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How often do you reformat your personal computer?

By Paper_boy558 ·
Personally in the past i often formatted my laptop every two months or so because i often experimented with the operating system and broke something or just trying out a new setup. Currently i haven't formatted for almost year because 1: I don't see the need right now. 2: I don't have enough backup space to backup everything that is on my machine. What is your reason for reformatting (or not) your personal machine?

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It varies...

by dldorrance In reply to How often do you reformat ...

I surf the web on Linux and run programs not available in Linux in XP in a virtual machine. Ditto on for trying out other Linux distributions in the virtual machine. I periodically back up the data (Linux plus virtual machine data) with a backup tool in Linux. If the HDD goes, I can restore Linux from an image, restore the virtual machine and then restore Linux and all XP program data from the Linux backup. Then reinstall programs as needed.

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Almost never

by WDMilner In reply to How often do you reformat ...

Why should I need to reformat my system? About the only time that happen is if I want to upgrade the size of drive I use for a particular partition. Then the new drive gets formatted, the contents of the old drive migrated to the new drive, the old drive removed and the system rebooted.

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I've never reformatted a computer.

by seanferd In reply to How often do you reformat ...

I have reformatted disks. I've wiped disks, and I have to say I don't even bother reformatting if I'm not going to wipe the drive. I've re-installed operating systems.

So, going with a format and reinstall, I haven't done my main XP system ever. Windows 95, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Win 98SE, it is only slight hyperbole to say "all the time". Machines I fix for OS issues get nuked and paved about half the time. Testing and "play-around" machines get wiped before every new installation.

So, if you broke something in the OS, had you tried an in-place repair install first? And if you had problems serious enough to reformat and reinstall, had you wiped the drive with something like DBAN or Killdisk prior to partitioning, formatting, and reinstalling?

And if you broke something just by changing settings, my advice would be to document what you do so that you can undo it. This saves time, and you are more likely to learn something, as well as have a reference for the future.

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Never

by dogknees In reply to How often do you reformat ...

I've never needed to re-install Windows on my home PC. Even after 6 years my last one ran well and was stable.

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Reponse To Answer

by Paper_boy558 In reply to Never

WOW u should get a medal! lol

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Format is not required

by UMzY In reply to How often do you reformat ...

Format is not required if you really understand OS very well
Please follow following few tips
Keeping system upto date.
Defrag File System every week or once in fortnight.
At least run scandisk once in 6 month
Frequently clear temporary files by running System cleanup utility
Before install any driver ensure you are 100% what you are installing
Same hold true for any non standard software
Try to use default application As far as possible
Always log on to system using standard user account rather than Admin account
Make single partition rather than multiple unless reason to do so

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As Little as Possible

by Stephen Wheeler In reply to How often do you reformat ...

Reformatting the OS disc is a huge job, so I avoid it like the plague! Re-installing the OS means:
- Cleaning up (e.g. deleting outdated and duplicate files), then backing up user(s) data (>1 hr. per user)
- Backing up application data (e.g. browser settings and bookmarks - 1/2 hr. per user, not including the time taken to persuade other users to get on with it. Thankfully this activity is becoming obsolete as the price and capacity of laptops has improved so much and application writers have made backing up simpler)
- Cataloging all frequently used applications and extensions - then making sure you have the latest versions on removable media (6 to 8 hrs.) - or licence information and download locations if you want to download
- Cataloging all drivers and making sure you have the latest versions on removable media. The last time I did a OS re-install I assumed that a printer driver would be available on-line. Wrong! The manufacturer had withdrawn support for the printer and I could not find a replacement - cost: 1 new printer! (5 to 6 hrs)
- Re-format disc and partition if wanted (highly variable depending on size and speed of disc(s), but lets say 2 hrs)
- Install operating system (>2 hrs last time I tried)
- Configure OS (>2 hrs last time).
- Instal security apps. (Firewall, Anti-V, Anti-S,) and configure (1 to 2 hrs).
- Instal major apps. (Browser, Office Automation, Media Player, programming tools, mail extension, softphone, Adobe readers / players, etc. (again highly variable but the last time I had to do this it took at least 3 hrs)
- Launch each major application and re-install extensions and settings (last time this took me, on a single user system, about 4 1/2 hrs).
- Instal frequently used minor applications and drivers such as printers, external drives, Scanner, MP3 player, Dig. Camera, etc. and test all hardware (about another 5 hours).
- Put back data (about an hour per user).
- Optional: Scan & Defrag - another 6 to 8 hours.

I therefore, conservatively, estimate that it will take me 40 hours to re-instal my OS. Some people will say that this can be reduced by good housekeeping - which is true, but not by much in the overall scheme of things.

As my last re-instal demonstrates, it must be done properly or you can find yourself shelling out for some serious costs (lost printer driver = new printer and ink).

Some of my times may seem a little long to some people - I think my HD may be underpowered for the number of apps I ask it to run, but otherwise I stand by them.

Also, like most people, I don't always fully document and re-instal every setting and application. Usually this is because time is too short. I (therefore) always end up losing productivity (or leisure) time in addition to the above. This lost time later - when you have to try and remember how you did it before - sometimes means finding and re-installing some obscure minor app.. These are particularly bothersome because they take so long and you always find out when you have a deadline!

If you keep your security software up-to-date, and scan and defrag your media on a regular basis re-installing the OS should really only be necessary for tech guys who need to experiment with OSs, and people recovering from virusi or cack-handed users.

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Reponse To Answer

by spcecil In reply to As Little as Possible

Really? 40 hours? I can completly reformat and install my system in maybe 3. its easy, buy an external HDD, and automatically backup as you go. then when you feel its time to reformat, do it; and when your done you have a clean OS and all your docs/data are still where you left them.

If you dont want to buy and external, just partition off however much space you need in your current HDD, when you reformat your OS it will not effect this space; only your primary partiton (or whatever partition you select actually)

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If its not broken

by sarah In reply to How often do you reformat ...

My windows 7 pc has been as good as gold, so...but I do regular maintenance and keep it up to date. I spend so much time rebuilding the families pc's because they manage to get them infected, fill up the hard drive or install so much rubbish software on them they become so slow they are almost unusable.

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Every 6 to 12 months

by oldbaritone In reply to How often do you reformat ...

When intermittent bugs start slowing the system down noticeably, it's time for a reinstall. Don't need to fully format, but a periodic "full reinstall" without format makes Windows easier to tolerate. Nuke the C:\WINDOWS directory, boot from CD/DVD and install. Then just move the data like (My Documents, etc.) to the newly-created user directory.

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