TechSpot

Tip: think twice before reformatting your hd

By jobeard
Feb 20, 2008
  1. There's an old joke from a carpenter
    No matter how many times I cut that piece of wood, it still comes up too short​

    Many times we try to find a silver bullet to fix our problem, only to find later that
    there was a better choice.

    ALWAYS get a second opinion whenever you're told to reformat your HD!
    Many support people do not know how to really FIX some problems OR they don't
    want to take the time to walk you through a difficult solution.

    As an example a symptom like WINDOWS\System32\Config\System is corrupt
    is frequently fixable, but it's too late if you start down the reformat path :(
    (see http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic98544.html)

    There's always the trade-off of time to fixit vs time to recreate it, but as many do
    not have any backups, walking slowly thru a list of alternative actions considering the pros/cons
    may be very helpful. More than once I've seen systems with nasty symptoms
    that implied reinstall or reformat and the solution was some trivial task like fixmbr or
    the example above.

    At the very least, you should have some good insight as to what is important to you
    on your system(s) and take some kind of action to ensure that it is duplicated
    elsewhere for that nasty day that the 'chickens come home to roost'. :)

    Techspot has lots of great information on specific problems and their solutions --
    PLEASE spend some time SEARCHING before you wipe your HD clean and suffer major losses.
     
  2. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Posts: 195

    Yep, I'm going to have to second this one.

    I can't tell you how many times I've been told to reformat or heard other people be told to reformat, whether it be a HDD issue, a virus, or just something messed up with the OS. Aside from a physical hardware failure, there are almost ALWAYS ways to repair your computer without formatting. Generally when one takes their computer to a repair shop, they suggest a reformat because it can take a while to do without them actually having to do any work. All they do is plop the dvd in the trey and let it run. What a great way to make $100 without having to do any work....

    Even if you have to reformat, you can usually just get away with a repair of the system over completely wiping the drive.
     
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