Posted 06 March 2008 - 07:57 PM
Formatting and a clean install do indeed solve many computer problems...if they are related to malware and/or owner neglect or to just plain "xxxx happens" situations.
But...if you bother to open Google and use it...you will find that many, many situations which users encounter...have nothing to do with malware or owner neglect. The sophisticated tool that a computer is...has many situations which have been reported and which are the result of situations beyond user control...situations such as program conflicts, driver conflicts, file corruption, hardware problems...and others which we have not even imagined yet.
The Internet presents a broad body...the broadest in history thus far...which can be utilized to try to find ways of correcting/ameliorating all of these conditions...without formatting/reinstalling the O/S.
But it's a crapshoot...because the persons who need the most help...often are the most unhelpful in providing information that others can try to use to guess at a way to "fix" whatever is wrong. It's also a crapshoot because many of us can probably do well when we actually have a troublesome system in front of us...but we don't have the system, it's miles away in the hands of some person who only knows how to say "fix this" and sometimes doesn't even try to assist in the process.
Innumerable situations are well-documented...that documentation does not help anyone if the right info is not supplied by users who need help, want help...and they want it right away.
IMO, there are two things which would accomplish more good than a clean install, in many cases:
a. Implementation of systematic backups by users.
b. Treatment of malware as something more than a nuisance to be fixed...temporarily...when encountered as a system pain...until the next time.
The lack of backups makes the format/install option unpleasant to many...because they never thought that the system would not work perfectly...forever. And they don't want to lose data that suddenly...suddenly...becomes so dear, yet 24 hours ago was not worth the time and energy to backup safely.
Not only do they not even backup routinely, they don't even use System Restore as a means of overcoming some situations.
So, you see...I'm not sure what your point was intended to be...but I do know that the weak link in this whole troubleshooting process from afar...is often the user, not the ones (trying to help) who ultimately may throw up their hands and say "Your best bet is to clean install, based on what we think may be wrong."
<<All of this without any success.>>
I suppose that "success" is relative. If...for every ten persons who don't learn from their experiences...one does learn just a little bit...and appreciates the time donated in her/his behalf...I think that's a relative success.
Soooo...yes, a format/clean install is certainly a "quick fix" and an ultimate attempt to start with a clean slate.
But I don't recommend it for every situation or every user. It won't help with hardware situations. It won't help those who don't have a copy of their operating systems on CD, safely put away. It won't help those with something other than valid MS licenses. It's overkill for the many common computer situations which are so well-documented by Microsoft, various websites, and the experiences of other users/owners.
Some of us prefer to try to make a minor correction, if such is called for...rather than to make the more drastic move to just start over again and hope for the best.
When it's time to make that recommendation, it should be treated by the user for what it is...a good faith attempt to solve (long-distance) a situation that seems to have no other possible reasonable hope of resolution.
Just my opinion...