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Reformatting or not That's the question?

By redray1 ·
We have a home computer, use by three family member. I regularly run scandisk and defrag. My 15 yr old recon we should cleanup by reformating and start fresh. I say run scandisk and defrag, leave the rest as is... please help.

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They know more than you think

by TZapf In reply to 15 year olds no everythin ...

I know plenty of 15 year-old's who have grown up with computers and can build computers and load them from scratch. I've got 8 years experience and I can tell you I always choose reformat, it's easier and it cleans everything up nicely. Defrag andScandisk will only help you for a certain period of time, but after that the garbage on your system will pile so high you need to backup and reformat

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Family PCs get cluttered...

by Sirwar In reply to 15 year olds no everythin ...

If your 51 with no kids there, scandisk probably works fine, but family PCs are another story. All those downloadable browser plug-ins, multimedia drivers and apps, games, instant messaging services, viruses, etc, etc, etc...particularly if said family has broadband. oi.

I know when I was 15 I reformated every couple months because 15 year olds have a knack for messing with everything, but in the end I am more knowledgable for it.

As long as he backs everything up on another drive or removeable media, AND he knows about everything involved with reformating(dos commands, setup, drivers, etc.), I say let him do it.

But hey, what would I know, I'm only 17

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Check you startup disks before you start

by kevg In reply to Reformatting or not That' ...

A friend of mine used to reformat his drive when it got to about 3/4 full.
The last time he did this,the stiffy disk for the cd-rom was corrupted with bad sectors. Panic, with no cd-rom software to install he couldn't access the cd to reinstall. Hewants win95 and not 98.
I ended up by connecting via serial cable to my computer and running of my cd, running good old dos interlnk/intersrv.
He no longer reformats, rather bringing it to me to sort out.
Moral of the story:
make sure that you basic disks are good before you start, and that inclueds your windows cd's.

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A lot of worthwhile work...

by galamb In reply to Reformatting or not That' ...

Provided that you have all your OS disks including a boot disk in case your computer does not boot from a CD, it would probably be a good thing if your having problems. You should also make sure you have all of your program disks so you can re-load them. If you've downloaded a lot of programs from the internet that you still wish to use you'll need them also. Backing up your data is also very important. I would highly recommend partitionig your hard drive and installing the OS on your C drive. Install your data on on your other partitions including your downloaded programs. This will make it easier to re-install your OS at a later date without losing everything like you would if it was all on one drive. The other techs who have responded to your question also have very good ideas and I would recommmend that you consider them as well. As you can see, starting over is quite involved but can be worthwhile especially if your now having problems. If you haven't already done it; get your family used to making their own personal folders to store data and downloads in in order to make it easier to find and back-up files. It would also be good for you when you try to trouble shoot.

Good Luck,


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To reformat or not

by ms5655 In reply to Reformatting or not That' ...

Unless your having major problems, I'd leave it alone. Reformatting and doing FDISK and retreving (backing up) all those programs is alot of work! If you do, make a new repair disk right before you format.
Good luck,

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by dlongan In reply to To reformat or not

I have done both scenrios, but get the best results from a fresh reload of the OS. To make this very 6 month event go smoothly I have done the following:

1. Format / Install OS
2. Install all the latest hardware drivers
3. Latest IE version
4. Latest DirectX
5. Office Applications
6. Get everthing working correctly
7. Used Norton Ghost to create an image of the working system.

Now I can recreate my base system in under 5 minutes!!

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Format c: is your friend!

by devin.ellis In reply to Reformatting or not That' ...

After building computers and such I have discovered that there is not much on my hard drive I can't either live without, re-download, or re-install. I usually back up my email and reformat every other month {or when it crashes :) }. There are a lot of things going on in the background that you may not even know about; it's beneficial to start fresh every once in awhile in my opinion.

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It depends

by generalist In reply to Format c: is your friend!

I have to agree that reformatting is a good way of ensuring a clean start. If your environment is such that you can to it on a regular basis, go for it, especially if it eliminates hassles. I've done it myself in the right conditions.

Unfortunately, if I tried reformatting certain family machines on a monthly basis, I'd have to spend far too long reinstalling everything the family considers to be 'essential'. We have far too many programs and far too many places to store data for me to safely, and effectively, consider that technique.

So, in the final analysis, it depends upon what you're doing and what you want. I can live with a lot of the background stuff and occasional glitch as long as rebooting appears to solve things.

Of course that could change if I found some sort of security leak on the systems. And if that leak send confidential information out, I'd consider adding reformatting to my virus protection measures.

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Format and regular maintenance is good

by Dennis@l In reply to Format c: is your friend!

Since you run scandisk and defrag on a regular basics, then I also suggest reclean from microsoft, search his web site to find it. Delete the *.tmp files and the temporary Internet files.

Search for files with the CHK extentions, these are filesthat scandisk fornd cross linked. When you start finding a lot of these your OS and applications will not work as effective as they should. Save your data and reformat, insure that you have a boot disk that can give you access to your CD-rom or use a secondary hard drive and copy the OS files to it. I use a second HD easier to yank out and use for other systems and make ghost images for fast recovery.

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The Re-Format

by admin In reply to Reformatting or not That' ...

is so popular because many people don't bother to extensively learn how their systems work, and is seldom necessary.

Arguably it can be more cost effective, depending on the skills of the person maintaining the computer.

I wouldn't do it just because "It needs done every so often on a schedule" It doesn't. This is pure mythology based on a lack of understanding of the system.

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