How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: What’s the Best Order for Installing Apps on a New Computer?

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

Whether your computer is brand new or feels brand new after an OS refresh, we’re curious to see what order you install applications in. What goes on first? What goes on last? What is forgotten until you need it?

This week, inspired by this Best Order to Install Everything guide over at the Windows 7 tutorial site 7 Tutorials, we’re curious to hear what order you’re installing applications in. Whether you just purchased a new PC, wiped an old one, or performed an upgrade the necessitates re-installing some apps, we want to hear about it.

Sound off in the comments with your installation lists and tips; make sure to check back on Friday to see our What You Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/29/11

Comments (119)

  1. Brett H. is the way to go with 90% of the software most users need.

  2. Hatryst

    1. Antivirus
    2. Office
    3. Browser
    4. Browser addons (flash player, etc…)
    5. Skype/IM software
    6. Start installing useless stuff…

  3. Hatryst

    Oops, I forgot the drivers. They go first :)

  4. tecn0tarded

    1. updates
    2. security
    3. ccleaner/defraggler
    4. clean system image
    5. “insert your crap here”

  5. subv3rt

    1. SlimDrivers
    2. Ninite all apps
    3. Profit

  6. thrashtronaut

    And to make the process a bit more nebulous:

  7. notovny

    1. Updates.
    2. Antivirus.
    3. Head to and grab all the essentials in one lump installer.

  8. Arty

    1 – Firefox.
    2 – Drivers.
    3 – Ninite for batch installing a bunch of stuff.
    4 – Whatever else I need.

  9. KB Prez

    The guide is interesting, but my own routine has always worked well for me:

    1. Security Software
    2. Firefox
    3. Windows Updates
    4. Quicken (my most important app, can’t live without it)
    5. My other important apps:
    MailWasher Pro, iTunes, Acronis True Image, Carbonite, Microsoft Office, SUPERAntiSpyware,
    and Malwarebytes
    6. My other apps are installed as needed

  10. infmom

    Tsk, Jason. It’s 7Tutorials, not 7Windows. :)

  11. 4ndr3w

    1 – Browser.
    2 – Drivers.
    3 — Updates.
    4 –
    5 – Everything else…

  12. MJ

    1 Drivers
    2 Ninite (w/ Essentials for antivirus)
    3 Office
    4 Other Software (i.e. engineering software)
    5 Personal Tweaks

  13. Punkin4u

    1. Drivers
    2. Chrome
    3. Antivirus
    4. Nero
    5. Updates
    6. personal software

  14. xana452

    1. Google Chrome
    2. Java
    3. Windows Update
    4. Antivirus
    5. Drivers
    6. Programs and what not.

  15. dave

    1) Opera
    2) (mse, chrome, skype, vlc, itunes, picasa, utorrent, dropbox, 7-zip)
    3) os updates

  16. Paul

    1. Security (AV & firewall), installed via USB stick – I don’t trust a live internet connection until I’ve got my belt and braces fastened
    2. Firefox & noscript/adblock addons
    3. Windows updates/service packs
    4. Misc driver updates (usually graphics)
    5. Various browsing essentials (flash player, pdf reader etc)
    6. Utilities (Ccleaner, VLC player, 7-zip etc)
    7. Productivity stuff (OpenOffice, GIMP etc) so I can occasionally pretend to do work
    8. Finally the important part: games, games and more games :)

  17. Eric Clausing

    Man I have never heard of ninite. That is one very cool site. Thanks

  18. Vagablonde

    1 Drivers
    2 Ninite. All Adobe Java Net Framework
    3 Media Player (so it updates with windows updates 1st time )
    4 Antivirus
    5 Windows Updates
    6 everything else

  19. Howard

    I always instal the more “complicated” or suites or system software first

  20. CitizenX

    2nd-ing Arty — Ninite
    No reason to choose anymore– check box and go!
    Brilliant service

  21. CitizenX

    Chipset comes before drivers, though

  22. From Finland with love

    4. Repeat 3
    5.All useless stuff

  23. Ozk4r

    I use this way.

    1.- Drivers ( in this order chipset, sound, modem, vga, eth, others)
    2.- Windows updates
    3.- Browser Mozilla
    4.- Office Suite
    5.- Office Updates
    6.- Antivirus Avira
    7.- Nero or another Burn tool
    8.- All not used software but must be installed.

  24. Ryan

    1. Update Windows
    2. Ninite (downloaded on another computer w/Security Essentials)
    3. Any missing drivers
    4. Any other programmes not on Ninite
    5. Tweak to my liking

  25. Sanchit Goyal

    Browser and Antivirus goes 1st in no strict order. It is then followed by other softwares to be used regularly (Media players, Photo viewer, Messenger, utilities).

    What is forgotten is those softwares that were used very rarely before formatting but were not so useless to be uninstalled. Their setups are kept to be installed when they would be required which might be after a month, 6 month etc.

  26. sixseven

    Pre-built Computer or Laptop:

    1. Decrapifier –> Run before next step
    2. Windows Update
    3. Security essentials
    4. Flash, Silverlight, etc
    5. Apps

    Clean OS:

    1. Major drivers (Mobo, LAN, etc)
    2. Windows Update
    3. Minor drivers (webcam, keyboard, printers, etc)
    4. Security Essentials
    5. Flash, Silverlight, etc
    6. Apps.

  27. debsawyer

    Fresh OS

    All OS updates
    MS Security Essentials
    Adobe Reader, Flash, Shockwave, Air
    Apps (iTunes, GOM Player, Real Player, etc)

    New PC/Laptop
    Remove all crapware
    Update OS
    -See above for rest-

    I do this for a living this is my job.

  28. debsawyer

    Also I add all browsers including: Mozilla, Opera, Safari and of course, Chrome.

