Reloading Windows XP
If you have been running Windows XP for a couple of years or more you may find
that it is not running quite as quickly and smoothly as it was when you did your
first install. I am constantly 'evaluating' software and uninstalling and
reinstalling beta software on my computer and have always gradually become more
and more disappointed after nine months to a year with the performance of my PC.
So I regularly do a backup and reinstall all my software, including Windows.
Please note that this is completely different than doing the standard things to
troubleshoot and fix individual problems such as system errors or application
errors. These things are better fixed by using a system Restore which is a great
new feature to Windows XP.
For anyone that has reinstalled their operating system a few times the process
seems pretty straightforward as they have found all of the gotchas the first few
times. I have lost mail and contacts but not much else over the years by following
(or not following) a system to reload my operating system and software. The
purpose of this guide is to give you a checklist to follow so that a reloading of
Windows goes smoothly the first time.
The steps are as follows:
1. Backup all data
2. Document your current system drivers and software
3. Delete the Windows and profile directories
4. Reload Window
5. Reload software and data
6. Get some sleep
1. Backup data
There are two methods of the process of reloading your operating system. The
first is to just delete the system files and the second is to backup the files
to CD or DVD and then format the hard drive completely, my preference is to
delete the system folders and work from there as the actual formatting is not
needed as much now as it was in the past.
It is very important to be sure to get a backup of all of your data. My current
practice is to create a folder in the Root of the C: drive called "backup for
reload" and copy all of my files in there.
The first few times that I reloaded my machine I either saved all of the data to
another hard drive so I could format my main drive or I would just create a folder
to save my data in that was in the root of the C: drive and just deleted the Windows directory.
One thing to be aware of is that a new install of Windows is going to delete
your current profile where your data is kept, you will be warned in the install
and I am warning you here as well!
First of all Windows likes to keep all of your documents in your "My Documents"
folder and even though the icon is on the desktop the folder is actually in the
following location: c:documents and settings . The documents and settings folder
is quite important as it does have all of the files that are associated with you
as a user. Other folders in documents and settings are "Favorites" "Application
Data" and "Local Settings".