Computer Pre-Installation Checklist (Windows)


If we have arranged a reinstallation of your computer, there are a number of things you should do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.


  • This guide assumes that you are using a computer configured and supported by the CSCS. If in doubt - please contact the Service Desk

Before you start...

What if my computer has developed a fault?

The Dell computers that we buy are typically purchased with a 5 year warranty, and we can arrange next day replacement of any parts that are faulty. If the computer is out of warranty and more than 5 years old we recommend replacing the computer.  To check the warranty status of your computer see our page on Checking Your Dell Warranty Status

Should I be replacing instead of reinstalling my computer?

We recommend replacing computers once their warranty period has expired or after 5 years, whichever comes later.

Do you share the computer with anyone else?

If you do, ensure they are aware so they can make these checks as well.

Does the computer connect to any specialist equipment?

If the computer connects to lab equipment or other specialist device, then some special precautions need to be taken. You will need to check if the computer is covered by a service contract, and whether a company engineer is required to perform any upgrades or application setup. If planning on upgrading the OS, then you need to be sure that you are entitled to a version of the software compatible with the new OS. Depending on the equipment and number of users, there may be software settings or calibrations that need backing up. Although we create PC System Backups, you are responsible for the configuration of any specialist software.

Will you need a Loan computer?

If we are taking your computer away to be reinstalled, then you should let us know if you need a Loan computer while we work on it. See /wiki/spaces/SSTM/pages/21365346 for more details of what we can offer.  If we are reinstalling your computer overnight at your desk, you will not need a loan computer.

Preparing for Reinstallation


Do I need to backup any data?

We automatically point your standard folders such as Documents and Desktop to your 50GB Homedrive U:\.  This means that files in places such as your Desktop or in My Documents are not actually saved on your computer, they are saved on our servers and therefore backed up.  You can see a full list of folders that are stored on your drive on our page explaining User's Guide to Folder Redirection. If you have any data saved elsewhere on the computer, we recommend moving it into one of these folders. If the data cannot be moved you will need to back it up some other way.

Do I need to backup my application settings?


Bookmarks for IE, Firefox and Chrome will be transferred during reinstall. Chrome and Firefox can be setup to backup and sync your bookmarks automatically, which we recommend doing: see Firefox syncing or Chrome Syncing

Outlook Settings and Email Archives

Outlook settings and Archives will be transferred during reinstall


Make a note of the printers that you use

Other applications

Medschl users (Clinical School) - We use a feature called 'Roaming Profiles' to sync your settings between computers - see User's Guide to Roaming Profiles for more information. Essentially, If the same version of Windows and the same version of the software being reinstalled, then your settings will be kept. Otherwise the application will need to be set up again and you should make a note of your settings where appropriate.

Biosci users (Zoology) - Applications will need to be set up again and you should make a note of your settings where appropriate.

SLCU users (Sainsbury Lab) - Applications will need to be set up again and you should make a note of your settings where appropriate.

Will there be a full backup of my computer?

Before reinstallation, we will take a system backup in case there are any unexpected problems. More information on what these backup on this page: PC System Backups


What will I need in order to reinstall applications I currently use?

We will reinstall the following applications by default:

  • Office 2016 Pro Plus
  • Chrome
  • Citrix
  • Citrix Receiver (for SDHS and Citrix Remote Access services)
  • Firefox
  • FileZilla (FTP Client)
  • Flash player
  • Paint.NET
  • Adobe Reader
  • Skype
  • VLC video player

If you use any other applications (e.g. SPSS, STATA, Endnote, Microsoft Visio or Project, Acrobat), then you should:

Can I request a different version of Office?

Although we will install Office 2016 by default, we can install other versions if needed. If you are using an old Access database (these have an .mdb extension) then you should let us know so that we can test compatibility before upgrading, or plan to install an older version. If you are sharing an Access database with other users, then it is important that all users are on the same version of Office.

See Supported Office Suites for information on what we do and do not support.

Will I need Administrator Rights on my computer?

The most common reason for admin rights is to install software, however many common applications can be installed from our software library without admin rights. See CSCS Admin Rights Policy & Do I need Admin rights? for more information.

The Reinstallation Process:

Once you let us know you are ready for reinstallation to take place we will either reinstall your computer at your desk, or pick it up to take to our office, whichever has been agreed.

The reinstallation process is largely automated.  It consists of the following steps:

  • We take a system backup and the hard drive is reformatted
  • The new operating system is installed.
  • Applications are installed as listed above
  • If this is your personal computer, then we will restore applications settings such as includes browser bookmarks, Outlook, desktop background. We cannot do this on shared computers, but we can help you with any setup required.
  • Your system backup will be made available, in case any files are missed. If there is enough space on your hard disk we will copy it your computer. See Restoring Files from a System Backup for help on accessing the backup.

What Happens Next?

Once your computer has been installed, you should follow the Computer Post-Installation Checklist (Windows) to make sure you are up and running again as quickly as possible.