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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    People say there is no such thing as a dumb question; then again . . .

    Is there any advantage to periodically reinstalling W7?

    I have images, backups, the whole 9 yards; and I know the disadvantages in terms of having to reinstall programs, reapply
    patches and tweaks - but, seriously, are there any benefits to a periodic, clean reinstall?

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Dick

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Dick,

    I'm sure you will get a wide range of conflicting OPINIONS on this one. {notice the capital letters}. Personally, I NEVER reinstall unless I have a problem I can't fix some other way it's just too much trouble. I use programs like CCleaner to keep my registry from having too much garbage in it and a host of other utilities. I keep regular Image backups and usually set a restore point before installing new software/hardware so I can back out gracefully if something goes wrong. I've been using personal computers since 1979 both professionally and as a hobbyist and this has worked for me. YMMV I'm now changing into my IRON Underwear!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hello Dick,

    I'm with RG on this. I never plan to do a new clean install of Windows 7 unless is becomes an absolute necessity. I have an image backup of my Win7 system that was done after I installed my core applications. I put it away in case I ever need to do a clean install. Subsequent image backups are for fixing any issues that arise, but so far all is well.

    With proper care and maintenance, Windows 7 should be stable for extended runs. Now, in my opinion, XP needed a clean install every three years or so, but an initial image backup after a clean installation can cure that one too.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

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    RetiredGeek and Gerald:

    Thank you for your helpful responses.

    RG, would you be so kind as to mention the "hosst of other utilities" you regularly use.
    I would be grateful.

    Dick

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    Especially with Windows 7, I view a reinstall as a last resort to recover from a disaster. I do not plan on reinstalling any Windows 7 system unless there is no other option. With Vista and even XP, I never reinstalled a system just to "refresh" it. Regular maintenance and good backups are a better use of your time.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
    Especially with Windows 7, I view a reinstall as a last resort to recover from a disaster. I do not plan on reinstalling any Windows 7 system unless there is no other option. With Vista and even XP, I never reinstalled a system just to "refresh" it. Regular maintenance and good backups are a better use of your time.

    Joe
    What Joe said.

    And if you keep your backup images current, you'll never need to reinstall. I have not done the reformat/reinstall dance since Windows 95 OSR2. I dual-boot XP on another machine, and that installation of XP was an upgrade over Windows 2000 Professional in May of '06, which was an upgrade over Windows 98, which was an upgrade over Windows 95 OSR2.

    I recommend against any registry cleaner for any reason at any time (including CCleaner). There is simply no need. If your machine boots, the registry does not need "cleaning". It is nothing more than a glorified database, and dead ends, missing dll's, all that stuff makes no difference whatsoever. I've done comparison tests between my old XP and a fresh parallel install on the same machine on a separate hard drive. No differences. PC PitStop rated them identically.


    Set yourself up with a routine maintenance regimen, including disk images, and you will never have a need to reinstall, even if you get a blown hard drive.

    I have yet to confirm that any Windows version since 95 OSR2 needs a periodic reinstall. Keep it clean, and it will run like the day you opened the box. The only reinstall I've done in the past dozen years was for a client who had a trojan that emptied the C:\Windows folder, and he had no backup.

    Just keep it clean.


    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Dick,

    Ok here goes:

    Acronis True Image - Backups - Images
    RoboCopy - Intermittent data backups
    SyncToy 2.1 - keep Desktop & Laptop data files syncronized.
    FEBE - {firefox addin} - Backups of FF data.
    CCleaner - Clean temp files & registry.
    AutoRuns - See what's starting up at boot.
    What's Running - Use if machine seems to be getting slow.
    Auslogic Defragger - DeFrag HD {don't do this as often since XP introduced NTFS partitions}
    Belarc Advisor & SIW - System Information
    Acronis Disk Director - Work with disk partitions w/o loosing data {I still do an Image Backup first!}

    With the exception of the Acronis products the rest are FREE!
    That should keep you busy for a while...

    Ok guys what did I miss that YOU can't do with out.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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  8. #8
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    I recommend against any registry cleaner for any reason at any time (including CCleaner). There is simply no need. If your machine boots, the registry does not need "cleaning". It is nothing more than a glorified database, and dead ends, missing dll's, all that stuff makes no difference whatsoever. I've done comparison tests between my old XP and a fresh parallel install on the same machine on a separate hard drive. No differences. PC PitStop rated them identically.
    Very true, I've seen approximately 4 posts here in the last month with just the little irritating type problems about something not working here or there that could be directly contributed to by a registry cleaner; the posts also matter-of-factly mentioned CCleaner as one of the maintenance programs used. One such post that I recall is the one where files with a rarely used exstention all had become nondescript unassociated icons and the user was having trouble opening them.

