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Should I Reformat?


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#1 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:18 PM

(Sorry if this is in the wrong forum!)

Well, currently I'm using a computer that was passed down by my uncle. It's using Windows XP Home edition, and if I can find my disk, I'm thinking about reformatting. He has a lot of his old programs on here; which all of them I don't use. I also only have 42.9 gigabytes free on my 111 GB hard drive, and I try to have minimal content on here. Most of it is probably his old stuff. I have an external hard drive, so I can backup all the things I need. I have of course never reformatted, so some instructions might be handy! (I'm computer literate, so I don't need any lengthy instructions.) So is it a good idea to reformat? I'm just not sure if I can find a product key, but I'm pretty sure I have a product key stickered to one of my old computers.

I'm also a bit afraid to reformat, because I have never done so and I'm not sure the last time this thing was reformatted, or if it has ever been reformatted at all! I definitely don't need any BSOD's on my personal computer. Not so sure on drivers either...

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 19 February 2011 - 06:25 PM.


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#2 Dmacf10

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:26 PM

Just need to make sure you have the product key before you format and reinstall, without it you'll be stuck with a PC that has no OS. If its a laptop the product sticker should be on the bottom of the case. If its a desktop the sticker should be on the side or back of the case. You'll have to go to your PC's manufacturers website to download and install all of your drivers after you reinstall; and make sure to use windows update to retrieve the latest service pack and hotfixes.

#3 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

I don't see any sticker on this current PC. I'm not sure either if my Uncle still has it. But, I have an old computer stored in my closet that does. Would that key work, or not? The OS is still installed on that old computer.

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 19 February 2011 - 06:30 PM.


#4 Allan

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:29 PM

It's entirely up to you. Reformatting is certainly an option if you're taking over someone else's computer. So is uninstalling unwanted programs.

To format and reinstall you make sure the cd drive is the first device in your bios boot order and then boot to the XP CD. Early on you'll be given the option to format. The rest is easy - just do what the screen asks you to. Before formatting you might want to download all appropriate drivers and copy them to some off-disk medium (usb drive, cd, etc) and then install them (chipset driver first) immediately after the installation. Next step would be to install a GOOD anti virus utility and make sure it is always resident and updates. Then go to Windows update and install all updates (except for hardware and driver updates - NEVER get them from Windows update, only from the OEM websites). After that you're on your way.

#5 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:33 PM

I have Avast! Antivirus on a USB. However, what drivers will I be needing? I know there is a driver for my keyboard, but I'm not sure what else to get. I'm using a nVidia graphics card, and an old model of an Alienware computer. I'm not sure if I get drivers for this model though! Not exactly sure what model it is either... what websites can I go to and what certain drivers do I need? I can provide more info of what I have if needed.

#6 dc3

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:36 PM

There are less drastic approaches to this than reformatting. As has already been pointed out you would have to reinstall the operating system if you reformatted the hdd.

You might want to start by uninstalling all the programs that you don't envision using in the future. You can also delete all e-mail, word file, photos, video, ect...

Please use the following link to provide us with information about your computer so that we can assist you.

How to Publish a Snapshot using Speccy

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#7 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:44 PM

Okay! Some help on what to uninstall and such would be helpful.

Here are my specs:
http://speccy.piriform.com/results/spdcj65XmLrgCBLFrkGi4NA

#8 Allan

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:45 PM

Go to Control Panel - ADD / REMOVE PROGRAMS
That will list what apps are installed. Uninstall any programs you are CERTAIN you don't want or need. Or reformat.

#9 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:59 PM

I'm most of the time not that sure on what to keep or not, because I don't know what alot of these programs do or they might pertain to something I actually use.

