Mobile menu

reinstallation newbie
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 15, 2006

After 3 years of heavy use, my PC has slowed down to a crawl and I clearly need to reinstall the OS (Windows XP). I've never performed this task and unfortunately there are no techies among my circle of friends, so I was hoping for a little handholding in this forum.

I am backing up all necessary files onto CD disks, and so far have saved all contents in the My Documents, Favorites and Desktop folders. I am not sure how one goes about saving all emails and info in address book onto a CD disk. Also, is it necessary to back up all folders in the C: drive?

I have found articles online with much information as to how to perform a reinstallation, but they all seem to be targeted to more technically savvy readers. In short, any advice or links to easy to follow instructions will be most appreciated. I tried to use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, but it only allows me to save to floppy disks...does this seem peculiar to anyone else?

Feel free to ask if you need more info than I am providing here in order to be able to offer suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your guidance and your patience,

Susana

[Edited at 2006-08-15 22:12]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Piotr Sawiec  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
English to Polish
+ ...
About backup Aug 15, 2006

Location of e-mails and contacts depends on the e-mail client that you use. If the previous version of your system was default-installed, then you'd better copy the whole C: partition, just in case, if you have enough room. By default, this partition accumulates all vital data about software profiles, documents, e-mails, contacts, so if you forget something, it will be easier to recover.

Then, the simplest thing is to reinstall the system. Usually in order to do so you have to start your computer from your CD, if bootable, if not, usually we use a boot floppy disc. And once you start it, the wizard will ask you whether you want to install a new system over the old one, which may keep your preferences and documents, or perform a new installation. Then you put an ashtray on your keyboard and drink a beer. Usually in the meantime you will have to provide some data.

The more complicated way is to format your hard drive first, thus erasing all data. With a command fdisk you can also divide your drive into several partition, which is usually beneficial, since one partition can be used for a pure system, and the other for storing your data. When you store your data on parititions other than the system one, the data are safer in case of system loss.

You also have to make sure that you have drivers for your peripherals, which are usually provided with such equipment. You will be asked for these drivers during installation. And at last your software.

Good luck

Piotr


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
some answers Aug 15, 2006

Piotr Sawiec wrote:
Location of e-mails and contacts depends on the e-mail client that you use.


I use Outlook Express

Piotr Sawiec wrote:
If the previous version of your system was default-installed, then you'd better copy the whole C: partition, just in case, if you have enough room.


It was, indeed, default-installed. Is there a way to copy the whole C: partition in one step? Or will it be necessary to copy each folder individually?

Many thanks,

Susana


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 21:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ideas ... Aug 15, 2006

Susana Galilea wrote:

After 3 years of heavy use, my PC has slowed down to a crawl and I clearly need to reinstall the OS (Windows XP).


Susana, why do you say 'I clearly need to ...'? I'm not so sure that will solve your problem.

In my experience, a sluggish PC is more likely to have problems with:

- Adware
- Viruses
- running out of disk space
- or simply too many unnecessary softwares all running at the same time.

Such things can often be tackled effectively without reinstalling the OS. And many viruses will stay on the system even if you do reinstall the OS!

I'll not try to give you any more-specific advice, because I don't use XP (I'm still on Me...).

Except to add that, if you are not confident about reinstalling the OS, do not try to format your hard disk!

MediaMatrix

[Edited at 2006-08-15 23:10]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 21:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
This is an illusion Aug 15, 2006

Piotr Sawiec wrote:

When you store your data on parititions other than the system one, the data are safer in case of system loss.


This is drifting a bit off-topic, but ...

... experience shows that most incidents that cause loss of access to hard-disk data are catastrophic electronic or mechanical faults that prevent ALL access to the disk - i.e. all disk partitions are affected.

It is rare for a software error to occur that affects only one partition - and even when that does happen, it can target your 'safe data partition' just as easily as it can affect the 'OS & software partition'. Also, the area on the disk that contains the 'partition table' - i.e. the 'map' of the disk structure - is particularly vulnerable to virus attack. If you loose the table, you can't retrieve anything.

By all means separate 'OS & software' from 'data' - but have them on separate hard-disks, not on partitions of the same one.

Idem - but yet more so - for back-ups. Backing-up your data between partitions on the same drive is a worthless exercise.

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
clarification Aug 15, 2006

mediamatrix wrote:
Susana, why do you say 'I clearly need to ...'? I'm not so sure that will solve your problem.