  29. Jon

    1. Chrome
    a) drivers only the necessary ones

    The following is from ninite.
    2. Antivirus (MS security essentials)
    3. Flash
    4. Java
    5. Shockwave
    6. Silverlight
    7 Dropbox
    8. Google Earth
    9. Skype
    10. Thunderbird
    11. Evernote
    12. Teamviewer
    + Adobe reader

    13. MS Office
    14. Updates
    15. Updates
    16. Updates
    17. Updates
    18. Updates
    19. Photoshop
    20. Radmin
    21. Updates
    22. …

    It is very weird looking at this list right now. It did not make me an impression before, that I install tons of 3rd party software that is actually needed to run Windows normally.

  30. Jon

    Forgot VLC

  31. Will

    Fresh OS

    1. OS
    2. Windows Update
    3. Drivers (essential ones only)
    4. Browser (FF plus add-ons = adblockplus and noscript only and plugins: flash only)
    5. Sandboxie
    6. MS Office
    7. Games
    8. Anything else if I forgot something
    9. Antivirus/Firewall (don’t really need firewall) (Always last) to prevent the antivirus from corrupting any other applications

  32. Carlos Ferrari

    2-Revo Uninstaller;
    5-Everything else I need in alphabetical order;
    What is left behind are audio and video editors.

    1-Everything I need in alphabetical order;
    The ones that are left behind are also for audio and video editors.

  33. bruno

    If I have the all the things (which I usually check):

    1º – Install drivers first to avoid spending unnecessary time installing other stuff if somethings go wrong with the drivers. And to have internet.
    2º Ninite to install the Antivirus and then I update it
    3º Install the updates from Windows Update
    4º Install Office and install the updates
    5º While nº4 – Configure the system and start tweaking the system for more performance. Ex: Shortcuts on the menu start, add user, user password
    6º Reboot

    (if it’s a new computer, I would clean now the registry and desfragment the disk before I create a image of the disk and preceding with the setup)

    7º Install Flash, Chrome, Dropbox, etc with Ninite
    8º Configure Chrome, Dropbox with the accounts and update the iTunes library
    9º Configure my backup system using my backup configuration
    8º Reboot (maybe unnecessary)
    9º MSCONFIG to clean the start-up and the services and if everythings goes fine after another reboot:
    10º Clean the junk and the registry using Ccleaner
    11º Desfrag the computer
    12º Last reboot

    (…) – Install other software that I might need.

    2 Notes: Albeit being the owner of the PC I work as a user to avoid virus (since after installing everything, I usually don’t notice the lack of privileges (which I can restore anytime). The other note is that I use portable for everything except for chrome and vlc. Less footprint!

    Little extensive but this is almost exactly what I do. I hope this is understandable and that I’m doing this right! I think I didn’t forget anything.

  34. bruno

    Forgot the directX after the drivers

  35. Grant

    Firefox first, of course! :)

  36. Johann

    Fellow Ninite users – remember to keep your installer, you can run it again to update all your installed software in one hit. You can even set it as a scheduled task (admin rights) if you like. I do this on all those PCs you get stuck ‘fixing’ for friends and family. What with that and Windows set to update all MS components you know that most of a systems is being regularly patched for any vulnerabilities.

    If only you could stop people clicking on ‘Install me!’ pop-ups you’d never get hassled again…

  37. kandgft55

    angry birds.

  38. edmenje

    With an OEM machine:
    1 – Revo Uninstaller (or use portable from USB or ExtHDD) to remove all crapware including the Norton or whatever pre-installed “60 day only” free updated AV before activating…lots easier to do before the activation)
    2 – AV of choice (MSE or Panda Cloud depending on if for me or some noob friend…Panda needs no definition updates that they may forget to keep up with)
    3 – CCleaner (also set a startup auto/silent scheduled task for continuous cleaning of all the usual suspects on every reboot)
    4 – Dropbox (I keep lots of the following installers/portable apps in my dropbox for setting up new machines/re-installs)
    5 – Opera, Firefox and Chrome
    6 – VLC, Winamp, Gimp, IrfanView, Audacity
    7 – PDF-Xchange (to hell with Adobe Reader…probably uninstalled in previous work with Revo)
    8 – GUI Modding stuff…Ranimeter, 7 stacks, LogonBG Changer, Classic Shell, Desktop Coral etc.
    9 – Ashampoo Burning Studio
    10 – VirtualBox (and then proceed to intall Ubuntu…and XP on a Win 7 machine)
    11 – Anything else that I feel I need to actually install(after I copy lots of portable apps from USB drive to D: partition)

    And then on the Ubuntu VM:
    1 – Opera
    2 – Conky
    3 – VLC
    4 – Dropbox (also keep things like conkyrc and other linux customized window manager/theme config files there as well)
    5 – Anything Else as the need arises

  39. Locutus

    1. Firefox
    2. MSSE
    3. Whatever I realize I need.

  40. Jon

    1) OS
    2) *All* updated drivers, program updates and service packs to OS and installed peripherals
    3) Productivity tools (Office, printer, etc)
    4) *All* updates to productivity tools
    5) Utilities (Flash, JAVA, HDDLife, SDDLife, etc)
    5a) check Microsoft update again
    6) Non-internet programs (Nova backup, Slyfox, Windows Live Mesh, Netgear DEW, etc.)
    7) Anti-virus and all definition updates (having anti-virus software running too soon can interfere with proper system build)
    7a) disconnect from network and internet
    8) deep virus scan
    8a) reconnect to network and internet
    9) Internet-based programs and updates
    10) deep virus scan
    12) tweak the registry (but not clean/compress the registry)
    13) Set-up managed tasks and schedules

    Since I have switched to solid state drives, I do not defragment the primary drive nor run registry cleaners. Out of habit and training, I do a complete rebuild about once per year to keep everything fresh and running at full capacity. To make things go faster, I will download all internet-based programs, utilities and drivers to a spare drive (and run virus scan) BEFORE building so I won’t have to during the rebuild. I will also print off a list of all the programs listed in Program Manager.

