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10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS from scratch?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 5, 2004 4:02 AM PDT

What was the reason the last time you reinstalled your OS from scratch?

- Viruses/spyware made a mess
- Upgraded/switched to a new OS
- Other system problem
- To increase performance
- New hard drive
- Just for fun
- I've never found it necessary
- I've never done it because I wouldn't know where to start

Here are a few question to start you off:

If none of the above was your reason, please let us know what where your reason(s).

How often do you reinstall your OS? Any particular reason why?

What methods/procedures do you go about reinstalling your OS?

Any sound advice you can give before reinstalling your OS?

If you are a veteran to this task, can you offer up some advice or suggestions for those who don't have a clue as to where to start?

We're all here to learn, so whatever contribution you can offer to this discussion will be appreciated by all members.

Thank you and enjoy!
-Lee Koo
CNET Community

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

I reinstall my OS (Win98) every year. An OS can become quite unstable if left to it's own devices. It also gives me a chance to apply the latest drivers and patches in a clean install. My last reinstall was actually caused by a HDD failure. Why, I hear you ask, do I persist with Win98? I am a computer engineer by trade (speciallising in Dell), and as such I reinstall all sorts of OS's on a regular basis. Besides the added stability of Linux, Win2K and XP I have not seen anything that makes me want to change. I keep a CDRW updated with all the latest drivers, and another with all the latest versions of the applications I use. I also have a step by step procedure for reinstalling the OS, drivers and apps which I follow each time I reinstall (and update as necessary). I have played with the idea of making an image of the freshly installed HDD on DVD-R. This way reinstallation becomes a breeze, but it doesn't account for applying the latest drivers / patches from a clean install.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by kalbun / October 7, 2004 9:03 PM PDT

I absolutely agree with you: windows-based operating systems seem to become more and more unstable as time passes - maybe the problem being an overloaded Windows registry, or some OS components (DLL and OCX) that 3rd party applications upgrade/change.

I name "Computer's Day" the time I'm obliged to reinstall my OS (and the whole day is lost).
With W98, C.D. happened roughly every six months. W2K is MUCH more stable, and I experienced only one C.D. in more than two years.
Didn't test XP (and have no reason to do so: the old rule tells "don't fix something that works")

I also use Linux (MDK9.1) and never experienced C.D. with it. On the other hand, there are soooo many other problems (e.g. X server typically crashes once a day), so I still prefer Bill Gates to Linus Torvalds for real business!

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Re-install Windows XP
by frj11 / February 3, 2005 8:11 PM PST

I had an interesting problem that resulted from upgrading my PC. At the conclusion of the upgrade I reloaded a Ghost backup. My system blue screened. All was not lost as I have a second system. I began to research what had happened to me and found out something that I thought I would pass along.

I was so impressed that I did a short page on the procedure. That page is at the following URL:

This might help some of the folks that took the recent class on building their own system.

Windows XP allows you to reload only the operating system. All of your settings and application code remain intact.

Rick Johnson

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Switching to Linux
by JLP / October 7, 2004 8:20 PM PDT

The last time I reinstalled an OS from scratch was when I switched my sisters computer from Windows to Linux. She mostly browses the internet and reads e-mails and writes for university so the increased stability and security are welcome. And in the future it will help her save a lot of money for OS and software upgrades.

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Switching to Linux?!?
by slider / December 22, 2004 3:32 AM PST
In reply to: Switching to Linux

Hello all,

I am writing this post out of confusion and frustration. I am an IT professional and I am a windows man. I have often contemplated making the switch to Linux, and I have always heard good things about it. Unfortunately my experiences do not match what I have heard. I have tried to install multiple flavors of Linux on multiple machines using multiple versions of the media and not once have I been able to get Linux install successfully on any of the computers on which I have tried. (Well that's not true, one time I got red hat installed but then nothing worked.) I even went so far as to take my PC to a Linux users meeting to try to get Suse installed and they could not get it to work either.

Now I am a fairly savvy guy when it comes to computers, but I admit there is vastly more information about Linux that I don't know than what I do know. I've tried Red Hat, Suse, Debian, Fedora, and most recently Mandrake 10.1. I've tried it on PII's, PIII's, AMD Athlons, and Celerons - nothing. I've tried it on large disks, small disks, with half a gig of ram, with 128 MB of ram. Integrated video, NVIDIA video, with sound without sound, IDE, SCSI - nothing. Never never never never never have I been able to get a Linux version to install completely AND then work. The one Linux system I have managed to use with any success whatsoever has been KNOPIX, and I did not install it I ran it from a CD.