I experienced some technical problems a couple of months ago, and at that time consulted with a PC expert who came to the conclusion that reinstalling the OS would solve my troubles. It is also my understanding that reinstalling the OS periodically is standard procedure for Windows systems.

Many thanks,

Susana


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 02:33
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
an orthogonal suggestion Aug 15, 2006

After 3 years of heavy use, my PC has slowed down to a crawl and I clearly need to reinstall the OS (Windows XP)


buy a new, bigger, faster etc HD and add it to the front of the lineup. This way you have still everything on line, but you do not have to work off backups (and we allways forget something too). And you may even configure it as multiple-bootup to boot new vs old (if you need something from the old registry etc).

Of course it is not as simple as it sounds - C is not the old C any more etc - but this method is the closest I found to revolution without r. And it's a wonder (based on experience), how much cr*p one eventually can dispense with.

And plan to format the old disks in say 3 weeks. This way one is forced to start moving/dusting off.

Regards and keep us informed

[Edited at 2006-08-15 23:23]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
problem being... Aug 15, 2006

...I am now more confused than when I made my original posting

Should I really forget about attempting this on my own? I was hoping there was a step by step method that could be followed by anyone not fundamentally scared of computers.

Are there any non-techies reading this who have successfully performed a reinstallation? ("successfully" being the key word here) If so, I would love to hear from you...

My heartfelt thanks for all the input so far

Susana


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alan Campbell  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:33
Russian to English
+ ...
Go for it! Aug 16, 2006

In my experience, reinstalling Windows is most definitely a worthwhile exercise. I do it once a year during the Christmas break.

Windows gets bloated as it ages. You install stuff, free trials, possibly get spyware and remove it with spyware scanners, and so on and so forth. The uninstall routine for many apps is rather poor and leaves traces behind in the registry (any try uninstalling Norton software recently?) It's also a good opportunity to start from a clean slate and not install the apps you thought you would need but actually don't.

I also advocate having the OS on its own partition. Sure, having it on its own physical drive is a good idea (and I plan to do just that very soon) but it's not always possible. When I had just one HDD, I had a Windows partition for OS and apps, and a data partition. To reinstall Windows, it was simply a case of reformatting and reinstalling XP onto the Windows partition. All my data was safe it the data partition.

There are a few online walk-throughs on how to do a clean install of XP so, rather than reinventing the wheel, better I think just to point you to a couple of those:

http://www.theeldergeek.com/clean_installation_of_windows_xp.htm
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html

The first one has lots of screenshots, so I suggest you either have a second computer by your side when doing the reinstall, or print the instructions and screenshots. There is a link at the bottom to downloadable PDF docs of the process.

Here's Microsoft's instructions on backing up Outlook Express:

http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;270670&x=16&y=18

And as a safety net, I generally copy and paste the Application Data folder to a safe location, just in case. You'll find it here (if C is your system partition):

C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\

If you can't see it, you need to show hidden folders by opening Windows Explorer (Windows Key and E) the go to Tools > Folder options > View (I think -- I'm on French Windows right now) then check the radio button for Show hidden files.

Also, please check whether your hard drives are SATA or IDE. This is the type of interface that connects your hard drive to your motherboard. SATA is more recent and annoyingly requires drivers on a floppy during the XP install.

You'll end up with a surprisingly zippy machine, a sense of achievement and, perhaps best of all, a better understanding of how your computer works.

Good luck and let us know how it went!

Alan

[Edited at 2006-08-16 06:17]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:33
German to English
+ ...
External HD Aug 16, 2006

It's worth buying an external hard drive for backups, especially for the monster backup that is needed before doing anything drastic to your Windows setup.
Nowadays you can probably get a USB external drive that is bigger than your built-in drive for around a hundred dollars (more or less). Then you don't have to play disc jockey with a stack of CDs.

I sympathise with your hesitancy - I reinstalled my Windows earler this year, and for me it was a major (and slightly nervous) exploit. I had everything nicely backed up beforehand, which helped. But re-installing all my stuff afterwards was still a hassle. But my Windows was very much faster immediately afterwards. It has slowed down somewhat in the months since then, but it is still smoother and faster than before the big day.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:33
English to Spanish
could making more space in HD an easy solution in these cases? From another newbie Aug 16, 2006

Hi Susana

This is not what you want, but it may help to make any computer faster.