  41. Josh

    I do offline installation of .net frameworks so itll speed up windows update by not havin to take the time to wait wait wait.

    3-Windows Update
    4-Office 2007/2010
    5-Updates agian
    6-MSE and Malwarebytes
    7-Windows Live Essentials Standalone
    8- Firefox. Chrome + addons
    10-other software + stuff

  42. Brad Hoschar

    1st. Microsoft Security Essentials
    2nd. Google Chrome (coz IE sux)
    3rd. Ccleaner
    4th. Drivers
    5th. Windows Update
    6th. Do an image of the C: drive

  43. BigT

    1. Service Packs Updates (pre-downloaded and burned to dvd)
    2. FireWall
    3. Antivirus
    4. Backup Creator
    5. Office
    6. Cd/DVD Burner
    7. VLC Player
    6. Misc Work related and games

  44. Aaron

    1. Firefox
    2. Avast
    3. Install as I need…

  45. OMGstfupleez

    1. Get someone to do it for me.. Done! (xD jk)

  46. Zibeb

    Ethernet Driver
    Video Driver
    Windows Update (Gets all the other drivers)
    Ninite (Browsers, Runtimes, Antivirus/malware, Utilities)

    or… just install Ubuntu in which case:
    Avant Window Navigator
    Compiz Config Settings Manager
    Equinox Themes
    Faenza Icons
    ^^All UI customizations
    and everything else I need comes with the OS.

  47. zeta thompson

    (Windows o/s)
    1. Router Software
    2. 3rd party Firewall
    3. 3rd party AntiVirus
    4, Code Text editor
    5. Telnet client/Ftp other xfer devices
    6, Compilers and Utilities
    7. 3rd party Browsers
    8. database Apps
    9. Word processor/spreadsheet/project management
    10 Games (Guild Wars, etc)
    after that is on as needed basis

  48. Nick S.

    First and foremost, I uninstall any crapware/bloatware installed (if it’s a new/end-user computer), or anything else that’s unnecessary.

    Then I install:

    1) Drivers
    2) Updates, Service Packs, etc.
    3) MSE (Comodo Firewall–if necessary)
    4) MSOffice (or equivalent)
    5) Google Chrome (or Firefox, depending on user’s preference)
    6) VLC Player or SMPlayer (depends on my mood, lol)
    7) PDF Reader (PDF-XChange, or Adobe Reader; again, depends on whose PC it is)
    8) Adobe Flash Player and Java
    9) iTunes, if necessary
    10) ChatZilla/XULRunner

    In Linux, I install:

    1) Updates
    2) gufw (if necessary)
    3) LibreOffice
    4) SMPlayer or VLC Player (depends on the distro)
    5) AmaroK or Banshee
    6) Thunderbird
    7) XChat
    8) Deluge or KTorrent
    9) Wine
    10) Audacity-FreeWorld
    11) WinFF
    12) Kid3(-qt)

    Of, course any customization and user-specific applications are also installed afterwards, but that’s my general list.

  49. Luinox86

    1. Drivers
    2. Kaspersky
    3. Windows Updates
    4. Firefox & Chrome
    5. Ninite comes in and takes:
    Thunderbird – Google talk – Notepad++ – VLC – KMPlayer – Winamp – Quick Time – Flash – Java
    .Net – FoxitReader – Ad_Aware – CCleaner – TeraCopy – TeamViewer – TrueCrypt – Launchy – 7Zip –
    WinRar – FileZilla

    6. Nokia PC-Suite
    7. Configuring installed software
    8. Capture restore point
    9. Final modifications
    10. Way to go!

  50. Isaac

    When I set up my computer I did it in the following order:
    OS (duh)
    Skype and other such programs like that

  51. John Chorley

    1. OS
    2. Anti Virus
    3. Web Browser
    4. Media players
    5. Steam
    6. Desktop Enhancements (Dock, Visual Style etc)

  52. Dan

    1) Drivers
    2) AV
    3) Browser/s
    4) Utilities
    5) Productivity
    6) Entertainment

  53. Prashant

    1. Router Driver
    2. Chrome
    3. Download MSE(microsoft security essentials) and install
    4. nVidia Driver
    5. Zune
    6. Updates
    7. Productivity
    8. Games
    9. Shut Down!

  54. G4bryel

    2.Run Windows Update to install drivers without headache
    3.Install Dropbox with all the portable apps

    Done in about 10 minutes.

  55. DeadR4t

    Sudo apt-get update


  56. Ishwar Kanse

    1. Drivers, 2. Firewall, 3. Antivirus, 4. Windows updates, 5. Java sdk and runtime, Games for windows marketplace, 6. I mostly use portable applications thus my next step is to copy my apps folder from my backup drive to the hard disk. 7. Pin the most used apps to the taskbar. 8. Copy remaning backup of media, documents, games…… 9. Defragment drive, customise OS

  57. B. Igic

    On Windows machines:
    1. Drivers
    2. DirectX
    3. Firefox
    4. Winamp, WinRAR, codecs, antivirus, Flash Player and so on
    5. Other stuff

    On Linux machines
    1. Drivers (if needed)
    2. Flash Player, proprietary codecs and Microsoft fonts
    3.Other stuff

  58. Candy

    this is my preferred list always i follow,

    1. Drivers
    2. Anti virus
    3. Vlc
    4. browsers
    5. Office Suite
    6. Picasa
    7.browser plug ins flash, shockwave, silver light
    8. .net framework packages
    9.KLM codec pack
    10. team viewer
    11. chat messengers yahoo, gtalk, msn, skype
    12. Google earth
    13. Adobe reader or foxit reader
    14. PDF creater
    these are only the basic applications required for normal users.