Am I cursed? Am I doing something wrong? Is there some strange magnetic field surrounding me that won't let Linux install on a machine that will be in the same room with me? As I stated before I have even had seasoned professionals try to do it for me with no success. Am I the only one this is happening to? I can't understand why I hear such good things bout Linux yet I can't seem to replicate what I am hearing. I can make Microsoft product do almost anything I want. Am I tainted? Has Microsoft injected me secretly with some sort of anti Linux serum? I am honestly baffled to the point where I am about ready to give up on Linux. Anyone have any advice to offer a man who has reached the end of his Linux rope?

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by todde_ / October 7, 2004 9:34 PM PDT

As with most people I know. After you have been up and running a while Windows develops what they call 'Bit Rot'. Reinstalling is the only way around that. I tried cleaning the registry on a regular basis and all of the other things to keep my system fresh, but reinstalling is the only true way. I do have a ghosted copy of a fresh install with SP1 and all of the security updates on a disk. That saves loads of time. I have one copy with the programs I know I will install on any system I Load Windows on, that is the time saver!
And NO...I have never reinstalled my OS for the fun of it!
Reinstalling Windows.....Not Fun

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by tglpn / October 7, 2004 10:34 PM PDT

I also agree, about bit rot, I use 98se,W2k,XP,dos6.22. W2k seems to me to be the most stabil out of all of them.I do a lot of downloading and checking out new app's after awhile pute gets boggy, slow, sleepy, there is no other choice but start over again, of coourse you can always do it the hard way, and spend hours and hours tracking down your problem, but I prefer a long but shorter way of fixing and that is reinstalling. Like on the commercials, "Its NEW!!, Its FRESH!! Untill I push the mouse on internet explorer.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by bookeater / October 8, 2004 1:50 AM PDT

That's me, I love checking out the new stuff. There's a reason is at the head of my favorite list.
I've got this down to a science. Along with the basic programming, I keep an update disk with all the latest drivers, patches, etc. A redo takes no time at all when you're organized.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

not so often as I used to; mainly through tough learning about the workings of the registry. Now I always make sure I have 3 partitions, 1(Boot & windows)2. Documents, music etc 3.Norton Ghost image of partition 1.(In case my 'playing' with the registry messes everything up. I have always been discouraged from delving in the registry by everyone in shops, but then I never learned to eat my greens either........... good luck!

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

I am an "other". I ugraded Internet Explorer from 5.5 to 6.0 online. I am a REALTOR, and MLS was not compatable with 6.0 due to the fact IE did not have all of the Java files MLS needed. IE did not include an uninstal program. I even had computer techs try to uninstal it and it was imposible. I had to back-up everything, restore my computer, start from scratch, reinstal everything, and put 5.5 IE in until IE put the missing Java files in their upgrade. This takes IE several months to do. Moral to this story is; Make sure when you download a program, the unistall program is included.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

The last time I had to reinstall was because my computer got locked in a rapidly progressive downward spiral that ended in a screen with all the familiar graphics, but a language I've never seen. And no, it wasn't a commonly accepted language used by any peoples who populate the earth! Shortly after that screen I lost even the graphics, so navigating in that environment became impossible. I had to switch, and since I'm one of the crowd that still believes newer must be better, I upgraded from Win2K to XP Pro.

Shortly thereafter I decided my wife and I should each have our own computers, so I bought a new HP with one of the new AMD 64-bit processors. It came with XP Home on it and when I asked the folks at HP if it would be O.K. to upgrade to XP Pro, they told me this computer was specifically manufactured for XP Home, and they didn't advise changing the OS. Now I think I'm experiencing some of that "bit rot" others on this stream have mentioned. I've used Registry First Aid (which worked GREAT at first, but after a few months it started removing things I needed) and other "performance boosters", but they never seem to give me that "new computer smell". I want my old, fast, fresh performance back again. How do I go about it?

I have the "restore" disc that's supposed to put my computer back to how it came from the factory, and I have a clean copy of XP Pro. Any recommendations?

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by Joe_Wulf / October 8, 2004 12:54 AM PDT

At an IT/tech supporter for many computers in my organization and a prime point of contact for a bunch of local and long-distance friends, I have seen a lot and worked to resolve a lot with Micro$loths OS.

The #1 reason I have personally seen for reinstalling the OS, is that Micro$loth's crap deteriorates over time. Seems like it has been designed to degenerate and become worthless the more its used. I have only found a few systems with the MS OS having been installed and running for more than 24 months, and that was because, in each instance, the user only did simple things like word processing, one or two old games, or plain email. They'd never done anything else with their system, yet even then it still performed poorly.

