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Agreed that the base installs are rubbish.

But clean install of Windows 7 or 8 + ninite.com. Windows generally has the drivers you need out of box, or at least the NIC / wireless driver so Windows update can find the rest for you, automatically. I can't remember the last time I had to manually get a driver for something, with the single exception of a USB to serial adapter I need for work.

In addition to ninite, pcdecrapifier[1] is also handy, even for cleaning machines that aren't brand new. Doesn't look like it supports windows 8 yet though.

[1] http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/

Windows 8 has a factory reset button... this would be a great option, except I expect that on retail systems it would reinstall the crapware. Or maybe not?

A lot of laptops are different. The Lenovo T520 I'm using right now has an ethernet chip that the OEM version of Windows 7 couldn't figure out, and I had to track what the chip was before I could get on the internet.

So it isn't all roses in the Windows world with drivers. At least there was a driver, though.

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