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Help List of things to do before you reformat & Q's?

Hello It has come time to reformat my laptop. After 4 years a new HD and RAM upgrade, reformatting is the last thing i can do to extend my PC's life.

Does Cnet have a tutorial/walk through/How-To on reformatting your PC (Win XP) ala their weekend project guides?

A google search found a good resource
Cnet Community Newsletter: Q&A: 2/25/05 How to reformat your hard drive

additionally 2 things that I'm looking for are:
How to back up your favorites and book marks?
-Sub category: is there a way to back up and save all your FireFox extensions or do i just need to list them all down and DL them again?

How do i save my podcast subscriptions on itunes 7?
do i need to back up and put back in the iTunes music folder the 2 files "iTunes Music Library.xml" & "iTunes Library.itl"

Thanks for the help or direction to links.

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Why reformat?

In reply to: Help List of things to do before you reformat & Q's?

If you purchased a new drive and are not using the old one, you don't need to format your old one. You only need to install your XP if that's what you have onto your new drive. Now, please consider before doing so ...

*Make sure you have your install disk and not an OEM on your drive. If you don't have the install disks, you won't be re-installing Windows.*

As well, you could simply connect to a pc and put all your info on there and perhaps burn to DVD or CDs or even USB, for safe keeping.


Firefox favs...easily remmedied...Go to Bookmarks> manage bookmarks>File> you can save them to a file anywhere on your drive.

IE....File>Import Export>...export wizard opens...Next>Export Favorites> can then choose where to save those as well

Firefox extensions> I would try here..

Or take this route and I happen to know since I am designing a FF skin,

*A note: you have to show hidden files and folders in order to access this*

Go to C:\Documents and Settings\*your user name*\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\*some letters.default*\

and in there you will see the extensions folder. I find it easier to just back up the whole Mozilla folder.

I am no podcast expert so you may want to get more info from someone else.
check here...

And just for the record, please clarify if you bought a new hard drive, or you had a new one and are re-formatting that one, or are putting a new one and Ram in now.


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Reformat clarification

In reply to: Why reformat?

first thanks on the tips for bookmark and extension back up. (Good idea just copy the whole mozilla folder) Also the Google browser sync is awesome. I almost don't need to worry about backing up my favorites.

To clarify the HD and RAM issue:
I put both in at the same time about a year ago. I had a 40GB HD and ran out of space so I put a 80GB HD in and the RAM to giv the old notebook a shot in the arm.

I used some cloning software that took the image off the old HD and placed it on to the new HD. So to the computer there never was a reinstall/format, just BOOM! 40 more Gigs.

Also after 4 years and many Programs and Files on and off it's just time to start over form a clean slate.
Plus my computer has been acting weird for several months i'm having problems with the windows process scvhost.exe taking up 100% CPU at random times and I've been unsuccessful in trying to stop it. I feel a reinstall/reformat will fix the problem.

I do have a few complications however:

Original Toshiba Disks are XP Home.
I'm currently running XP Pro that was upgraded by a friend and it turns out that it's not a kosher version.
(I hope i don't violate any forum rules here. I'm trying to make my system legitimate!)
I own a REAL version of Win XP SP2 OEM (Never been used, still in the plastic)

I assume there's a difference between reinstall and reformat right?
Reinstall = overwrite the OS but keep your data
Reformat = wipe everything and start form scratch

Can some one answer the question: Can I reinstall Win XP Pro form the new disk and not loose my data?

And then the kicker at the end of all this is, my internal CD drive in my notebook is busted so I'll be doing all this off of an external optical drive.
I worried that during a reinstall or reformat my machine may fail to recognize the drive and I'll be stuck in limbo...

See exchange

I may just live with the bugs and ghosts in the machine until i can save up to buy a new one.

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In reply to: Reformat clarification

Well, normally I wouldn't help you to be honest. I don't go for the illegal software thing nor does anyone in the forum. Since you are going legit with it, a VERY good move, I will say this, many people will use the same or different terms for the same thing. A FRESH install is what I would call a new install of XP with nothing of the old left. Reformat is either wiping out the drive or changing the format to some. What you want to do is take your LEGAL copy of XP, throw it in and boot from CD, make sure you set it up in Bios, some will boot from the CD anyway, depends. Onward> simply choose a new install, it's like wiping the drive clean and starting over. You will get options for this and which partition etc...

the catch: IF you mean a REPAIR install, I won't help you, AT ALL. Meaning you would be keeping you current OS. For one, if you use your legal copy, it would be sensless to install a legal OS over a Pirated one,and it takes same amount of time as fresh install. Go with the fresh install.


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Order of operations

In reply to: Reinstall

Just to make sure Since i have a notebook

Assume i have backed up all my data and my drivers

what is my best course of action:

Reformat with my Toshiba disks (XP Home + Drivers for my rig) then load the XP Pro CD and Upgrade to Pro


Reformat with XP Pro OEM CD and then load Drivers my self?

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Simply put..

In reply to: Order of operations

When I bought XP pro, I couldn't have been happier to get rid of my OEM version. Windows will have drivers to get you started, updates will provide you with more and what there isn't you can always download and install or use Device manager to try and update them automatically. I would say you should be fine with the XP pro. I have never had problems putting full versions on OEMs with the exception of a few driver updates. If nothing else, depending on the OEM, you can extract the drivers from the disk like I did and install them as well.


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Thanks for the help

In reply to: Simply put..

Sounds good to me.
Plus it will get rid of Toshiba this and Toshiba that in my notebook.
Thanks for the advice/help.

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This and that

In reply to: Thanks for the help

You are very welcome. Yes, that was the plus to it all, no more uninstalling 100 usless applications just to have a basic OS. No more OEM limitations .


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Some of my tips

In reply to: Help List of things to do before you reformat & Q's?

If you have a restore/recovery disk and Master cd from your vendor for your type of computer and if you haven't changed any of the hardware since you bought it new, you should use those disk to do what you want...otherwise, follow the directions below (do the first couple of steps anyhow even if you do have the restore/recovery/Master disk setup).


Before doing a format, go to my website and download the free version of WinDrivers Backup PE (it's near the bottom of the page). Install it, create a folder where you want the drivers saved to, then run the program. Burn this folder to the cd with the rest of the things listed below. This way when you format and need to reinstall any drivers that XP can't do for you, you can go into Device Mgr, and update the drivers from that folder and know you will be getting drivers that are already working properly without having to download them all again from the internet. If you download the latest drivers and install them now before you do this, you will already then have the latest drivers inside that folder. This program saves each driver with .inf files in separate subfolders all named for the device they go to so they are very easy to find again and know you are installing the correct driver for each device.

Save to disk (floppy, zip drive, or cd if you have a cdrw) all files that you want to be able to restore later on. Email messages, address book, data you have personally created, zip downloads so you don't have to hunt for them again, mp3 files you may have downloaded, etc. Go through your C: drive folder by folder in Explorer to make sure you don't forget anything. Any programs you have installation disks don't worry about because you will have to reinstall them again anyhow. Make sure you have the correct info in Dial Up Networking for your ISP icon written down somewhere so you can get back on the net, too. NOTE: If you have a website, make sure you save that as well.


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