Time to reformat your hard drive?

Has your computer been sluggish and you find yourself catching some z’s between pulling apps up on your computer?

If you’ve had your computer more than 2-3 years, you may have bloated computer syndrome. This is when your computer becomes weighted down with downloads you thought would be great to have, but then rarely accessed. Who knows what is lurking in the deep recesses of your hard drive??

Enter the reformatting of your hard drive. After listening to computer-help guru, Leo Laporte http://www.leo.am promote taking this step, I decided to give it a go with our least-used computer. Everything worked out just fine and I’m preparing to do it again on my bloated laptop.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, help is available! I used the site below by Paul Thurrott as it held my hand all the way through the use of both step-by-step and accompanying screen shots.http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sg_clean.asp

Here are a few things I’d like to emphasize and pass along:

  1. DO make sure you have a complete version of your OS before beginning. Some computer manufacturer’s do not include the complete OS with their back-up disks.
  2. DO make a list of all software currently installed on your computer before the reinstall. Then make sure you have either the disks or the urls to go back and reinstall necessary programs.
  3. If you use an on-line back-up system (like Carbonite), make sure you have any access codes, install numbers, etc. that go with the on-line program. I was trying Carbonite out and used it as one of my back-up methods. To my horror, when I went back to reinstall my backed-up files, the website asked me for a code that I didn’t even realize it gave me when I initially installed the program. It took about 5 days of back and forth e-mails with them, but they finally gave me a link to my data – whew! Don’t let that happen to you.
  4. Backup your data! This is part of the check-list, but it can’t be emphasized enough. I used Carbonite and several thumb drives to preserve my data. I just felt more secure having 2 copies of it before I wiped the drive. Since then, I’ve purchased an external hard drive and have switched over to Mozy on-line back-up. They give you 2GB of free space and it can be configured to back-up at your command. Check it out at http://www.mozy.com.
  5. After your install, immediately run Windows Update to get your machine protected. This took probably an hour or so and included several reboots.
  6. Enjoy your slimmed-down and faster running computer!
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