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Reformatting Hard Drive and Reinstalling Vista


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#1 pmsmith2032

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 09:05 AM

I have an old Dell Inspiron 530S with the specs in the link below that I am thinking about reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Vista (or other operating system if it doesn't cost much and makes sense).  

 

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/lPvGYlNAKbAw1VHkWkPBKMQ

 

The computer runs very slowly and since it's been running since 2008 I think it might be time.  However, I've never done anything like this before so am pretty nervous.  I do have a Seagate Expansion 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive that I can use for backup purposes.  I also have the following disks that came with the desktop when we originally bought it (brand new):

 

Dell Drivers and Utilities

ATI Radeon -HD 2400 Pro - Dell Driver CD

Operating System - Windows Vista Home Premium 32BIT

Roxio Creator

Microsoft Works 8.5

Dell LCD Flat Panel Monitor

 

I already ordered a new power source (Seasonic SS-300TFX 300W 80PLUS BRONZE TFX Power Supply) as the one in the desktop is burned out and more RAM (Crucial 2GB Kit (1GBx2) DDR2-667MHz (PC2-5300) Non-ECC UDIMM Desktop Memory Upgrades CT2KIT12864AA667 / CT2CP12864AA667) so buying a new PC is not an option.  

 

So how difficult is the process?  Where can I get specific directions on how to do so?  What are tips and pitfalls I should be aware of?  

 

Thanks!



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:39 AM

Hello,

 

If the computer has a recovery partition that is still intact, you can do a factory reset using the recovery manager by doing the following. Your computer will be set back to a factory state. Any programs you installed will be lost. If you have Office 2010 and up then you should back up the activation with this utility. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG9Zj4m39Vw

 

Do you have a Dell install disk for Vista? This is not the driver CD? 


Edited by JohnC_21, 01 September 2015 - 10:42 AM.


#3 pmsmith2032

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:49 AM

Thanks John.  One of the discs is called "Operating System - Reinstallation DVD - Windows Vista Home Premium 32BIT".  Is that what I need?



#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 11:02 AM

Yes, that is what you need. 

 

If you plan on using that or using F8 as explained in the video I would first create a complete disk image using Macrium Reflect Free. You would use the external drive to store the image. In Macrium is a tool to create a bootable CD or USB flash drive. You want to create the WinPE version. Using this you could recover the image to the drive in case something goes wrong with the reinstall. 

 

Boot the rescue media and make sure it can see your USB external and all your internal disks. 

 

Just a note, the F8 procedure will automatically reformat your drive and install Vista with all drivers.



#5 pmsmith2032

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 11:18 AM

I had someone from the Dell forum recommend that I install Windows 10130 Insider Preview.  I would then be eligible to get Windows 10 Pro for free.  Any opinions on this?



#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 01:12 PM

I am not sure if you would be able to uprade from Vista as WIndows 10 has already been released. According to a current member the insider program is no longer open.

 

I also do not think Vista was able to do an upgrade using the insiders program. I guess you can try if you can get your hands on that preview build and install it but I can't guarantee it would work. You should at least image your drive in case things go wrong.

 

http://bgr.com/2015/06/20/windows-10-free-upgrade-xp-vista/



#7 pmsmith2032

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 07:43 AM

Thanks!  I was able to install the new power source and the computer is running again (and much quieter).  A couple of questions I still have:

 

1.  I also installed the two new sticks of RAM (have four sticks of 1GB of RAM now).  However, when I run the Speccy report (see below), it shows that one of my four open slots is empty (shows a total of 3GB).  Is this normal since I have 32-bit system?

 

2.  The PC is still running slow so my next step is to reinstall Vista.  Can you please explain what the difference between reinstalling Vista from the disc as opposed to hitting F8 is?

Attached Files


Edited by pmsmith2032, 09 September 2015 - 07:47 AM.


#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 08:17 AM

The maximum amount of ram on a 32 bit system is 4GB but realistically is is less. Maybe 3.2 or 3.3 GB. Your log possibly rounded down. 

 

http://www.zdnet.com/article/clearing-up-the-3264-bit-memory-limit-confusion/

 

A factory reset through F8 > Computer Repair , not system restore, would be the same as installing with the DVD, only easier. 



#9 pmsmith2032

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 08:19 AM

Thanks John.  What confuses me is that Speccy shows that three of the RAM slots are occupied and one is empty.  I would expect it to show all four being occupied???



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 08:27 AM

I forgot to answer that, sorry. I am not sure why speccy is showing only 3 slots full. It is possible that one RAM module is not fully seated in it's slot? Right click Computer > Properties. I can't remember if Vista is like Windows 7 but it should show installed/usable RAM. You can also run CPUz and see what it shows. Look under the SPD tab. You should have 4 slots available in the download box.



#11 pmsmith2032

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 09:07 AM

So I was able to restore the PC to factory using F8 this weekend.  Now i'm in the process of reinstalling all the Windows updates.  I've also reinstalled Avast.  So what else do I need to do now?  How do I install the newest versions of the drivers?



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 09:11 AM

Do you have any yellow exclamation marks in Device Manager. If not and the computer is running fine there is no need to update the drivers. 



#13 pmsmith2032

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 07:44 AM

Thanks John.  The PC is running MUCH faster so now I just need to keep it that way.  I still have to figure out the RAM issue because it's still only showing 3.0 GB.  I do have a couple more quick questions:

 

1.  Any tips on how to keep the PC running fast?  So far I've only installed Avast and LibreOffice (we are eligible for Microsoft Office 365 for free as my wife is a teacher but can't install it because of Vista).  Any other programs I should install to maintain performance?

 

2. Should I change any setting?  For example, what resolution should I set the display at to provide a good picture yet keep the PC running fast?

 

Thanks!



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 16 September 2015 - 08:16 AM

Optimizers or registry cleaners are not recommended by BC. I can recommend CCleaner but do not use it's registry cleaner. Use it for clearing out your temp files every few days. I would also do a disk defrag once a month.

 

Optimal resolution depends on the size of the screen. For the RAM issue see this KB article. Vista only allows 3.12GB max on a 32bit system. Did CPUz show all slots in the dropdown box under the SPD tab?

 

Another thing to check. Make sure the Maximum Memory box is not checked. See step 4 here.






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