  59. Huuisie

    STEP 1
    1. Format and partition HDD – C: for Windows and apps, D: for Data
    2. Install Windows 7 and SP1
    3. Create 1st system image backup (Backup 1) with Macrium Reflect (can backup RAID5)
    (This is now source used when reinstalling from scratch)

    STEP 2
    1. I tweak Windows extensively, so this gets done now
    2. Secret sauce is Liberkey – this is installed on D:. Allows me to browse for stuff, use CCleaner, etc. without affecting OS setup and C: drive (keeps it clean). Keeps app install on C: drive (later) to a minimum.
    3. All Windows Updates installed
    4. Create Backup 2

    STEP 3
    1. Install Office 2010 (+SP1 now)
    2. I tweak Office settings extensively for workflow, so this happens now.
    3. Create Backup 3
    4. As driver and app updates can change quite a bit and/or have unexpected consequences, I prefer to get my “essential” setup done first.
    4. When I get rid of my HP AIO printer (and delete the huge pile of drivers and software it requires) and buy a new AIO (not HP!), I only need to go back this far.

    STEP 4
    1. Install all drivers and settings for them (Catalyst, printers, etc)
    2. Create Backup 4.

    STEP 5
    1. Install essential apps ‘n other stuff (Firefox, DropBox, Java, DirectX, etc) and all settings.
    2. Liberkey and Firefox profile(s) in DropBox
    3. Combo of Live Mesh and DropBox keeps files and media synced between PCs.
    4. Backup 5 – all done (whew!)

    1. I know conventional wisdom is to install drivers with Windows and then backup, but I prefer doing it incrementally. As Windows 7 has excellent driver support, I can put this off until I have my core “work” functionality installed.
    2. If anything goes wrong with apps or drivers, I don’t have to go to square one.
    3 Even if I make major changes (like when I was wrestling with ways to limit Libraries from messing with my file system and workflow), I can:
    – install each backup stage
    – make necessary changes
    – create new (updated) backup stage
    – this might be time-consuming, but much less so than doing so from scratch

  60. Mikayah

    My preferred order if installing a new OS is usually:

    1. Drivers & update
    2. Office suites & PDF
    3.Graphic apps (on demand) & CAD
    4. Video playback software (dvd, vlc)
    5. Utilities (dictionaries, bibles, encyclopedias)
    6. Recreational (Games)
    7. Browsers (may come in at No.2)
    8. Antivirus

  61. Gavin

    1. install driver
    2.Browser update
    4.anti virus
    5. apply registry tweak that i like
    6. install the rest of my software in any order (included players , pdf reader, office and others )
    7. after all done ,clean temporary files with ccleaner
    8. clean registry and defrag registry
    9. defrag hdd
    10all done

  62. Ammar

    First download the latest drivers before formating and put them in a safe place, then format, then:
    1. Install all drivers (make sure you install the chipset driver first)
    2. Install all updates (dont forget to look at what updates are to be installed, uncheck any unwanted drivers or optional updates you dont want)
    3. Install all security programs (Antivirus, firewall…)
    4. if you want to install a defragmentaion tool, it would be better to install it now
    5. Install your favorite applications at whatever order you want
    6. if you are a gamer, install the latest version of directx 9 and physx before installing any game

  63. Icedmoon

    I always install from lower layer to higher, except antivirus –

    1. OS
    2. drivers
    3. service pack
    4. windows update
    5. video codec
    6. office
    7. browser, bookmarks, plug-ins
    8. essential apps – adobe, flash, pdf writer, winrar, picture viewer, etc
    9. big apps – photoshops, virtualbox, itunes, ebook management
    10. update windows again
    11. restore data files

  64. dumpsterdivinxxx

    That Ninite is the most useful link to information I’ve seen in a long time! I’ve been limping around pecking out all the sites one at a time for a while- drivers, updates, etc… this site puts them all in one place. Thank you!

  65. Ashiq Irphan

    1. Chipset Drivers
    2. Display Drivers
    3. Sound Drivers
    4. Antivirus
    5. Browser
    6. OS updates / Antivirus Updates.
    7. Games

  66. Yoshiyah

    My Order is as follows…

    1. Operating System (This is Obvious)
    2. Drivers (Anti-Malware tools can conflict with proper driver install, which is why this is 2nd)
    3. Service Pack
    4. Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware (Other Security related tools i.e., Host File)
    5. OpenOffice or other Productivity Software package
    6. Firefox & Thunderbird (Still love POP3 mail over web based)
    7. Essential apps (flash, pdf writer, zune software,, O&O Defrag)
    8. Windows Updates
    9. PC Games (i.e., Valve Steam)
    10. Full defrag of all drives overnight and I am ready to go.

    *All of this takes me about 1.5 hours considering that most of the Update packages are downloaded to my drive, so it is just a matter of running them one by one.

  67. Yoshiyah

    Ninite is only good to me if you have access to the internet. Many of the computers I service do not have the luxury of the internet, and the ones that do, are still using 56kbps V.92 modems. Ninite would be very difficult to use. That is why I store many apps and updates to my external 500 GB hard drive.

  68. malik51179

    i work at a data center and need both Linux and Windows on my machines to experiment with.

