Sometimes rebuilding a PC is faster than trying to fix it, and if you’re dealing with a virus infection, it’s better to rebuild than try to clean. It’s impossible to know if the system is 100% clean after infection–unless you rebuild.
If you’re the family CIO, here’s how you can go about rebuilding a Windows PC in a hurry.
Use WSUS Offline to download and install updates. Download in advance and then install from a thumb drive or over the network after the OS is down. Bringing it up to date then takes about an hour, instead of multiple hours. You can do this part ahead of time, and I recommend you do. Save the updates to save yourself some time next time you have to do it.
Second–yes, second–install Windows, of course. Back up the activation beforehand if you want to save yourself some trouble.
Use Ninite to download core applications you need like browsers, plugins, antivirus, utilities and office suites. This stage takes some time but it takes all of the manual hunting and downloading out of it. Download and run one thing, and you get up to date copies of everything you need.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.