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time to wipe the hard drive?

by dudeimfrommaine / March 4, 2007 9:09 AM PST

my parents computer (dell w/ windows xp home) has been running very slow for quite awhile and is now bordering in useless due long load times even with simple tasks. so i'm thinking about just wiping out the whole system and reinstalling everything when i'm home on spring break. the problem is ive never wiped a hard drive and while i know a few things about computers i am no expert. so my question is wiping the drive the best way to go? (i've already tried every spyware, malware and virus scanner imaginable with no improvement) and are there any good websites with a reliable walkthrough of how to wipe a hard drive? i have a basic idea of how to but i dont want to miss any details and end up screwin this machine up anymore. thanks.

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Have you you looked at what's running from the startup ?
by VAPCMD / March 4, 2007 9:17 AM PST

How about deleting the '.tmp' files ?

Do your have all the CDs needed to restore the system ?

VAPCMD

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...

i'll have to find the backup CDs but i now we kept them. i haven't gone in and deleted tmp files. i've run ccleaner, spybot, adaware, and hijackthis and there are registry errors and stuff that these programs can't seem to fix or remove thats why i was thinkin bout just wiping it out and startin over.

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dudeimfrommaine
by tomron / March 4, 2007 9:19 AM PST
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Maybe not best
by jackson dougless / March 4, 2007 9:51 AM PST

But from the sounds of things, it'll probably be the fastest, probably easiest too. Depending on how you want to define best, it may well be the best.

A sort of checklist of things you'll want to do to prepare for all of this.

1: Make sure you have all the restore CDs, particularly the Windows restore CD, or something that will install Windows.
2: Make sure to locate, and have handy, a copy of all the drivers you'll need. At the very least, make sure you've got network card or modem drivers so you can download the rest.
3: If you haven't already done so, I'd strongly suggest making a SP2 slipstreamed install CD. A quick Google search should get you more info on the subject than you could read in a lifetime.
4: Make a backup of any documents you don't want to lose. Only worry about documents. Programs and settings are a lost cause.
5: Before connecting to the Internet, be sure that XP's firewall is switched on, or that you have installed a third party firewall.
6: The first thing you should do, once on the Internet, is start downloading updates from Windows Updates.
7: After doing #6, I would strongly recommend downloading Mozilla Firefox, and deleting the Internet Explorer icon from the desktop and Start menu, so that it's never used by your parents.
8: After #7, if your parents use Outlook/Outlook Express for email, download a copy of Mozilla Thunderbird and delete all icons for Outlook Express.
9: Make sure automatic updates is turned on, and it is set to automatically download and install updates.

While #7-9 can be considered optional, they will dramatically increase the odds that the system will remain stable and usable for a considerably longer period of time.

The actual formatting and reinstallation process is really pretty self-explanatory if you read the on screen instructions. The place most people get tripped up at, is not having all the drivers or installation discs for other programs they had before. If you run through my list of things above, you should find the process rather simple.

And if ever in doubt, every floor in every dorm on campus is likely to have at least one computer geek on it. Just walk into a random dorm, and start asking people who to talk to if you have a computer problem. If they haven't had all the good nature beaten out of them by dealing with serial whiner types, they might even offer to answer any questions you might have over the phone. It can never hurt to ask, and it can never hurt to befriend at least one of these people in case you ever find yourself in the classic college situation of it being the wee hours of the morning, you have a paper due the next day that you've put off until now, and something goes wrong with your computer.

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sweet
by dudeimfrommaine / March 4, 2007 10:08 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe not best

awesome thanks for takin the time to write all that up... i should be able to follow all that just fine. one last thing since getting back on the internet is important. they have verizon DSL do i need to save any IP configurations etc. just in case? thanks again.

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Doubtful
by jackson dougless / March 4, 2007 10:47 AM PST
In reply to: sweet

Though you should locate any information sent to you by Verizon about setting up your computer for use with their DSL service. You should probably have your parents locate this now, so if they can't find it, they can call Verizon and get a new one mailed out, and it will hopefully be there by the time you show up.

It's unlikely you'll need anything else. You can check the current settings, and write down any IP addresses you find if you want.

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Good advice....wiping would be best if he's got all the data
by VAPCMD / March 4, 2007 10:30 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe not best

off and the CDs to restore the PC's original configuration and whatever else was installed.

Might also be worthwhile to run something like 'Belarc' and save that data for future reference in restoring the PC.

VAPCMD

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