    On an OEM machine
    1) Remove all unwanted installed apps.
    2) Run updates
    3) Install MSE
    4) Install MS Office and any other frequently used apps.
    5) use partition magic or other program to resize the windows partition to allow a linux setup
    6) Install Ubuntu and swap space
    7) Install any needed drivers in Ubuntu
    8) Install Ubuntu updates and set us firewall rules
    9) modify grub to boot windows by default (for the rest of the family)
    10) install any additional Linux software wanted.
    11) make restore DVD set
    12) install any additional windows software wanted

    On a new hard drive
    1) Install windows on partition 1
    2) Install Ubuntu on and swap on the remaining space
    3) Install any needed drivers in Ubuntu
    4) Install Ubuntu updates and set firewall rules
    5) modify grub to boot windows by default (for the rest of the family)
    6) install any additional Linux software wanted.
    7) boot to windows and install network drivers if needed
    8) start windows updates
    9) install firefox MSE and winrar
    10) Start second round of updates
    11) Install MS office and any other frequently used software.
    12) Make DVD restore set
    13) Install any additional windows software wanted.

  69. Bryan

    1. OS and available service packs from local media
    2. Configure network and sharing
    3. Security from local media
    4. OS updates using default browser
    5. Install preferred browser from on-line source
    6. Secunia PSI from on-line source
    7. Install office and service packs from local media
    8. Install remaining apps and runtime enviros using Nineite when possible
    9. Install Soluto and configure start-ups
    10. Monitor system state with PSI and perform remaining updates as needed.
    11. Restore user files from backup.
    No wonder this takes all day!

  70. Gian-Luigi Valle

    1. Decent web browser i.e firefox or maxthon
    2. Drivers
    3. Glary Utilities
    4. Office
    5. Everything else

  71. microbarnsey

    1. antivirus
    2. windows update
    3. drivers
    4. chrome and firefox
    5. windows apps (office and windows live)
    7. Skype
    8. Itunes

  72. Robert

    slim drivers (run)
    microsoft sercruty essentals
    windows live essentals wo messenger
    slim____ (all three)
    advanced system care
    WotC Magic: The Gathering Online
    then wile i wait because by now i have a backup of things i get the installation disk for office
    install office home and student
    start configuring all programs
    eye-fi (thank you HTG mothers birthday present you gave me the idea)
    andvanced sysem care
    then restart
    run advanced system care
    run microsoft security essentals
    libre office
    i use ie so no browser and the other programs i dont install rght away

  73. Vic Chorney

    Although there are packages that everyone uses (browser, anti-virus, defragger, etc), the applications differ. In any case, When I’m setting up clients’ systems, I look at inter-dependencies. For instance, setting up a mail client comes before installing the anti-virus because, the anti-virus should be “know” what mail client it’s to protect. On the other hand, a defragger is a “stand-alone” and can be among the final installs. Be aware, also, of potential conflicts: 2 anti-virus programs on one system is not a good idea at all since one or both may determine that the other is harmful. If you install AdAware before SpyBot S&D, you’ll get a warning and required response about a possible conflict.

    Having said all that, you still have to consider what installations will take the longest and which will require responses and don’t forget the operating system updates, some of which are optional only if certain applications are (or are not) installed.

    Even transferring from one system to another requires the same precautions.

    With hardware as inexpensive as it is today, the cost — whether your own time or a consultant’s — is a major consideration.

  74. Astro

    Well on a Windows system I always start by installing Firefox and getting rid of Internet Explorer, then configure Firefox before anything else, AdBlock and FasterFox.

    Step Two is usually torrent software, uTorrent being my favorite, once my ports are forwarded I get my Anti-Virus, and Firewall running.

    Then I get my Windows Update on, and restart the computer a jazillion times :(

    After that it depends from wipe to wipe, but I generally stick to the same bunch of apps,

    iTunes is a must, along with Zoom Player for the codecs.
    Fre:ac is a good audio converter, haven’t figured out how to convert FLAC to .mp3 yet though.
    TrueCrypt for all my sensitive parts ;)
    And then it’s Oblivion all the way!

  75. Duncan

    OS (including drivers and updates)
    World of Warcraft
    Ninite (after playing WoW for a bit to see how it looks after a new OS install)

  76. Fodaro

    First I uninstall anything that looks like OEM bloatware. Then I install Anti-virus (on Windows), followed by Opera and Notepad++. Everything else can wait until I need it.

  77. Schmidty

    The first thing for me is Google Chrome, then Dropbox.
    After that, I just install things as I need them. I mostly live on the web, so anything else is just auxiliary.

  78. jim

    Why would anyone choose anything other than Ninite for being #1?

  79. Cori

    The Ninite site, BRILLIANT! I would also like to thank everyone here who mentioned it. I have used most of the programs on the site, so this will be such a time saver.

  80. Jan

    According to Dell:

    The correct order to install drivers on all portable systems is as follows:
    Notebook system software
    Cardbus / Media card controller
    Bluetooth (if available)
    Dell Quickset
    Any other applications

  81. Tim

    1. RAID drivers, then OS
    2. Windows Update
    3. Video card drivers
    4. Anti-virus
    5. Other drivers
    6. Browsers and add-ons (e.g. Firefox, Flash, Java)
    7. Applications
    7.1 Office
    7.2 Adobe CS3
    7.3 Acrobat
    7.4 Dropbox
    7.5 iTunes & Winamp
    7.6 Skype
    7.7 Others
    8. Games

    I don’t use Ninite because I want complete control over which drive each application installs to. If I only had one hard drive, then I would definitely just use ninite.