Here is a very good article of El País (in Spanish) in case it helps, it is about four ways to make more space in the HD,

http://www.elpais.es/articulo/internet/Eliminar/archivos/sobran/organizar/quedan/elpportec/20060630elpepunet_4/Tes/


Kind regards,

Marta


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 21:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
On hard disk reformatting ... Aug 16, 2006

In the light of comments made by others, I think it's worth reinforcing what I said earlier - not only for Susana, but for anyone who comes across this thread in the future, in search of advice on reinstalling their OS and/or formatting their hard drive.

Reformatting should be seen as a *last resort*, for use only if:

- reinstalling the OS doesn't produce a satisfactory improvement in performance;

- you want to set up, or modify, hard disk partitions;

- you've had a hard disk crash and are installing a new one.

If you do decide to reformat the OS disk:

All software on the formatted drive (including the OS itself, of course) will have to be re-installed. Make sure you have all the necessary CDs and diskettes. During installation you will be required to type in licence or key data - if you haven't got it, you'll not be able to install it (or in some cases, activate it after installation). If you are using software that is an up-grade of an older version, then when you come to re-install it from your up-grade CD it may insist on 'seeing' the installation disk of the original version, as proof that you have the relevant licence. With some softwares you must completely install the old version and then up-grade it.

You will need to enter data such as the username and password for your ISP connection. Have this data to hand. If you have instructed websites (Proz, web-mail servers, e-bay, etc.) to 'remember' your username and password, to avoid having to enter them each time you want to log-in, you will need these too - can you still remember them? You might want to visit the sites in question and jot them down before wiping your web connnection ...

If you've installed patches, bug-fixes, 'service packs', updated peripheral drivers (for printers, scanners, webcams, etc.) or other enhancements to your applications, from CDs or via the Web, you'll need to install all these again. Do you know what is installed on your PC now?

Most applications - including all those from Microsoft - install configuration files, templates etc. in folders dispersed throughout the OS folder/file structure. The precise location of these files varies from one product to another - it's no exaggeration to say that they can be 'anywhere' - and be very difficult to identify. Unless you have these files backed-up - and know where to put them back after formatting the OS drive/partition - you will not only have to reinstall all your software, but also reconfigure it from scratch, re-build templates, etc.

Most applications - again, including some from Microsoft - save your document files by default in the same folder as the application used to create them, not in 'My Documents'. Do not assume it is sufficient to back-up 'My Documents' ... To be sure of 'catching' all your precious document files, search the entire drive for files having extensions corresponding to all the document types you use (.xls for Excel, .doc for Word, etc.).

Note that in some cases it is important to install different softwares in a certain order - otherwise one may over-write files for another and something might not work as expected. The OS must (of course) be installed first. Have your peripherals plugged-in and switched on while installing the OS, so they will be detected and installed at this stage. If you have updated drivers for your peripherals (i.e. more-recent than those included with your OS), install these next. Assuming you've got a typical translator's set-up all based on Microsoft applications (MS Office ...) install all that next and get it all working properly - especially your Internet connection, which can be your lifeline in the event of problems - before adding other software. Next should come security software (anti-virus, anti-adware, etc.). Then your other professional software (CAT, Acrobat, etc.). And finally, the 'gadgets'.

At this stage, it's worth activating 'automatic updates' in any applications that have this feature (the OS, Office, Acrobat, etc.), going on-line and getting the latest versions.

Only when everything is working satifactorily should the software configuration, recovery of backed-up files, etc. begin.

Be aware that depending on what you have and/or need on your system, hard disk formatting and re-installation may take a very long time. Do not start on a Saturday afternoon - if you have a problem and need professional help, you'll find no-one until Monday morning at the earliest - and you'll spend a very unhappy Sunday.

Other requirements are - time, patience - and an inexhaustable supply of your favourite beverages.

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Piotr Sawiec  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:33
English to Polish
+ ...
Safer does not mean safe Aug 17, 2006

mediamatrix wrote:

... experience shows that most incidents that cause loss of access to hard-disk data are catastrophic electronic or mechanical faults that prevent ALL access to the disk - i.e. all disk partitions are affected.

By all means separate 'OS & software' from 'data' - but have them on separate hard-disks, not on partitions of the same one.

Idem - but yet more so - for back-ups. Backing-up your data between partitions on the same drive is a worthless exercise.

MediaMatrix


So far, my incidents were about errors in partition table and in the system itself, so formatting the C: partition and reinstalling the system was enough to recover my data on partition D:, which means that such data are really safer. Quite few people have seconds hard drives to copy their data into. So using another partition at least will secure you against some crashes.

I agree that backing-up between partitions is worthless, in this context just using a partition different than the system one is enough.

Piotr


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

reinstallation newbie

Advanced search






memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs