How often should Windows be re-installed?

By pctech498 ·
How often would you say a PC should be formatted and Windows re-installed?

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by Mehul Bhai In reply to How often should Windows ...

If you maintain your PC well, then never.

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What about for average users?

by pctech498 In reply to Never

I do understand that if a PC is well maintained then Windows should never need to be reinstalled. However, from my experience, a well-maintained installation of Windows is not too common. End users seem to focus more on accomplishing tasks than performing maintenance. I am interested in find out what technical support people and consultants usually recommend to clients. Just being curious.

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Only after...

by cmiller5400 In reply to What about for average us ...

Only after the system crashes. ]:)

My home Win XP Pro install has been running since 2004. No issues. And I have installed and uninstalled countless AV apps and other software with no ill effects.

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RE: What about for average users?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to What about for average us ...

Sorry I don't know what one of those is.

My current version of XP Pro has been running for 2 years now which is as long as I have had this computer.

A customer who has a iPod and likes to download Music had his computer back for 20 minutes before he managed to infect the thing and destroy the OS after I had just finished reloading the thing.

So I suppose the correct answer is anywhere between when they first start using the computer and when it crashes and no longer boots you need to reinstall the OS.

I just use the guide of when it starts to give problems that can not be quickly fixed. If it takes more than 30 minutes to fix a Windows Install I reload as it's cheaper for the customer.


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I vote "Never" also

by Churdoo In reply to Never

Re-install only as a last resort.

The skillset of the user is irrelevant because when it crashes they would bring it to a tech for repair. So it's the technician's ability or philosophy that governs whether or how often windows should be re-installed.

I will go out of my way to repair an O/S rather than re-install to avoid several pitfalls
a. many users do not have proper backups of their data
b. many users have not maintained CD's or product keys for all if their software
c. I don't want to cause the user to re-do any/all settings/customizations they may have done to the O/S and/or applications

I and the rest of my guys will repair the O/S, and it is only the extremely rare case where we shamefully re-install.
My two cents for what it's worth.

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Time to repair

by pctech498 In reply to I vote "Never" also

But what if it takes longer to repair than to perform a re-install? For example, I've seen a PC that was so corrupt that it took me about an hour and a half to boot the computer and install printer drivers. Cleaning up the hard drive and defragmenting were pointless. The system was running too slow and had too many errors.

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Several other variables make up good service

by Churdoo In reply to Time to repair

Well I did admit that ... "occasionally" we throw in the towel and reinstall, but the decision is not based on a straight-line comparison of re-install time versus repair time; there are a lot more variables than just time of repair versus time of re-install that contribute to overall value or service to the end client.

If the computer is relatively new and adequate, between re-install time, punch in updates and service packs, an antivirus, standard freebie readers/players can be done, Office or other productivity software, let's just say about an hour and a half for the sake of argument. Are we suggesting that any corruption or infestation that may take over an hour and a half to repair will result in a re-install?

In a business environment this could be the case since it's the job of IT in the business environment to be able to withstand failures and to quickly recover from them, whether on a single workstation level or even the whole infrastructure. It's stressed on a biz workstation to adhere to standards and is generally discouraged to overly customize or personalize, and so a re-install or re-image is a viable solution in many biz cases.

What I'm talking about however is some home user who may call for a one-off repair due to corruption or infestation. What about the state the computer was in before the corruption/infestation; user data, software, settings, personalizations, cached passwords, etc.? Even if you do a pretty good job of copying data from the user's profile ... my docs, shared docs, IE fav's, desktop, OE or Outlook data, even the user's wallpaper, there is still a risk of the user having stored docs in a non-standard location, software that the user may or may not have the install CD's and/or product keys readily available for, a host of settings/personalizations/cached passwords not only in the O/S but in other software that the user has, and there's no way to completely discover everything the user has and restore it to a state just prior to the malady.

IMHO the job of a good tech when a workstation is brought in for repair is to REPAIR, and the definition of repair is to return the object working and to a state reasonably close to condition it was in just prior to the problem. Returning a workstation in which the O/S is returned to default settings, and other software is either at default settings or missing, is not a repair, and could arguably be a dis-service to the end client.

We will go through many pains to be sure that on the very few occasions that we're ready to re-install, that we've done everything we can possibly think of to attempt to return the workstation to a state better than it was before the issue originally started.

edited typo

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It's not so much the time to repair

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Time to repair

But the Costs involved in fixing the thing. After all there are very few Domestic Users willing to pay 4K to recover those Must Have Pictures of the Grandkids when their HDD fails and they don't have a backup.

It's the techs fault that they lost these pictures not theirs. Also you have to be sensible here you do not spend 6 Hours at $75.00 per hour repairing something that can be replaced with a new computer for $500.00.

Today many people see computers as White Goods and consider their cost as the Important thing. They do not consider the cost of the Data on the HDD as important because their Time is Free to them.

Business on the other hand sees the Data as the Valuable thing with any computer system and works on how much it's going to cost to keep that Data Usable.

OH and BTW there are only 2 types of Computer users those who have lost all of their Data and those who are going to loose all of their data.


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I have found that the first type, the ones who have lost all their data

by Michael Jay In reply to It's not so much the time ...

discover a new religion, called backup.

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Yep that's right

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to I have found that the fir ...

Of course they still blame the Tech because they lost all of their Data but at least after the event they Religiously follow the Religion of Always Having a Current Backup.

Doesn't matter how many times you told them before the accident happened they never believe you so they have to experience the loss to do the right thing.


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