  82. Dillon

    1. Updates
    2. Drivers
    3. Chrome and Firefox
    4. Plugins
    5. Libre Office
    6. Dropbox
    7. Eclipse
    8. VLC
    9. Picasa and Gimp
    10. A BitTorrent Client

  83. Xeogin

    Network, video or chipset drivers (If I need to)
    Windows Update (Enable Microsoft Update)
    Ninite (Firefox, Thunderbird*, VLC, Flash, Java, Paint.NET*, Reader*, LibreOffice*, Essentials, Malwarebytes*, CCleaner, Auslogics, TeraCopy*, 7-Zip, Notepad++*)
    Nitro PDF*
    Any other apps & extensions (Adblock Plus w/ lists, DownThemAll!, Tab Mix Plus)
    Secunia (Make sure everything is up to date)
    Magical Jellybean Keyfinder (Backup product keys)
    Double Driver (Backup drivers)
    Run Experience Index
    Make restore point
    Update other drivers & install peripherals
    Sysinternals Suite (Autologon*, Autoruns, Process Explorer)
    Ultimate Windows Tweaker + manual tweaks (Through menus or .reg files)
    Run Windows Update again
    Run Disk Cleanup, CCleaner then Disk Defrag
    Setup backup & image machine


  84. harold

    One of the first items to add is startup monitor

  85. scoobertron

    all at once.

    apt-get install -y $(cat my_list_of_cool_apps)

    oh, and then dropbox.

  86. Michael Hall

    Drivers – Chipset>Video>Network>Sound
    MS update
    MS update
    PDF Reader

  87. grapple

    1. OS
    2. Change search engine in IE to Google
    3. Decrapifier (i skip this step if i am installing a OS from the original DVD)
    3. Visit
    4. Firewall (Ninite believes that windows firewall is sufficient)
    5. Firefox addons
    6. MS Office
    7. Windows Live Essentials
    8. Automatic OS Updates
    9. Prey + other software that ninite does not include DVDFab, Nokia ovi, TED

  88. GraveDigger27

    1. PC-Decrapifier (if running a BRAND new commerical box).
    2. Update OS.
    3. Install Microsoft Security Essentials (Direct from Microsoft or a trusted download site).
    4. Update any drivers needed with system.
    5. Use Ninite to choose my favorite free apps (browsers, utilities, office, graphics).
    6. Windows Live Essentials
    7. Update any programs that have new definitions or security files.
    8. Enjoy using my new box.

  89. Dustin

    I work in an IT shop and here are the steps we take on each new box.

    1 – Remove bloatware (if the box is prebuilt, if not skip this)
    2 – Drivers
    2.5 – Reboot
    3 – Ninite pack with AVG, MalwareBytes, Ccleaner, Adobe Reader & Flash, Teamviewer
    4.5 – Reboot
    4 – Office
    5 – Updates
    6 – Updates
    7 – Yet more updates

    A useful note: on alot of machines AVG will not update properly after being installed via Ninite, it starts its update and simply hangs. The second reboot takes care of that problem.

  90. Amanda

    Drivers for motherboard and graphic card
    Antivirus AVG
    Firewall ZoneAlarm
    Adobe Reader, FlashPlayer etc
    Other programs that you use
    System restore points and backups
    Your Personal Data
    And of course reboot as you go so apps install properly

  91. mark strelecki

    Bare Metal Clean Installs have been my specialty since I was beta testing Windows 95 OSR2 in 1996.

    Hardware First

    Bios updates are always done prior to installing your OS. You can use the great Ultimate Boot CD to get to a command prompt and flash the motherboard BIOS, then reboot and teak the settings. This will make for a more successful (read: better performing) OS install. On newer systems I like to set the hard drive controller to AHCI SATA mode, not IDE mode, as I find it works smoother with less CPU overhead.

    Get any expansion cards installed and have all your hardware ducks in a row BEFORE you begin the OS install.

    Software Next

    I like to build a custom OS installer for my systems, slipstreaming all the latest updates and drivers into the mix so the system will be totally up-to-date when the OS install completes. The great DriverPacks by Wim Leers and company go a long way to makingthis happen, and there are some wonderful tech forums where people eat, breathe and sleep this stuff. I used to use nLite and vLite, but now I use something called SMART which can alter the service settings to make the box work faster, be more secure and reliable, for whatever you need to do.

    After the OS and current drivers are installed, I like to use System Restore or Ghost to make a backup/save the clean install so if I need to, I can go back to it easily.

    I also reboot the system a few times during this phase to populate the Prefetch folder and flush out any startup and shutdown potential problems. Get the networking setup and tested, but don’t go out to the web much until later when security software is installed

    Applications, Oldest First, Newest Last

    I start with browser, archiving utilities (WinRAR, Firefox), add the Adblock and NoScript plugins, text editor (NotePad++) and FTP (WS_FTP or FileZilla), then the bigger apps, oldest first and newest last.

    Very last, install anti-virus, and firewall (I love MS Security Essentials), and something called WinPatrol (Scotty says “woof woof”) which monitors all kinds of system stuff all the time and tells me when something tries to install itself.

    YMMV, but this approach has stood me well for many years and hundreds of installations. I am transitioning all this to a virtualized approach, where my host OS will be plain and simple (though secured) and all my apps stuff will be done in easily restored VM disk files.

    I love technology. And I love How to Geek!

    Atlanta, GA.

  92. Jinks59

    Anti virus
    PDF Reader
    Media player

  93. Bill

    Meant to post this over here vs. over with the tutorial…..

    Anyway, right or wrong, this has worked for me.

    I especially think that checking that AHCI mode is set for your SATA hard drive in the bios for new hard drives and that you install the chipset update and Intel Rapid storage manager is important.

    I also burn all the needed files onto a CD before the build so I don’t have to find and download things on the fly. Don’t even need your browser this way. And I use folder names starting with the installation order number so when you are dead tired installing things you don’t have to think too much! :)

    • Update Bios.
    • Update all bios settings, make sure Hard Drive on AHCI
    • Install Antivirus
    • Chipset – Intel .INF chipset update utility
    • Intel Rapid storage driver
    • Ethernet driver
    • Video Driver
    • Audio Driver and apps
    • Windows update – Critical only
    • Microsoft office
    • Printer Drivers
    • Intellipoint and Intellitype if applicable
    • Other applications
    • Image with Ghost

  94. Dylan, saves hours of downloading free essential apps for any new install. Get your AV,PDF reader, browsers, etc… All in one quick and easy spot.

