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2/25/05 Why did you last reformat your hard drive?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / February 23, 2005 5:38 AM PST

Why did you last reformat your hard drive?

To increase performance
To upgrade or switch to a new OS
Viruses and spyware made a mess
Had system problems I couldn't resolve
To sell or get rid of hard drive
I've never found it necessary
I accidentally did it
Never have, because I don't know how

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Why did you last format?
by dayman / February 24, 2005 5:40 PM PST

You missed the two usual reasons to reformat!
The hard drive partition went 'phutt' or the file sytem corrupted itself!!


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by Bro.Bob / February 26, 2005 4:09 PM PST

The last time I had to do that was on my old 98 box
when my file sytem become corrupted!
Now I do not need to do that with XP just run restore.

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by greta / February 27, 2005 1:53 AM PST
In reply to: reformat

Sorry, that does not work when the computer will no long boot!

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XP Pro got into a Reboot Loop
by Robert K / February 24, 2005 9:26 PM PST

I've seen this happen in several machines. It's usually a result of an improper un-installation, or corruption of an OS file, and you cannot run a system restore. I usually have to remove the drive, set it up as a slave in another computer and copy the files that were never backed up (docs, pics, etc.).

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Why Did I Reformat My HD?
by DonP44 / February 25, 2005 1:05 AM PST

I had to reformat and re-install WinXP as my windows crashed.
To be honest, I didn't have too bad a time re-doing the whole thing, it was just time consuming and, for those items that I didn't have a back-up for, I had to search high and low for the on-line sources. The IMHO, Absolutely worst thing to re-install were all the freaking Windows updates (this was pre-SP2, of course, LOL) and they took more time overall than anything else.

I am thinking that soon I am going to have to re-format and re-install, but I am wondering: I have a slave HD, and I am not sure if I should reformat it FAT-32 or NTFS. I want to keep it for downloads of .ZIP files and executable self-installers for game maps etc. What would having both C and D drives as NTFS do to my computer? Would it slow it down, or mess it up?


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for fun?
by wubuseah / February 25, 2005 1:38 AM PST

I actually do it for fun. I like the feel of a clean harddisk and system ready for me to fill and mess up.

I never really do it to increase performance, not on my comp anyway, as I'm really strict about what programs are installed. Then again, my system hardly gets a chance to get slowed down, since I reformat with frighthening frequency (yeah, I know the dangers of all to frequent reformats).

But again, it's mostly because I like the feel of a clean harddrive, free of stuff.

The fun part is...since reformatting involves backing up my data, if my system ever crashes, I'll always have up-to-date backups that'll get me running within 4 hours (provided it isn't a hardware breakdown).

p.s. after some consideration, it may possibly be that my reformat habits have lead to a increase in my system setup and restore performance Silly

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I understand
by lakephillip / February 25, 2005 1:19 PM PST
In reply to: for fun?

I understand, and although I mostly do it to fix a problem, I also like the feel of a "new" hard drive installation. But the last one took 7 hrs with everything properly installed. So I consider it an all-night[day]event.

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To Increase Performance
by Nacromancer / February 25, 2005 4:01 AM PST

I do alot of Internet work, downloading and uninstalling of software for review for my clients. After a while things have a tendancy to get a bit sluggish, so I performa a Bio's update check, driver update check on all peripherals and software updates create a back up of the entire sytem and reformat the hard drive which fixes many issues cleans things out better and sets things back in order. Once completed I notice a major increase in speed and resource availability. One thing I also do is back up my registry and check for junk and items that would affect my system after the reformat. Most of the Registry cleaning utilities today do not do a good deep cleaning, so it is best to spend the time searching for those things that they miss. But I only suggest this for someone who is comfortable with doing things in REGEDIT. Another item I look for in MSCONFIG is services running I do not need running, but to know which to turn off. I use the option in System Services to show what are Windows Services and what are not, so I do not turn off something that will cause issues.
It is recommended by most all of the computer manufacturers I know to do this once every 6 months depending on your use of the computer, but at least once a year for little to normal use.

