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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    Someone mentioned in another post doing an annual reformat/reinstall of Win XP as general maintenance, and I think I remember Woody mentioning in a newsletter that 2 years was about the limit before an OS should be reinstalled. I had to do this once, about 2 years ago, a couple of months after first getting my PC , but was led through it by tech support and don't remember how. It seems to me it wasn't actually very complicated, merely time consuming. Is this indeed something everyone should do periodically to avoid problems? If so, can anyone tell me where I might find instructions on the process? Also, I looked at MS support to see about updating after reinstalling. It said Win XP SP 2 includes all previous service packs, and I have that on CD. But I was unclear about updating IE after reinstalling from original CD, which has v. 5. something on it. MS Support site says if you are running a version of IE 5.5 on anything but ME, to upgrad to IE 6, and refers you to a page on how to obtain the latest SP for IE 6. Since that is included with Win XP SP 1, which is included in Win XP SP 2, does this mean if I reinstalled IE 5.5 from CD as part of my Win XP install, that I could update IE along with Win XP directly from the Win XP SP 2 CD? My NAV has also been updated a lot since original install; if I transferred the NAV folder from Program files in Windows Explorer to a CD, also for things like Musicmatch and such media software, could I reinstall them from there, or would these need to be updated from the original install? I'm sorry this is so long. This is my first post,; do tell me if I've gone about it wrong. Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    First, Welcome to the Lounge! We all hope your experience here will be enjoyable and a long one! Wow, this is a good topic. There has always been a lot of sentiment around about periodic re-installation of the OS to "get rid of" exxcess baggage and bloat that may build up over time. But before I say anything else, let me remind you of what I'm sure you already know. ALWAYS keep a solid and up to date BACKUP on hand, especially of any "data" files that you create, such as word processing files, email, bookmarks, financial, etc. Stuff like that cannot be replaced and you need to protect yourself from loss.

    Just how often one needs to re-install is a matter of opinion. I used to try to do it annually back in the days of Win 9x and earlier. But since I've been using Win XP I've stretched that period out to more than two years because the OS is so stable and, in my case, continuing to function admirably. You know the ol' saw - if it ain't broke... I'm planning to do a fresh install "sometime soon" simply because I've got a lot of software apps on my system that I "tried" but no longer use. Which brings up another question - "clean install" as opposed to installing "over the top of" the current installation. Most people recommend clean install as the only way to really get a nice, non-bloated and fresh copy of the OS. But remember, that entails formatting the drive and starting over, hence the importance of the BACKUP. And you will have to re-install ALL application software from scratch.

    Lastly, and I'll get off the box for awhile, you should FIRST consider "slipstreaming" your original Win XP CD with Service Pack 2, so when you DO re-install you can do it all in one fell swoop. Take a look at <!post=this post,411881>this post<!/post> made by <!profile=Tony55>Tony55<!/profile> and read the article he points to. When you follow his link to the slipstreaming thread, be sure you go all the way down to <!post=this post,402949>this post<!/post> from <!profile=Pilgrim>Pilgrim<!/profile> for the utility called AutoStreamer is much easier to use than other alternatives. Good luck and I too apologize for the long post!

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    Hi Maud,
    The post by BigAl covers most of important things to do before a CLEAN install, which is what you want to do in order to cleanout accumulated junk from your system.
    The "slipstream" method of creating a CD with ALL of the latest changes and hotfixes and security patches, definitely is the way to restore the OS without having to go back again and again to install SP1, then SP2, etc etc. BTW, installing the SP 1& 2 patch will automatically install the IE 6 latest version.

    Simply copying your App software to a CD will only preserve the data & config settings of that app. You will still have to install ( or register ) your apps with the new copy of Windows in order for it to recognize that there is a new program (s) there on the HD. So, you would have to install the program first, then you could copy the important config and data files over to the new location.

    The new copy of the OS will refresh you with it's restored speed and show you a good sized recovery of HD space also.

    Just remember......Backup......backup, or Image......Image.
    BOB
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    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    Think about all the settings you may lose. If you're the kind of person that does a lot of tweaking over time, you're going to find that a lot of things aren't working the way you've grown accustomed to after you reinstall, and if you're like me, you won't remember exactly where to go to put it back the way it was and you'll spend quite a bit of time groping.

    Think about all the software (and upgrades to software) you've installed from the internet. Reinstalling everything from your CDs isn't enough. You'll need to go back to all those websites and redo all those installs and upgrades. You mentioned the possibility of copying files from the Program Files subdirectories but that doesn't work because it doesn't bring the related Registry settings over. With WinXP (as with previous Windows versions since, I believe, Win 95), you want to always install a program (and all upgrades). Simply copying files only works for data files.

