Is Software Install Order Important?

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I received a question today regarding software installation on a new machine, or after a full reformat. LifeJustIs is wondering whether you should download and install Windows updates first, or install an Anti-Virus first?

Dear Chris,

My question for you has to do with Windows Installation. When I normally do a fresh clean install of my Windows Operating system, in my case Windows XP Home Edition, I normally wipe off the entire hard drive with DBAN and then use the Windows Installation setup to configure the drive how I want it, followed by continuing to install Windows.

After that I install all of the drivers for mandatory system components such as ones for the chip set, video card, sound card and etc. My question for you simply is would you recommend installing Windows Updates as soon as that machine is connected to the Internet before installing any software, even Anti-Virus software, or would you recommend installing your applications and Anti-Virus software before connecting the PC to an Internet connection at all? Would love to get an answer to this question as I’ve been wondering about it for a while. I know that you always say download and use what you want but I would like your opinion on this question.


The answer is that you should get your security software up and running prior to going online for any reason, including Windows update downloads. You don’t know if the install could be corrupted due to “nasties” already sitting on your machine that you aren’t aware of. If you happen to surf the Internet to look for a proper download of an anti-virus, then you are leaving yourself unprotected and wide open to problems and infections. Your best bet if you know you will be re-installing or doing up a new machine is to save the .exe installer for your anti-virus onto a CD, DVD or a USB stick. Install that as soon as possible after getting the machine running, then allow it to check for updates.

Kat was on Ventrilo and live chat with me during this recording, and she apparently almost fell out of her chair trying to get my attention! She wanted to add that it is VERY critical to NEVER update to SP2 for Windows XP if there is any type of Malware on the machine. The SP2 update can and will cause serious issues with your Operating System if you update on an infected machine. So, make sure your machine is clean prior to doing any type of Windows updates, regardless of which OS you use… just to be safe!

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