Question About Formatting HardDrive..

By Jasio-
Dec 20, 2006
  1. Just in general.. what's it going to do/affect me.. I understand it just makes it factory-fresh and all.. but i'm going to have to set things up like internet connections, hardware, that sort of thing.. Normally I wouldn't have a concern with this, but the computer is expensive and my parents dislike paying money to have it fixed. It might sound immature and make me sound unintelligent, but I just want to know is it a good idea.. I want to do it to clear my computer, start fresh/fast so that i have less errors and issues. I had a previous problem where my webcam software was causing windows to be unbootable and i had to have it installed at a store, they said just update it before using the cam.. but i'm worried about that aswell..

    Also: The computer store gave me a scratched copy of Windows XP, which makes recovery impossible.. I was just going to use the "F12" option, or whichever button it is.
  2. Ididmyc600

    Ididmyc600 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,415


    if you format the drive and install fresh , then yes you will have to setup various things

    As for the F12 option, not sure what that is... I know some PC's come with an automated restore program that returns windows to its factory built spec, is that what you mean. If so running this will delete everything on the drive you have added since it was first setup, documents, music, pictures, downloaded files etc etc.

    I think that if you have any doubts at all about what you are doing then take it to an expert and pay a few bucks/pounds to have it done properly.

  3. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    First, copy your XP disk onto another. You want to make sure the CD rom is readable.

    Second, Starting fresh is a good idea only if you have serious problems. If it ain't broke - don't fix it.

    If you do decide to reformat. BACK UP all your important data/documents to a hard disk or media that is not online. i.e. backup hard drive, CD/DVD rom, ZIP drive, etc....

    ensure you have ALL the important drivers for your system.
    If it is a store bought PC, use the installer CD (copy of it). This will ensure you have the basic drivers.
    Get more up to date drivers from the web or manufactuer if you can and put them on a CD or floppy.

    If you use a PC manufacteuer CD bear in mind it will almost always have bloatware on it that you will have to uninstall/remove when complete OS installation.
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    1. Your Windows Recovery CD should always AUTOPLAY. But if it is poor condition, you might want to copy it and test the copy before you try it. This way you know you can use it as a last-resort recovery.

    2. option 2 is to make a BART-PE disc. This is using BART - a opensource software that allows you to make a bootable image of your current XP and drivers and settings. Useful if you don't want to install a fresh copy of XP but a current copy with current settings.

    3. Option 3 is to download all driver updates onto a CD ROM or other media and install a fresh copy of XP and then install your updates and drivers later on. Time consuming and slow, but more reliable.

    4. If your computer is running normally, there is no need to reinstall XP. Get a copy of CRAP cleaner (FREE on the web) and use it to clean your system, do registry repairs, and uninstall unnecessary software. Also use Mike lin's startup editor (also free - google it) to stop/start programs from autoloading software (which can bog the system down.) Use a good defragger program like diskkeeper. Norton systemworks does all of this, but it is a resource hog. Any edition made after 2003 is not very good. I still use a 2003 version, but I am weaning myself away from it and using more open-source utilities like crap cleaner.

    BTW- there's lots of EXCELLENT, free open-source software out there for all kinds of purposes. Don't pay for commercial software unless you really need it. Opensource is often equivelant or better and FREE. Mozilla, Firefox, 7Z, Thunderbird, Openoffice, Crap Cleaner, to name a few...

    5. If you have less than 512mb of RAM installed, XP will run slow no matter what. XP is a memory hog and leaves litte room for other programs. It uses more than 100mb for it own use. Ideal RAM for XP is 1gb. (More if you're a serious gamer.) The MAX is 4gb but this is way overkill unless you're doing video editing. Be sure to read my RAM guide in the GUIDES forum before installing or buying.

    In the future, post your questions in the forum, that way others with similar problems can get help and other experts can also put in their own 2 cents. I only private message answer for serious personal issues.
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