    The kind of people whose PC use is so simple that a reinstall is simple are also the people who are least likely to gain any appreciable benefit from a reinstall. The kind of heavy-duty PC users whose OS's are most likely to be become sludge-encrusted (so to speak) over time are also those most likely to have to spend an awful lot of time after the reinstallation to get themselves back where they were.

    My emphatic $0.02 is that life is too short for reinstalls of operating systems just to "optimize" how the system runs. Assuming you buy a whole new PC every 5 years or so -- and if you go longer than that, you'll be installing an updated OS, not reinstalling the old one -- I'd say never reinstall the OS unless your current installation is really giving you trouble (e.g., running really slowly, rather than just not running quite as fast as it could).

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    Steve,

    I keep a simple text file on my desktop in which I log every single installation, deinstallation, parameter change etc.
    I also keep a detailed log of my last install.
    Planning for the next installation takes an hour or two to merge these two documents to create a new plan
    Whilst doing the installation I log everything I do into the same document ready to create the next plan.

    This takes in incredibly small amount of effort and enables me to reinstall Windows and applications exactly as they were.

    StuartR

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    Lounger
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    Thank You!

    Thanks so much, guys, for your thoughtful responses. I'm entirely self-taught about computers and don't know anyone who knows about this stuff so I'm grateful for this resource. I do a lot of web-surfing but don't add a lot of files and programs; it seems I don't have an immediate need to reinstall. I've read the posts you referred me to bigaldoc, and will now read the article on slipstreaming SP 2 with Win XP. When I've mastered that, I'll be ready for a future reinstall. Thanks again! <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23>

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    You're a better man than I am, Stuart. I will confess that, particularly as I'm tweaking a new OS for the first time (especially Registry tweaks), I've become pretty anal about noting all my tweaks (and in some cases, the source of the tweak advice). I also save installation updates to my hard drive in an organized fashion and run them from there (rather than running them from the website) whenever possible (not always possible), to facilitate redoing the updates later if necessary. And so on.

    But (1) as time passes, I still end up with quite a lot of undocumented (and, in most cases, unremembered) setting changes all over the place (especially application settings), and (2) I think I can confidently state that my level of tweak-documenting fastidiousness (much less yours) puts me in a pretty small minority of PC users.

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Reinstall Win XP periodically? (Win XP SP 2)

    For practical point of view, periodical reformatting hard drives and reinstalling OS and programs was necessary with old DOS-based Windows (Windows Me, 98, 95, 3.x) on FAT32 and especially on FAT16 partitions. Windows NT-based OS (Windows NT, 2000, XP) are much more stable. Also NTFS partitions caused less file fragmentation that slowing performance.

    If you don't have significant problems because of excess "leftovers" from previous programs (for example, you upgraded Win2000 to WinXP, then installed SP-1, then SP-2, or upgraded Office2000 to SR-1, then SP-3, then to Office XP, installed three servise packs, upgraded to Office 2003 and installed SP-1 etc), I would recommend to perform system cleanup instead of Windows reinstallation.

    Once again - before starting anything, backup, image or at least create a restore point (Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore).
    First, clean Internet Explorer cache (from Internet Explorer, click Tools | Internet Options, then on General tab click "Delete Files" button and check "Delete all offline content" on the next screen).
    If you use other browsers (as Netscape), clean its cache also.
    Second, delete temporary files (it's better to do it from Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Cleanup). You can also delete IE cache from Disk Cleanup utility. But be careful: don't delete other files it is prompting you and especially do NOT use "Compress old files" option!
    Third, clean Prefetch folder. To do so, download and run Windows XP Prefetch Clean And Control 1.2.0
    And at last not least - uninstall unused and long time forgotten programs (Start | Set Program Access and Defaults, then "Change or remove programs" on the left)

    Now you can check your hard drive (Start | Run, type
    chkdsk /r
    hit Enter and reboot your computer). After this run Disk Defragmenter (Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Disk Defragmenter).

    I hope that BEFORE doing all of this you already installed and used Spybot - Search & Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-Aware!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Lounger
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    Thanks again

    Thanks for the step-by-step. Most of those things I do regularly, but the trouble with learning things piecemeal is you don't know where the gaps in your knowledge are. For instance, I didn't even know I had a Prefetch folder! So I'm glad to know how to cover all the bases. Thanks again, everybody, for helping with my education!

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