    Now I'm not saying CCleaner actually caused this but it is exactly the kind of thing that registry cleaners cause.

    I view the registry as the equivalent of the human genome. There's tons of stuff in there that would grow scales, a tail, restore vestigial organs...we don't use it anymore but its our legacy...would you send a rotor-router in after that? Even if it was a gentle one? Of course not, if it ain't broke don't try and fix it. Every once in a great while genetic therapy can work a wonder but that's it. Never routine.

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    RG:
    Thanks!
    Dick

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    P.S. Oh by the way, I've been installing 7 from scratch left right up and down over the past few months, just trying out different senarios, old systems and such. Most recent is will 7 install from a network location as an .ISO loaded in a virtual drive on an XP system to become a dual boot system? Answer, YES! Haven't tried the same senario except replacing the OS (Windows.old type thing). Can it succeed as it destroys its own virtual install disc? I already know there was NOT enough foresight to allow installation on USB 3.0. USB is USB to Windows 7. I would have been seriously impressed otherwise.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick-Y View Post
    Is there any advantage to periodically reinstalling W7?

    Thanks for any feedback.
    Dick,
    Hello..... and now for something completely different.... The one good thing is that..... there are no "MS" updates installed ! so now you can do a real test.
    1. If your into it .... After the " Re-Install" load all your programs, (no MS updates ) ..... Take an image ...
    2. See what happens..... Check out all your programs.....If all works proceed to 3.
    3. Install your 3rd party security.... NO "Mickey MSE" etc. ( make sure it's a pay for non "whinny the pooh" type) I use Norton Internet Security 2011.
    4. Run this OS without installing any "MS" "updates" or "patches"
    5. Be amazed...... no problems!.... Ever
    6. Never install or be concerned about any "MS" patches or updates again. (placing protective helmet on with ear plugs)
    Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  12. #12
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Ok guys what did I miss that YOU can't do with out.
    I don't use any of those.

    I use BootIt Next Generation, Disk Cleanup, MyDefrag, Revo Uninstaller (free version), and Regedit.

    BootIt is $34.95, the rest are free or already in Windows.

    And I get all the security updates and patches. I usually pass on the MS drivers, though.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  13. #13
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    From everything I have read and experienced, reinstallations of Win 7 should never be necessary, esp. with good up to date Images.

    I use various assorted utilities, most of which have been mentioned in various threads. What ever works for you seems to be the best for you. I periodiccally screw things up, and quite often install and uninstall various s/w apps so keeping my Images up to date is vital. This last part is critical in my opinion. You need to keep your Images Up to Date.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  14. #14
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    I periodiccally screw things up, and quite often install and uninstall various s/w apps so keeping my Images up to date is vital. This last part is critical in my opinion. You need to keep your Images Up to Date.
    Amen, Ted. Today I tried to boot into XP (the first time in a number of weeks) on my dual-boot mid-tower, got the "hal.dll is missing or corrupt". Before I started digging, I made fresh images of 6 out of 12 partitions on two hard drives (the other six were fresh enough) and tried bootcfg /rebuild, but it failed with the message that it could not successfully read all drives, and I should run chkdsk.

    I ran chkdsk /r and it did find and fix some errors, but bootcfg still couldn't read all drives (partitions). After two more full rounds of chkdsk /r with a clean bill of health, I gave it up and restored a previous drive image for the XP partition. Then after I got XP to boot, Windows 7 wouldn't boot, and the automatic repair function couldn't repair it. So I restored the Windows 7 image that I had made today, tweaked BootIt a tad, and now they both boot again.

    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
    Unleash Windows

  15. #15
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    Thanks all for your continued feedback and suggestions.

    Fred, from my earliest days with IBM mainframes and Operating Systems we
    always periodically applied patches (called PTF's in those days) to our software.
    No large software applications then (and probably now) were 100% perfect
    out of the can. "Bugs" were found. Patches were applied.

    So now, with Microsoft, I'll continue watching Woody's MS-Defcon system, and apply
    updates at a time I choose.

    I wish you much success though with your approach; and I have appreciated your many
    helpful responses to my questions on this board.

    Dick

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