bootable windows usb with exe programs

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QUESTION :

Once a year I format my dual booted hdd in order to use a “fresh” installation of vista. The rather annoying thing is that I have to install from scratch all programs that I use.

Is there a way to create a bootable usb stick, that will include the relevant .exe files?

The whole idea is to make an automated installation of windows side by side with the programs.

ANSWER :

What you want to do is create a disk image after you install the OS, install your favorite programs, and get everything configured the way you like it (but before you do any serious use with the system).

This is different from a restore point, as the image actually creates a “snapshot” of the filesystem at the time the image is created. This image is stored separately (say, on an external drive), and when you restore it, the imaging tools will wipe/format the existing harddrive and then copy the image back to it. It will effectively “reset” the machine exactly back to how it was, including any perceived feel of speed. You will need to back up your personal files before restoring from the image and then restore your files afterwards.

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