  95. Raciel

    and then crapware as needed
    no office! I use just google docs

  96. Brumm
    6.pdf reader
    7.pron ebooks
    9.repeat from 0.

  97. astral_cyborg

    1. Configuring the OS options (GUI, settings, preferences)
    2. System Restore Checkpoint
    3. Drivers
    4. OS Updates
    5. Anti-Virus
    6. Web-Browser(s)
    7. Disk & Registry clean and deleting System Restore Points
    8. Disk defrag
    9. Runtime libraries, Plugins, Codecs
    10. Favorite software
    11. Disk & Registry clean
    12. Disk defrag
    13. Restore backed up files & settings
    14. System Restore Checkpoint

  98. LY Kuchseyla

    1. Keyboard Layout
    2. Microsoft Office + plugin
    3. Leave the computer to update its system files
    4. Microsoft Security Essential
    5. Medis player codec
    6. Download manager
    7. Photoshop + corel + evernote + …
    8. Restore files back from external hard drive
    9. Cutomize the working environment and enjoy

  99. Vignesh

    1. Drivers
    2. Internet Security Suite
    3. Windows Updates
    4. Web Browsers
    5. Office Suite
    6. Media Players
    7. VOIP clents
    8. Image Editor
    9. Plugins and Players, Browser Add-ons
    10. System Utilities(like uninstallers, registry cleaners etc.)
    11. Games

  100. kishore

    3.Drivers updates
    6.Antivirus/anti malware/anti spyware

  101. Ruchir Bansal

    Windows 7 ultimate,no display,sound drivers from my side.Win 7 is great.
    HP AIO drivers.
    Important non optional updates..Net4,portable Process Explorer,Winrar 4
    Security-AV usually Avast free then Zone Alarm Pro,MSE and offline MSE update.Winpatrol Plus
    Internet-Nokia PC Suite for Internet
    Backup-Dropbox then sync to get back basic things
    Firefox,Chrome offline installer,Flash,Java.Addons in both.Internet Download Manager
    Acrobat 10.0.3 Pro,VMware Workstation 7.1.x and in that Ubuntu 11,Fedora,Linuxmint,Puppylinux not working properly,No Gnome 3+.Till Gnome 2.x
    Everything search software,Revo Uninstaller Pro,Wondershare Time Freeze I won,Sandboxie,USB Disk security.NoAutorun Registry import.
    Tuneup Utilities,Auslogics Boost Speed.Raxco Perfect Disk.
    These are basic and installed after format.Otherwise Chrometa.Disk Boss,Clock on tray ultimate,MS Office 2010 pro plus,PDF Factory pro,Fineprint 6.x,Preton Ink saver,Dtsearch,Pimero Plus,Incredimail Plus,The Bat 5,Snagit 10 etc and 10000+ there.In one Win XPSP3 in VMware WS,NOD 32 AV,2nd XP-Zonealarm Extreme security so that they can also scan a USB drive used for storage.
    All soft from Liberkey and already installed in two pen drives.
    Only huge drawback is not using most imp soft I already have Novastor Backup Pro latest,Acronis TIH 2011 with addons,Paragon Backup Recovery Suite 10,Norton Ghost 15.Active Image,O&O Diskimage,Terabyte Image for Windows etc etc and File backup sync like Good sync enterprise.Superflexible file synchroniser,Second Backup,Karenware free Backup,Ocster Pro 6.x Business and Pro.I have all which I can’t write here but can’t decide which is best and reliable.So nobody is ever used.
    Also Teracopy Pro is excellent,I forgot Gizmo which is a must for all and Zentimo storage manager and so many but I will stop for now.

  102. Jeremy

    Download security software and most recent service pack to a thumbdrive on a different computer.

    After the OS install is done (or you open the new computer), DON’T connect it to the Internet. Install all security and the service pack FIRST and make settings changes.

    THEN connect it and do all OS patches and virus definition updates first. After that, it hardly matters what order you install anything.

  103. Alan Bush

    Chrome (I wonder if Microsoft tracks the first url entered into Explorer. I wonder what percent is used to download Chrome/Firefox.)
    Everything else.

    Most of my work is done ‘in the cloud,’ so I just need a modern browser. But I do tend to enjoy having my preferred desktop apps available when needed.

  104. Vincent

    1. Wipe and reinstall to get rid of crapware
    2. Drivers
    3. Updates
    4. Microsoft Security Essentials
    5. IE9
    6. Windows Live Essentials
    7. Office
    8. Install ccleaner
    9. Uxtheme patch and download several 3rd party themes
    10. That’s basically it. Some other stuff like other browsers, LibreOffice,etc.

  105. Sikas

    Well, assuming that drivers are automatically installed with Windows, the list for me goes like this …

    These are the main applications I recommend:

    Antivirus/Firewall (Kaspersky or Comodo or maybe both)
    Browser (Google Chrome and Firefox)
    Office (2007 or 2010)

    And since I`m a developer, I add these extra applications:

    Microsoft Visual Studio (2005, 2007 and 2010)
    WAMP Server
    Oracle Database Engine

    Then the rest of the stuff (IncrediMail, Messenger, Utorrent, VMWare, Virtual Box, etc …)

  106. Mike

    Steps to install.
    1: buy a used computer (because even 2 or 3 year old systems are still good and you save them from landfill and save the footprint of buying a new one.)
    2: Use a bootable security disk to wipe the hard drive, who knows what might be on there.
    3: Install Debian Linux 6 (default install includes a lot, OO.o or now LO and the basics for mail, net… works with almost any hardware. If the machine you are installing on is even older use Puppy Linux instead.)
    4: install synaptic package manager (Makes everything from here on easier.)
    5: install firestarter and anti virus
    6: install java and eclipse.
    7: install the gnu compilers (C, C++, Fortran, Ada)
    8: Install firefox and Chrome (check that the java plugins are installed correctly, install the java browser plugin package, then no script and other ff plugins)
    9: install wine
    10: download, configure, make, make install the freewrl code. (3d virtual simulation and ajax 3d)
    11: vnc, server and client
    12: go look at the latest and have someone make coffee
    13: In Eclipse install the latest Google Graphical window editor.
    14: Install Python and the eclipse python editors
    15: You may now want to install different anonymity packages or tunnels.
    16: various security tools, nmap, ngrep, SELinux, log analysis and intrusion detection tools
    17: drink your coffee you earned it.

