

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Be forewarned
Jun 18, 2010 11:37AM PDT

The only way I've gotten Windows 7's Backup and Restore to work with optical discs is by waiting to insert the disc until asked, and then opting to first have it formatted (only NTFS-formatted media will work with Backup and Restore). It doesn't always work, so I recommend using rewriteable (DVD+RW) discs with Windows Backup and Restore, unless you have money to throw away making coasters on one-shot discs.

The best free disk imaging utility that I have used is Paragon Backup & Recovery 10. It has evolved since version 9, and does much of the thinking for you. The free version gives you the option to create differential backups, saving space by backing up only changes since an initial full backup was made. When spanning an image across multiple DVDs, Backup & Recovery enables you to include the bootable recovery environment on one of them, so everything you need is included in case you ever have to replace your fixed hard drive.

That said, while some of the best things in life are free, the best disk imaging utilities are not. The leader of the industry is Acronis True Image 2010, which has also evolved from its predecessor and includes a "1-click backup" option that does exactly what its name suggests. When installed on your computer, simply clicking (actually double-clicking, in most cases) on the 1-click backup icon automatically recognizes the Windows drive and proceeds to create a full backup, or an incremental backup if a full backup already exists.

True Image likes external hard drives. If you have one plugged in, True Image will detect it and want to save your images there. If all you have is your internal hard drive, and if you don't have its space divided into multiple partitions (which most people don't), then True Image can automatically create an "Acronis Secure Zone" for you, borrowing space from C:. You can also backup to DVDs if you like, and again have the option of including the bootable Acronis recovery environment on the last disc.

Acronis True Image is designed with the consumer in mind, and keeps all the technical details to itself so you don't have to worry about them. It's the same software that Best Buy's Geek Squad uses if a customer requests an image backup. It is available at my local Best Buy store for as low as $19.99 (Acronis True Image Home 2010). Hope this helps!

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Jun 18, 2010 4:32PM PDT

Rewritable discs are indeed more expensive than one-shot discs. But they're good for over 1,000 rewrites, whereas one-shot discs are good for one. If you're only going to make one backup, say, a clean install sans bloatware, then maybe you would opt for a 10-pack of DVD+/-R and hope you don't burn too many coasters (preinstalled Windows 7 x64 will generally take 3-4 DVDs, not including the repair CD). But if you made so much as one mistake while cleaning up the bloatware (e.g. deleting shared DLLs, uninstalling a driver suite or useful OEM title), or if you intend to make more backups down the road, then one-shot discs may wind up costing you (and the environment) more. And you don't buy Acronis just to use it once.

To each his own, really. I have a LOT of programs on each of my machines that took me a long time to accumulate and configure to my liking. I make new backups of each unit from time to time. Most of them stay on HDD, but sometimes I want to burn a pivotal image to DVDs. After awhile, an image set that I burned months ago would be too far back in time to go. What do I do with the discs at that point, toss them? I don't care for the idea personally, especially since there are times when I will have created a whole new set before ever having the chance to run the old discs once. And I can't justify buying them and burning them just to throw them away. I also like having the recovery environment and last volume (really the first) on the same disc.

The choice is yours, whether you use Acronis or Windows Backup and Restore. Acronis won't make as many coasters, but again, you don't buy it just to use it once. With Backup and Restore, errors are far more likely. The user may slip up and forget to cater to the temperamental software's needs, and the unstable software may just produce a bad burn. In either instance, DVD+RW gets my vote.

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DVD-R and External Hard Drives
Jun 18, 2010 4:41PM PDT

DVDs can be used for backup the whole system with all the softwares without any of your personal datas. For your personal datas, I suggest that you save them separately to external hard drives, DVDs and online storage such as Windows Live SkyDrive. Hence, I see no use for DVD-RW.

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To each his own
Jun 18, 2010 9:39PM PDT

"For your personal datas, I suggest that you save them separately to external hard drives, DVDs and online storage such as Windows Live SkyDrive."
>>>>You suggest backing up frequently changing data files to one-shot recordables? How rude! This world does not have unlimited resources.

That said, I partition all my hard drives, and relocate My Documents and the like to D:. Two of my units sync data files to a PassPort; the office machine syncs to iDrive.

Unless you are a high-risk user who has to roll back Windows weekly to recover from malware infections, or an unproductive user who hasn't installed/uninstalled a program in years (not even those hundreds and hundreds of megabytes in MS Update and updates for third-party products), be aware that there are valid and practical uses for rewritable discs. For those less experienced than you and me, rewritable discs may in fact be the more economical (and ecological) solution, especially when dealing with a temperamental program like Windows Backup and Restore. It may not be for you, and that's just fine. But your point of view is not the only one. I will respect your needs and preferences; I'd appreciate if you would respect mine.

