If I bought a used system, one of the first things I'd do is format the drive and reinstall everything. You never know what the previous owner might have left on the system.
So what you probably want to do, is using a known clean computer, visit the Acer website and download the various drivers you'll need for the laptop. Burn them to a CD or something so that you can access them without any kind of Internet connection. If your Windows CD doesn't have SP2 slipstreamed in, getting the full offline installer (around 130MB IIRC) would be a good idea.
Since reinstalling Windows and formatting are NOT the same thing, when installing Windows be sure to be watching for the option to format the drive, and take it. Then install SP2, followed by drivers, and then a couple of trips SOLELY AND DIRECTLY to the Windows Update site to get the 80-90 odd updates that have been released since SP2. Do NOT go to any other websites with the laptop during this time. Also be sure that the XP firewall is running, or that you have a third party firewall, such as ZoneAlarm, running.
After you've got that done, you'd be wise to download an alternative browser, like Firefox, and not use Internet Explorer any longer.
Looking for some input on this:
I just bought 1-year old used Acer laptop. I was thinking it might be a good idea to just reformat it and start clean. I don't much care about losing stuff like Microsoft Office, I'll just use OpenOffice.
BUT I'm concerned about losing certain tools on the laptop. For example, the tool on the taskbar that lets me choose my power settings or the graphics accelerator driver or this "Synaptics Pointing Device" (is this required for my touch pad to work properly?) or the Network Connecion that knows I have WiFi hardware and searches for connection on startup.
Would it be better to just clean out what I can instead of reinstalling Windows / reformatting (been told they're the same things?).
Thanks for the help