The #2 reason has been to take advantage of newer software. We all know how Micro$loth's OSs have NEVER been able to completely eliminate old-hanger's-on from previous versions of software. Therefore, a clean installation of the OS, along with the following list of necessary stuff has been needed to bring machines up to speed:
- Ad-Aware (specific by-name product that is stellar)
- Firewall (a real one, not the crap in XP SP2)
- Anti-Virus
- Browser of choice (who wants all the problems with IE?)

Then we can go down the road of office-productivity tools, etc

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

I had many problems such as system slow down, blue screens and annoying glitches. I was unable to determine the causes and not having anything important stored on the computer I wiped it clean and reinstalled the OS. Since putting service pack 2 in for XP I am getting annoying glitches again. I really haven't taken the time to determine if they are simple fixes or more MS screw ups.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by brewdog / October 8, 2004 12:15 PM PDT

The last time I installed an OS from scratch was because I set up a triple boot system (I actually insatlled 3 OS's from scratch). Also I am a firm believer in reinstalling from scratch periodically (maybe once annually) to get rid of miscelaneous junk that accumulates on the system from incomplete uninstalls etc. This frees up hard drive space and to speeds up the computer.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

For some unexplainable reason my computer freezes on startup on the 6th dash in the second start up screen. This has been happening about once a week for about a year. I usually can fix it by using Norton go-back or removing go- back and using the repair console FIX Boot command. However, about every 2 months this does not work and the only way to make the computer useable is to reinstall the OS.
To make this less painful, I only keep windows 2000 and Norton system works on the C drive. All other programs are on my large external drive.

If anyone else has experienced this I would certainly like to know how they solved this problem.

Chip is AMD 2K,
MB is an ECS K7S5A with
750 mg of ram

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr
by LDThornton / March 19, 2005 9:30 AM PST

Try turning off the "Start-Up" windows sound in control panel.

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Re: 10/08/04 Reason the last time you reinstalled your OS fr

The last time I reinstalled my OS was that I had a 20 Gig Seagate( 5,400 rpm ).I had ME on it which was crashing almost everyday.It was noisy and I had spywares on it and I had 2 direct x 8.1 installed.
Remember to get rid of direct x you have to to reformat your drive unless there is another way to get read of it.
I bought a nice and slim Maxter 40gig 7,200 rpm.
I installed XP PRO and I was never as happy in my life.

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Re: Reasons for reinstalling my OS from scratch
by medraq / November 7, 2004 10:50 AM PST

A task I put off on my own PC as long as possible ....

First thing to do is to BACKUP all of my data.

Then I check my BACKUP.

I use ViceVersa v1.0 to compare my source and target files.

Make sure I have a copy of the original disks for all my software. And DRIVERS for all my hardware - especially my network card &/or modem and my video card !!!! These DRIVERS ARE ESSENTIAL !!!! You have to be able to connect to the internet after your reinstall and you don't want to be stuck with the Standard VGA display of 16 colours at 640x480 pixels.

Then I install my new OS onto a different drive, reinstall any software from the original disks and make sure I can access my data - which I habitually keep on a separate hard disk to my OS, and have done for over 10 years now. This latter is important. It means that if my OS drive crashes, as can happen from time to time with Windows, at least all my data is safe.

Why a separate hard drive ?

That way I can still plug in my original drive if the install goes wrong or if I forget something (it's been known to happen ...)

Why do I reinstall from scratch ?

Usually because my OS drive has become cluttered with software I experimented with and am no longer using. After a couple of years of this (or maybe a couple of days in extreme cases) I find there's only so much registry editing I'm willing to do to keep everything from falling apart, bite the bullet and reinstall onto a blank hard drive.

The most recent reinstall was due to an acquisition of 2 x 160GB drives and an IDE RAID card. After making a point of getting the RAID card, I'm still operating with 2 separate data disks and using ViceVersa to backup my files manually from one to the other. This means that if a virus or other pest lands on my data disk, it isn't immediately copied onto my backup copy. The downside is that if I forget to use ViceVersa then my files don't get backed up. I don't presently backup my 20GB OS drive (I can reinstall most of what's on it if it goes belly-up) and make a point of saving everything I can on my X-drive.

Every time I reinstall I find that I have forgotten some small program I liked using and can't find anymore. Or that I have to set up all my preferences again. Or some other niggly annoyance. In general I prefer to avoid reinstalls as long as possible purely because of the inconvenience factor. But that does mean I find myself frequently trawling through the registry to get rid of the last vestiges of some piece of unwanted software. I suspect many users may not be quite so patient.

Hope someone finds this helpful/useful/interesting/whatever ... ;o)

Bye for now,


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