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I do recognize the values of DVD-RW
Jun 18, 2010 10:46PM PDT

DVD-RWs may have little use to me. However, most PC users don't use the PC the same I do. I'm giving my opinion according to my own need. I make decisions based on need and price. Back in 1990s, Floppy Disks were still choices to many people. In my opinion, USB Flash Drives are too expensive compared to DVD-RWs. In this era, perhaps DVD-RWs can serve as modern-day floppy Disks.

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Much better tone
Jun 19, 2010 9:03AM PDT

In my opinion, the problem with using optical discs for transporting data is that you can't simply add and delete files as you please, unless every machine you use has Nero InCD. You may be able to format the disc so you can keep adding files, but some drives won't be able to read discs that are "finalized" like that. And it's way too much work to offload the entire disc contents, quick-erase, and then reburn. You could spend as much as an hour doing that!

Flash drives are indeed more expensive per megabyte than optical discs, but it's hard to beat the convenience of mass R/W storage that fits in your pocket. Zip and Jaz succeeded floppy disks; flash memory succeeds Zip and Jaz. Optical discs aren't very closely related to these kinds of media. There's nothing wrong with them; they just serve a different purpose. They're cheaper, they have a long shelf life, they can serve as a ROM backup that you'll never lose, and they can boot a computer. Quick data transfer, however, is not really their function. They're also slower than flash memory and large-capacity magnetic discs.

I see you like to compare everything dollar for dollar, but that doesn't really work when you're comparing apples to oranges. A flash drive is a different animal than an optical disc; the utility offsets the cost IMO.

P.S.: I still use floppy disks. Silly

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USB Flash Drive is useful to portability but...
Jun 19, 2010 10:27AM PDT

I do have a few USB Flash Drives. Installing Windows from USB Flash Drives is way faster than from optical discs. Due to its size, it's fairly convenient to make it as a companion device that you want to carry from one place to another. However, for backup purposes of large amount of datas, it's fairly natural for me to think of a way that will save most money. They are useful but they are just not suitable for backup purpuses unless you don't really care how much money you spend. Besides serving as installer for Windows, I practically leave my USB Flash Drive blank. I put data on it when I need to bring some data to another place where there is no high speed Internet Connection.

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Jun 19, 2010 11:50AM PDT

I wasn't talking about using flash drives for backup purposes. You're better off using another hard drive for that (and possibly a set of optical discs every few months or so), be it internal or external. I was talking about porting individual utilities, updates, software installers, and bits of data like HJT logfiles, Unknown Devices logfiles, driver backups, DLL files, etc. (especially in the absence of a fast Internet connection). Flash drives are especially useful for students, and also for some office workers who don't have remote desktop connections.

For backing up large amounts of data, money is definitely an object. So let's put our money to work for us. Excluding online stores, where you have to wait and often pay shipping, one of the best deals you'll find on DVD+R discs at a physical store is at Big Lots!. You can get a spindle of 50 DVD+R discs for $9.99 pretty much anytime. In this case, excluding tax, you're paying about 4.25 cents per gig; this is assuming you use every last bit on each disc, and never burn a single coaster. The latter is unlikely, and the former is definitely not going to be the case.

One of the best deals I could find on a hard drive was actually not an internal drive, but a Seagate FreeAgent 1.5 TB external at Costco for $99.99. In this case, you're paying 6.67 cents per gig. If you want a whole 2 TB, a good deal can be found at Best Buy, in the form of a WD Elements 2TB external for $144.99. If you want to save a few dollars, you can get a Caviar Green 2 TB for $139.99. Here, you're paying either 7.25 cents or 7 cents (6.9995). Again, think of the money you might be saving on slack space and bad burns. Also, there's something else to consider...rewriting. Which brings me to my next point...

Unless your files never change, you're losing more optical disc space on duplicates. Needless to say, if you run out of space on one-shot discs, you have to buy more. If you would rather dump some obsolete files and rewrite, then you'll want to go DVD+RW. At Best Buy, you can get a spindle of 25 Memorex DVD+RW discs for $22.99. Here, you're paying a whopping 19.57 cents per gig, not to mention the extra time you'll be spending on disc swapping, erasing, and simply the slow comparative speed of optical vs. magnetic storage. And time is also money.

I still stand behind what I said before about using DVD+RW for pivotal images. After five uses, you will have made up the difference in price between rewritable and one-shot discs. But for everyday backup jobs, you can't beat a hard drive. Cheers!

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Jun 19, 2010 11:55AM PDT

I forgot to mention that the 2 TB Caviar Green is an internal drive. Cheers!

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Different types of files...
Jun 19, 2010 12:44PM PDT

There are some files that rapidly change. There are some files that hardly change at all. Depend on the nature of the files, I decide where to store a backup copy. You use both Windows Live SkyDrive and external hard drives to store the files that I constantly make changes. Some files, for example, your photos that were taken months or years ago, you may never want to change them. DVD-Rs are the cheapest option out there. Frankly speaking, they do occupy a lot of spaces. So I use external hard drive. Sooner or later, it may stop working. Hence, I'm thinking of replacing my external hard drives once in a few years to ensure that I won't lose any datas.

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