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How To Increase Computer Speed & Performance
by malikali86 / July 23, 2005 6:41 PM PDT

Many computer users are worried about their computer's performance. After spending lot of bucks, still they cannot have that charm of using PC as they had expected. Here I am going to explain some major tricks which are used by many computer users which help them to take efficient use of their CPU.

These tips could be of little importance for people who are already using processors with speed more than 2400 MHz but people using computer with less speed and little older mother boards and processors will enjoy these tips. They will realize significant increase in their computer's performance.

Here are these tips:

1. Operating system choice:

You will be amazed to know that your choice of choosing right windows or operating system could play a significant role on your CPU's performance. For example if you are given 5 bricks to carry them to next apartment and then 10 bricks to do same. Think how would be your performance if compared with both situations. Obviously you would perform well when carrying only 5 bricks.

Same is the case with Microsoft windows. The lighter the windows you have, higher the performance will be shown. Now this does not mean that you should install Windows 95. Here is the order of Windows weight: Windows XP (any addition) > Windows 2000 > Windows Me > Windows 98 (the lightest one). So if you have Pentium 4 with good ram then I would recommend you to use Microsoft Windows XP. People using Pentium 3 computers could use windows 2000 or if they have ram more than 256 MB then they can use windows XP too. All other lower speed users should use windows ME or 98.

You would have to compromise between speed and quality. You can decide now which operating system you should use now.

2. Partitions:

Before starting this topic I would like to give you a simple example. Suppose in one case if 100 items are placed in a house having only 2 rooms and you are required to find item no. 89, from second room. You will have to scroll through 50 items in room two to find item 89. In other case if same 100 items are placed in house having 4 rooms and you are required to find item 89 from room 2 then you would have to scroll through only 25 items present in that room and you would spend less time.

Same is the case here for partitions. If you are having more number of partitions, it would help your windows more to find required data easily from your hard disk, when you run any file or program. I would advice you to have more partitions each having at least 5 GB memory and maximum 20 GB.

You should be very careful while partitioning your hard drive and believe me many people make mistakes when they partition hard disk and lose all of their important data. Here is a free resource that can help you to learn about partitioning, formatting hard disks and installing windows.

3. Defragment Your Hard disks:

Your partitions become more fragmented when you create or delete folders, save new files, delete or move them and they become scattered on you hard drive and as time passes, windows become slower and slower due to time needed by the system to find required file on hard disk. You can learn more about why volumes become fragmented by using ''Disk Defragmenter'' Help.

My main point is that your computer becomes lazy with time. I am sure many of you have observed that after installing windows, computer become slower gradually with time. So I would strongly recommend you that you use Disk Defragmenter regularly, at least a week. I know it is quite boring process but while taking bath, lunch start it. Believe me you will feel the difference later.

4. Frequency of Changing Windows:

I would like you to compare the difference between speeds of your computer when you freshly installed windows and now. I know your answer! Obviously now you will be feeling your PC lazier than before.

This is all due to many factors such as file fragmentation; increasing of windows registry size, increase in number of files and folders in your primary partition and also because of some viruses and spy wares.

I would strongly suggest you that you should reinstall windows after formatting your primary partition at least every 3 months. That will keep your computer always efficient. Many people think that formatting hard drive is not good. That is almost a wrong illusion. Formatting your partition every 3 months and installing fresh copy of windows will considerably increase your computer's performance. Same website could help you regarding this matter.

5. My last tip:

Finally do not save junk, programs, movies, games and almost anything you can on your windows partition that is usually C: and believe me your computer would show optimal performance for longer time and provide fewer errors.

It is better you make your ''My Documents'' folder in other drive than C: as well as make also Program Files folder so install everything like Microsoft office e.t.c there not in windows installation drive. Do it and feel the difference.

