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Re-installing Windows


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#1 bankspbs9

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Posted 19 November 2007 - 04:00 PM

Do you lose everything on your computer if you re-install windows? If so, is there a way around that at all?

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#2 Cyb3r_Ninj@

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 02:11 PM

The short answer to your question is YES, when you reinstall Windows, you will lose everything on the hard drive.

Part of the process of installation / reinstallation is that you must delete the existing partitions on your hard drive in order to make space for the new partition where the Windows XP OS will be installed. In most cases you will want to do this for a couple of reasons.

Reason 1, if there is any spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code that is implanted on your hard drive, in your registry or elsewhere on the boot partition (usually C:\), you will want to completely remove all that stuff - which leads to reason 2.

Reason 2, when you create a new partition, you must format the partition with a file system - for this you will want to use NTFS as it is the most robust, most secure, and provides for the best methods of file-level and folder-level encryption, NTFS permissions, etc. In order to do this, you must format the HD and during the formatting Windows will prepare the HD for accepting new data and information. Meaning it will completely delete and overwrite any information that was once stored there. This is when it will completely remove all the other files, settings, folders, etc.

Reason 3, IF you have a large enough hard drive to create multiple partitions, and you do not delete the original boot partition, this could create complications and conflicts when your system attempts to boot itself. If you do not specify in the BIOS which partition to boot from, you may unintentionally end up booting back to the OLD partition and any spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code will be repropagated to your Windows System Registry. The reason as to why these spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code are repropagated to your Registry is the fact that AV software will remove strings and files from your hard drive. However, if the spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code have mutated or altered your System Registry in any way while the System Restore functionality is turned on, any System Restore points that have been created will still contain the System Registry Settings that were intact during the Restore Point creation. Thus once you remove the files and strings, most (not necessarily all) AV software will tell you that you must reboot in order to complete the deletion or removal process. When you reboot, guess where the Registry Settings are rebuilt from? The System Restore points which were already created, thus when it rebuilds the System Registry, BAM! the spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code and System Registry Settings are put back into place and you will still have the problems.

SO, use this link below to learn about the FAST (Files and Settings Transfer) wizard to back up your files and settings...the wizard will allow you to choose what items you want to transfer from your OLD system (or OLD partition in this case) to your NEW system (or NEW partition in this case).

The Microsoft KB article on the FAST wizard is here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306187

If you have an external USB hard drive that is larger than say 5GB - although having an external HD that is about 30-40 GB is really helpful for backup and restore purposes. Or you can burn the FAST wizard transfer file to a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM if you do not have that many files to migrate.

I'm guessing that reinstallation is necessary in order to remove spyware, malware, trojans or any other $hitware code that is slowing down performance or otherwise robbing your system of RAM and CPU cycle resources.

Another good tip. When you reinstall your Windows XP OS, leave yourself about 20-25% of your HD capacity as unpartitioned space. Later once the Windows OS is installed, you can make yourself a backup partition from the additional unpartitioned space to save your backup files, FAST wizard transfer files, etc.

Anyway, i know there's a lot of information here, but i feel a moral obligation to share this knowledge with the novices...remember a novice is never a novice forever, and the more information you have to work with, the more tools in your arsenal you have to combat the malware masses.

Best of luck and happy hacking!
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#3 garmanma

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Posted 21 November 2007 - 02:19 PM

Depending on why you want to do this, you might get away with a repair install where MOST everything will remain unchanged. There are a few issues to think about though before you do. What problems are you having?
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#4 bankspbs9

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for the responses. The problems on my computer is it keeps coming up with .exe error messages of all different sorts. I can't recall off the top of my head the exact error messages but the all have the .exe suffix on them. I haven't messed with the computer for months but now I need to try and get it fixed without it costing me an arm and a leg or having to buy a completely new computer.

#5 boopme

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:10 PM

Here is some further excellent info on a REPAIR install. The repair may fix your issues without the full install and really shouldn't hurt anything else. Malware can probably be dealt with later if it exists.

A Repair Install will replace the system files with the files on the XP CD used for the Repair Install. It will leave your applications and settings intact, but Windows updates will need to be reapplied.

A Repair Install will replace files altered by adware and malware, but will not fix an adware, malware problem.

How to Perform a Windows XP Repair Install
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#6 bankspbs9

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 02:07 PM

The reason I want to try and do the re-install is to try and get rid of the error messages that I keep getting with .exe on them. For example: "ie.updater.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience". I have seen it a bunch of times with other names on it besides updater.exe. I don't know if this will solve the problem or not since I don't know what it means..

#7 CTH_Tom

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 03:23 PM

The answer is probably no but needs asking. Have you installed a Beta release of Windows XP on this computer then upgraded to the final version?
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#8 bankspbs9

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 01:24 PM

Nope I haven't done that. I'm nowhere near as computer savvy as you guys are. lol

#9 hamluis

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 03:00 PM

Well...messages like that come easily when your file system may need to be cleaned up a bit or the system is in need of defragging.

Before you do any reinstall, you may want to try to do those two maintenance chores and see if they have any impact.

To run chkdsk, just follow the instructions in the following link for doing so from My Computer: How To Run CHKDSK In XP - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?...b;en-us;Q315265

To run defrag (after chkdsk has completed and the system has rebooted), just check the XP HELP files.

Louis




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