Some descriptions and whether or not I should keep them on these would be useful:

Canon PhotoRecord
Apple Application Support
Uninstall 1.0.0.1
Photosmart 140,240,7200,7600,7700,7900 Series (Printer Software? I don't have a printer hooked up to this PC.)
HP Memories Disc
Apple Mobile Device Support (I don't use any Apple mobile devices.)
Canon Zoombrowser EX (I don't use a Canon camera.)
Picture Control Utility
iPod Updater 2004-08-06
PowerDVD
PlexTools Professional V2.01
TestDrive Client
Pando Media Booster
Canon RAW Image Task for Zoombrowser EX
Canon Utilities PhotoStitch 3.1
Creative MediaSource
Free Audio CD Burner version 1.4.7
Acrobat.com (I don't have/use Adobe Acrobat on this PC.)
File Uploader
Bonjour
WebTablet Netscape Plugin
Adobe AIR
Ahead InCD EasyWrite Reader
Six more Canon programs... sheesh!
ContentSAFER for Wizmax
WebTablet IE Plugin


Sorry for such a big list, but these are all the things I think I don't use or have no clue what they are.

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 19 February 2011 - 07:01 PM.


#10 Queen-Evie

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:16 PM

If you don't have anything Canon (printer, digital camera) you can uninstall the Canon programs.

Since you don't have a printer Photosmart (associated with HP printers) can be removed.

HP Memories Disc uninstall unless you want to create dvd's of photos and music

Apple Mobile Device Support say bye bye to it.

Others will be able to recommend what else can be safely uninstalled.

How old is the computer? If it isn't ancient, it may have a recovery partition. This serves the same purpose as the disk. Check to see if it does have the partition, which should be Drive D.

Edited by Queen-Evie, 19 February 2011 - 07:24 PM.


#11 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:31 PM

Ah man, I'm not sure how long my uncle has had this computer... Speccy says though that the OS installation date was December 11, 2006. Again, not sure if he has had a reformat before. I don't think it's ancient. But, the D: Drive I have is used for DVD's, so I don't think it's a recovery partition. Could be wrong though.

EDIT: Yay, found the product number! Should I write it down? I don't have the same installation disc though that was used to install the OS on here, so would a different disc work with the product number?

Edited by Cartoon Shark, 19 February 2011 - 07:46 PM.


#12 Dmacf10

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:33 PM

A different disc will work, just make sure the disc you have is windows xp home, and the key is windows xp home as well.

#13 dc3

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 04:32 AM

@Dmacf10

A different disc will work, just make sure the disc you have is windows xp home


If you look at the Speccy report you will see that this is XP Professional.

@Cartoon Shark

Unless you have severe problems that can't be corrected by other means you don't need to reformat and do a new installation.

Because of the age of the motherboard there isn't a lot you can do to optimize this computer, but you could max out the RAM and gain an appreciable amount of performance. Each slot supports 1GB of PC3200 RAM, this board doesn't support dual channel.

The Speccy report shows the capacity of your hdd, but doesn't show the free space. Please look in My Computer and report the amount of the free space.

I would suggest following the advice that others have given you regarding the removal of unneeded programs. You should do the normal maintenance afterward, defrag the hdd, use the disk clean up application, and remove the temp files. You can use the following instructions to clean the temp files.

Please download TFC by Old Timer and save it to your desktop.
alternate download link
  • Save any unsaved work. (TFC will close ALL open programs including your browser!)
  • Double-click on TFC.exe to run it. (If you are using Vista, right-click on the file and choose "Run As Administrator".)
  • Click the Start button to begin the cleaning process and let it run uninterrupted to completion.
  • Important! If TFC prompts you to reboot, please do so immediately. If not prompted, manually reboot the machine anyway to ensure a complete clean.

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#14 Allan

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:39 AM

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not a fan of using third party utilities to delete temp files. Simply navigate to the temp folder and delete the file (I guess I just like to see what's being deleted :) ).

#15 Cartoon Shark

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 09:56 PM

I have 43.8 GB free on my HDD. Slowness isn't a problem, it's just HD space. It has been a while since I have run a disk defrag, but I use CCLeaner regularly to clean up things on this computer.




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