Always check for your programs which automatically run at startup and use your computer's significant resources. Try to disable them carefully and feel the change in performance. Here is a way to check which programs and processes start automatically when windows starts.
Go to START->Run then type ''MSCONFIG'' then you can see which your memory consuming programs are.
If you do not want to do anything above and want shorter way with shorter improvements then create new user account and delete previous one. You will observer a slighter change and this also removes many errors if present in windows.

If you cannot even do this then why you wasted your time by reading this article and do something else Wink

I have tried my best to show all possible ways that could help you all to improve your computer performance.


Me, Alan John, always have tried to help windows users in all ways possible. Due to good experience and taking of some computer courses, I am able to do that. Here is one of my website should help many of you.

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pc performance
by agreeno / June 20, 2007 5:21 PM PDT

i've an amd machine, with 256 ram, 80gb hard disk n i'd used only 15% of disk, even after i'd formated n istalled new windows os xp with service pack two, my machine is still slow while dragging n all
please provide me some help tips. there are no unwanted programs running in my background while i checked it on task bar n my memory usage was only about 20% at start up.
and also im having some problem with stand by option, it is disabled what i wana do to make it enable?

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pc performance
by mikizzle07 / June 29, 2008 7:30 AM PDT
In reply to: pc performance

well you said the problem yourself, you're running on an 80g hard drive with 256 ram and expect speed? My friend, you need a serious upgrade. Most computers run on at least 1g of ram and 120g+ of hard drive.

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by Baddstuff / February 25, 2005 11:24 AM PST

Here's a handy tip that works beautifully for me, do a clean install of your OS, install all the applications you know you use and all drivers, Windows updates, etc. Do whatever fine tuning you normally do and get everything just right.

After that,use Norton Ghost to make an image of that configuration and save it to another partition or hard drive. Unless you make major hardware changes you can use this image to revert your PC back to that exact point.

Of course whatever changes you made to your PC after creating the image will not be in that image but think of the hours of work it will save you when you use that image to revert back and get a fresh start. Just make sure to backup any personal work before reverting back to that point.

Unfortunately Ghost takes a bit of tech savvy but it's well worth the effort to learn. It beats reinstalling EVERYTHING from scratch! I don't fly without it!
my website:

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Why did you last reformat your hard drive?
by PFurball / February 26, 2005 1:17 PM PST

I last reformated my main harddrive due to either a virus or spyware that hijacked my system and wouldn't let me log in and use any of my files and folders. I was effectively logged out of my own computer and couldn't get back in no matter what I tried. I run WinPatrolPlus, AdAware SE,Spybot,Spyblaster,Zone Alarm Pro and NOD 32 and STILL got attacked by someone or something!!!After the reformat, I also upgraded my computer and following the security recommendations by Tech Support Guy Forums, changed a few more settings and thus far, touch wood, have had no further problems. My sister, on the other hand, let her 15 yr old nephew on her computer, unsupervised and he has now demolished her computer by allowing about:blank to take charge,Global Dialling,CoolWebSearch and about 7 trojans. I have run Hijack this,Trojan Hunter and reset all the security features he managed to disable (pretty much the same stuff I use)but haven't, at this time, managed to get rid of about:blank and CoolWebSearch. They keep coming up on re-boot. Maybe another reformat job? Sad

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Reformatting Hard Drive SATA Drives in Striped Mode
by John0412 / February 27, 2005 7:01 AM PST