  107. esam

    1- firewall and antivirus
    2- windows update
    3- ninite
    4- anything else

  108. Luke Storry

    OS first, which i will then update. then, the best is a little tool called Ninite
    This is a very handy app, which you just select what software you want to instal oon the website, and download one installer for all of them. this installs about 10 of my fav softwares (from chrome to Songbird, and Skype to VLC) all in one big install, so no more boring searching the web, downloadsing millions of exes, this just installs everything you want at once!

  109. Fernando


    You have such a huge amount of scientific knowledge about computers and how to install operating systems, Windows and Linux, and all the necessary applications that it all hit me like a punch thrown by a heavyweight boxer. I’m still dizzy.

    You have won my admiration. I’m learning a lot with what you have told.

    Thanks a lot.

  110. Anoop

    After OS
    > AntiVirus Update
    >OS Updates
    >Office/Browers/Other Applications

  111. GremlinFixer

    Looks like all the others are copying myself, but theres some additions as well…Back to the drawing board…..
    Im about to redo my list of “new installs” and add some. Then Image image image after allathat…
    NINITE is great…

  112. Duane

    Chipset Driver
    nvidia drivers
    0ther Drivers as needed
    Windows updates
    Office Updates
    Nero 9
    Nitro PDF reader
    Display Fusion
    I never use any Anti Virus programs
    because I have never had a virus in
    9 years of computing

  113. Saeed Iranzad

    It seems I am too late!
    Laptop Drivers and laptop System Diagnostic
    Antivirus & Firewall (Comodo)
    Browser (Chrome)
    Optimizer:including registry cleaner (Uniblue powersuite)
    PDF readers(2)
    Microsoft Office (just powerpoint and word which I need)
    Webcam software (YOUcam)
    Download manager (Orbit)
    Video player (KM Player)
    My digital camera software (CANON)
    & some other occasionally needed softwares

  114. Saeed Iranzad

    Oops! I forgot Decompressor or compressor (WINRAR)

  115. DaschmiP

    Windows Pcs

    1 Install Driver software
    2 Install Neccessary support software – bleachbit, I.Security, Adobe Flash, Java, Reader (from USB Stick), Soluto to find out about lags in Windows startup.
    3 install firefox from portable firefox already secured on USB drive.
    4 Install Windows updates via batch scriptijng from usb drive.
    5 Tweak system for custom use – Registry hacking and changing windows settings for better performance. Depending on MEMORY, disabling paging of windows system to HDD.
    6 repartition via gparted
    7 if using a 2nd HDD – move pagefile (if Windows) to 2nd drive/2nd Partition
    8 Eliminate all unneccessary services
    9 Defrag from a UBCD to get best performace out of Drive
    10 MSConfig to use all available processing power and memory to Windows startup
    11 install all other software and have fun

    Linux Systems

    Partition during setup
    After 1st boot – edit grub.conf to edit kernel parameters
    update repositories and remove braille and remove/diable Assistive Technologies
    install sysv-rc-conf from the repositories and remove items that are not needed on the system runlevel by runlevel.
    edit metacity and nautilus for leaner system
    Install insserv, fedora readahead and configure them.
    edit blackist to diable pc beep, ipv6, and kernel modules that are not needed on local system
    install bootchart2 from the repositories
    fine tuning
    Install Virtualbox and install guest os and configure guest os.
    Install 1 or 2 games from the repos
    add adblock, element hider, ramback, popup blocker, autopager, no script to firefox
    tweak about:config in Firefox to get pipelineing, lower memory usage, send local caches to memory, diable ipv6

  116. Jon (a different one)

    I get everything installed, updated, and make sure everything is working properly, including printers, and then and only then do I activate my products – including Windows. I have had to call Microsoft too many times because something went wrong to make that mistake again. Then I make another backup, this time knowing it will work if need be. My Windows Home Server makes backups, but I know I have exactly what I need, ready to go, on disk, without any fuss or trouble.

  117. binggo

    after the OS (7 enterprise)
    1. cjipset and Drivers
    2. anti virus (ESS and smadav)
    3. for work (office 2007/2010, nitro PDF)
    4. internet (firefox, chrome, add ons, IDM , thunderbird, digsby, putty, mIRC and FTP transfer)
    5. multimedia (GOM, AMP/JET audio, ACDsee)
    6. for system utilities (ccleaner, defragler ,your uninstaler, Alcohol 120%, 7zip, unlocker, ramrush, autoruns)
    7. game (borderland and AOE III)

  118. SteveT

    1. Drivers
    2. Browser(s)
    3. Easus Partition Master (the create partitions)
    4. StorageCraft backup/recovery software
    5. Winzip & 7zip
    6. Updates
    7. Antivirus, firrewall, and other security apps.
    8. MS Office, Open Office, and then Office updates
    9. PDF readers (3)
    10. TrueCrypt
    11. KeePass
    12. Irfranview
    13. System related utilities
    14. Various games
    15. Everything else (there are many)

  119. Waguih Youssef Sami

    in General you should install all your hardware drivers correctly first
    then see which program (software) is older and install it first
    Because some old .dll files may over write the new ones accidentally
    I prefer to install the anti virus the last thing

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