OS upgrade re-install programs?

When one upgrades from one Windows OS to another, does one need to re-install one’s programs?

I have no idea, because I’ve never done anything but a clean/fresh install. And I’m not sure I ever want to do an Upgrade Install, but I still haven’t finished installing my many programs on my February 2021 clean Win10Pro64-bit install, and am not eager to have to repeat the process. (I’ll probably put it off for years.)

The problem is simple to solve: If you don’t actually use the programs, don’t install them until you actually need them. While it is a general purpose PC, it will still operate better, and you will be more secure, if you only load it with applications you’re actually using. (Imagine for example one of the apps you rarely use has some serious vulnerability, or requires a somewhat rare system library that has a vulnerability.)

In any case, Windows usually upgrades the OS leaving installed applications in place. There are exceptions for known incompatibility, and of course bugs do and have happened. (Also, if your storage has any issues that a CHKDSK could have addressed, then that can lead to problems because of in situ file corruption.)

You can also use helper programs to re-install. Ninite is an example of one, but there are others.

Thank you very much for your reply, Paul!

(But I desperately need every single program, so that paragraph isn’t applicable to me. I’m eager to find the time to finish the install so I can get on with the projects for which I need them them. I need to highly customize many of them to do specialized work with them, and my time is very limited.)

Good to hear an upgrade usually leaves installed programs in place, thanks again!

Though honestly, I’m so highly averse to anything but a clean install, I’ll probably do it all over again. In a couple years when Win11 is not young anymore. Wow am I immensely disappointed that Win10 wasn’t the last Windoze OS ever.

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Personal anecdotal experience here:

On a previous machines - I performed an in-place upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, and each successive update until Mar 2020 (when that machine had a critical hardware failure) and never had a single issue. The update process for applying Windows 10 version updates is, in my experience, very very good. So I see no reason why you would need to reinstall any app after you update Windows to a newer version.

With that said - there have been a few individual apps that I’ve found that I needed to reinstall over time - but none that were related to the Windows update process. It was usually over something in the app itself and I needed to do an uninstall/reinstall because of settings that may have become borked over the course of time.

Many here have had complaints about the Windows update process. I am not one of them - for me it’s worked very well.

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Thanks Vernon, that’s encouraging, maybe I’ll go ahead and do that! I guess if I grow unhappy I can always do a clean install then; and of course I always have daily incrementals to roll back to.

I guess one reason I’ve always done clean installs is that my prior versions of windows felt like they developed issues that made me want a clean slate. But wow, I’ve been surprised that in my first 6 months on Win10Pro64bit I’ve had zero BSOD or hangs.

It would be cool if a Win11 upgrade is as easy as a Win10 feature update.

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My old laptop went from Windows 7 to 8 to 8.1 to 10 and then through all the 10 releases to 1901, before I wiped it and put Mint on it. No problems.

Usually doing an in-place upgrade won’t be detrimental to the health of the computer, although you should always take a backup before carrying out an updrage. (I recommend Veeam, it is free for personal use and it takes a daily incremental image of my PCs 4 hard drives and stores them on my NAS.)

Cruft can build up over time, but the really bad thing is installing more and more apps “just to try them out”. Even if you deinstall them, they leave detritus all over the place. Their registry entries won’t be removed, class associations will be broken and loading and interpreting the registry slows down. DLLs will often be left behind in the System directory, settings and temporary files in your user directories etc. Over time, as more and more programs are added (and some removed), it chokes up the system.

That Windows laptop I mentioned above, i never really installed any other software or experimented with alternative software on it. It never really slowed down - in fact, after I copied an image of the old drive to a new SSD, it had a new lease of life that kept it going for another 4 years; in fact, it felt just as fast as my Surface Pro 3, when I got that - but it was a Core i7 (no series number, the original), with 8GB RAM and the Surface Pro 3 was “only” a Core i5.

If you swap software around a lot, a clean install can be worth it. If the OS starts acting funny, a clean install can be worth it. If everything is running smoothly and it isn’t cluttered up, there is no real reason not to do an in-place upgrade.

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A very sensible approach, big D!

The toolbelt of programs I need is large; and I sometimes need to try out tools. I guess that’s why I have always ended up deciding on a clean install. But maybe I still won’t have gotten around to installing much more when it feels like Win 11 is mature enough for me to want to upgrade to.

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