I last reformatted my Hard Drive after installing a second Seagate 160 GB SATA HDD and setting the Raid for "Striped mode". Whilst this should double your transfer rate (from 150 to 300 Gbits/sec.), in effect doesn't, but produces a significant transfer speed improvement and results in a more stable transfer rate. RAID can be set up as "mirrored" or "striped". In the former case it provides a complete mirror of HDD 1 on HDD 2. In the latter case, data is "shared" across the drives, giving an effective increase in data read and write.
My system is composed of an ABit NF7-S motherboard, an AMD Barton 2600+ clocked at 2.35GHz, and 512 MB of 3200 DDR RAM, Nvidia 5700U Ultra Video card, and an Audigy 2 Sound card.
When the SATA and RAID drivers are installed during Windows XP installation, XP reports that I have one (1) 300 GB HDD. This is expected using dual drives in Striped RAID mode.
I always partition my HDDs into 3 or 4 partitions. I always created a System partition (10 to 20 GB) to hold the operating system, drivers, and routine software such as Office, Dreamweaver,general utilites, etc.
In this case, I have a 20GB front partition, 2 x 117GB partitions (labelled Data and Entertainment), and the remainer (44GB) as a Utilities or backup drive.
This means if I have a software crash, I can do a clean reinstall of XP on my front partition without data loss, and I can backup my C drive on my Utilities drive using, in my case, Ghost 2003. I also load the contents of routinely used programs in folders on this drive, and install Office, etc. from there, rather than the CD. This has the advantage of not having to resort to using my original CDs for any extras for Office etc. If Office requires any extra files, it will automatically go to E drive to find them, rather than asking for the CD. I also keep my motherboard, sound and video card drivers, and Windows and Office Updates and patches in appropriate folders on this drive.
Once set up, this makes a complete system reinstall fast and painless.
I also have the option of reimaging my C drive from the image on my E drive, or the basic one I keep on my 2003 Server. I back up my "critical" data in 4.5GB blocks with my DVD burner, as well as my movies, mp3 files etc.
I defrag my HDDs every night, and run Easycleaner regularly to clean up my temp files and unlinked registry entries Windows loves to produce in abundance.
I find this to be a reliable and very satisfactory system for managing my PC.

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Reformatting HD SATA
by TIGGER0823 / April 26, 2006 8:35 AM PDT

Hi, this is a reply to your message from over a year ago, so quite a while then. If you receive this please reply, I have been searching the net for someone with a similar system to myself but with knowledge of computers. I am a completely amature user who's trying to better their system but am a bit daunted by the whole thing. So lets get into it then, I have a NFS-7 motherboard and a AMD3200XP processor with 1Gb DDR ram and two 80GB SATA drives and one 200GB IDE. The problem I am suffering is that when I try to load XP purely on the SATA array (striped) it writes a very small amount of info on the IDE drive, without which it fails to install. I have tried it without the IDE and it simply will not even get to the XP install start screen. I understand that loading the whole system on the IDE makes it run slower than the opther components and basically want to know whats going to be the best (i.e. fast and stable and something I will be capable of running).
Please if you get this, and have the time to spare, help me set up a system similar to that of yours.

Many Thanks
Robert Brian Hynes (

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You left out the biggie
by rub / February 27, 2005 7:52 AM PST

How about " you reformatted because Windows is inherently an unstable pile of ...." I have successfully headed off the consequences of most virus/spyware/malware/whatever, but I can't stop windows from corrupting itself by fighting with half the apps I've got, and even worse with IE. I worked with software patch after patch years ago. It didn't work then and it sure ain't working now, at least not with the hacks at MS. I've concluded that they can't hire good programmers to do a ground-up design

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Reformat HD's
by hagbard44 / May 19, 2005 9:25 AM PDT

Personally I don't think microsoft have any decent programmers. The only time I reformat is when I have absolutly NO other alternative. The whole process is long, slow and painfull (especially if the client has not done a backup of their data, and/or tested the recovery process.) The main problems I run into are things like movie codecs that conflict and strange utility programs that punters have used to try and fix things themselves.
Having said that XP with SP2 ready built in seems to less problems in the long run. I have been a comp-tech for 18 years and will still do whatever I can to keep a system up and running without having to resort to a reformat, and this is the very last step I take when all else fails.

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As my computer ws running slow
by Stevo9876 / November 30, 2006 3:40 PM PST

The last time I reformatted was just because ny pc was really running slow. Since then I have learnt to protect my pc with Anti-virus, Defrag, cleanup, etc; Here is a good site to show you the steps to do that without having to buy anything!

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Increase Computer Performance
by aseem1234 / July 21, 2008 1:46 PM PDT
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