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Reinstalling Windows -- Not Worth It
Old 02-02-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
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Reinstalling Windows -- Not Worth It

Last month I reinstalled Windows XP to speed things up and free up space.

It's nice to have a clean system and more disk space, but in general I'd say that this procedures is not worth it. I still have some things that are very slow (e.g. sometimes it takes a long time to come out of standby), but the big problem is the major inconvenience of losing settings, having to reenter passwords, etc.

For example, the toolbars on my paint shop pro are not the way I want them. The little annoying helper thing comes up on Open Office Writer, and I have to figure out how to eliminate it. Audio recording didn't have the recording level booster, so I had to figure out (again) how to get that back.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:22 PM   #2
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I reinstalled windows XP on an older machine from 2002 or so (Pentium 4 1.8 ghz, under 1 GB ram). Works like a champ now. Good for almost all internet surfing, photo viewing/editing, kids games, Office productivity work, reading, etc. The specs are roughly the same as most modern netbooks, and it functions similarly. Good 2nd computer. Reinstall took a few hours including putting some software back on it, downloading service packs and updates, etc. Most of the time was me doing something else waiting for a prompt to hit enter or click "ok" or something.

Overall a good use of time to get a computer working well again. Resetting all your custom settings is a pain though.
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Sometimes, the user doesn't have a choice but to re-install.

Just two days ago, one of my PCs suddenly failed to load the driver for its WiFi card. Other than some g*dd*mn recent Windoz updates that were pushed by MS, I do not see any other reasons.

I have been bitten by Windoze updates before. In 2001 or 2002, I applied a Service Pack (SP) update to a machine running Win2000. The doggone thing crashed after the update. Using another machine to go to MSDN to look for the reason, I found that they HAD a "Knowledge Base" article saying that that SP would cause the machine to lock up if it had a DAT (Sony Digital Audio Tape Drive) installed. Yep, that was what I had.

OK! Great! How do I uninstall that f****** Service Pack? By the way, physically disconnecting that DAT did not help.

That "Knowledge Base" article said Windoze had to be re-installed. There was no way to undo that SP!

So, they knew about it, and still pushed it out on the Web without having the installer software doing a check to see if the user hardware has a feature that they knew they could not handle.

Here's another problem. My wife's old IBM laptop was running fine with XP. They kept nagging about SP2 update, and I finally relented to allow it to proceed. Yes, you can guess it, the darn thing locked up afterwards.

Oh, but I foresaw the problem and made a backup of my HD, using the System Restore that was built in to Windoze. So, I told myself I would just undo that f****** SP and be done with it.

NOOOO! The doggone thing required a certain file to be read in from a floppy drive! Yes, I kid you not. A floppy drive on a laptop! I searched the Web, and found that there were other people with the same perplexing problem of not having a floppy drive on their laptop in order to do a system restore. If you don't believe me, search the Web to see for yourself.

Not wanting to buy a USB floppy drive just for that, I reinstalled the damn thing from scratch.

Why haven't I gone over to the other side, you might ask? It is mostly because I need to be compatible with people I still do work for, else I would be running Linux exclusively.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Sometimes, the user doesn't have a choice but to re-install.

Just two days ago, one of my PCs suddenly failed to load the driver for its WiFi card. Other than some g*dd*mn recent Windoz updates that were pushed by MS, I do not see any other reasons.

I have been bitten by Windoze updates before. In 2001 or 2002, I applied a Service Pack (SP) update to a machine running Win2000. The doggone thing crashed after the update. Using another machine to go to MSDN to look for the reason, I found that they HAD a "Knowledge Base" article saying that that SP would cause the machine to lock up if it had a DAT (Sony Digital Audio Tape Drive) installed. Yep, that was what I had.

OK! Great! How do I uninstall that f****** Service Pack? By the way, physically disconnecting that DAT did not help.

That "Knowledge Base" article said Windoze had to be re-installed. There was no way to undo that SP!

So, they knew about it, and still pushed it out on the Web without having the installer software doing a check to see if the user hardware has a feature that they knew they could not handle.

Here's another problem. My wife's old IBM laptop was running fine with XP. They kept nagging about SP3 update, and I finally relented to allow it to proceed. Yes, you can guess it, the darn thing locked up afterwards.

Oh, but I foresaw the problem and made a backup of my HD, using the System Restore that was built in to Windoze. So, I told myself I would just undo that f****** SP and be done with it.

NOOOO! The doggone thing required a certain file to be read in from a floppy drive! Yes, I kid you not. A floppy drive on a laptop! I searched the Web, and found that there were other people with the same perplexing problem of not having a floppy drive on their laptop in order to do a system restore. If you don't believe me, search the Web to see for yourself.

Not wanting to buy a USB floppy drive just for that, I reinstalled the damn thing from scratch.

Why haven't I gone over to the other side, you might ask? It is mostly because I need to be compatible with people I still do work for, else I would be running Linux exclusively.
You forgot "rant over".
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reminder, but who says it is over?

I am just catching my breath.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Last month I reinstalled Windows XP to speed things up and free up space.

It's nice to have a clean system and more disk space, but in general I'd say that this procedures is not worth it. I still have some things that are very slow (e.g. sometimes it takes a long time to come out of standby), but the big problem is the major inconvenience of losing settings, having to reenter passwords, etc.

For example, the toolbars on my paint shop pro are not the way I want them. The little annoying helper thing comes up on Open Office Writer, and I have to figure out how to eliminate it. Audio recording didn't have the recording level booster, so I had to figure out (again) how to get that back.
It probably won't take you long to reconfigure those applications that you use a lot.

BUT - - it sounds to me like you are ready for a new computer, if reinstalling XP didn't solve the slow-down problem. I would suggest a slick new middle-of-the-line Dell.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:37 PM   #7
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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I was wondering why you were going to all the trouble of reinstalling Windows, I thought perhaps you had a really bad contractor, or your house was cold.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:40 PM   #9
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I was wondering why you were going to all the trouble of reinstalling Windows, I thought perhaps you had a really bad contractor, or your house was cold.
Old Mike
Honestly that is what I thought the post was about, too! I thought he was looking for some of those green tax credits.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:08 PM   #10
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It's definitely a pain, but I reinstalled XP on my parents laptop and it runs WAY faster now. I had tried running CCleaner and a bunch of other tools, but it was just not working well.

After installing XP w/SP2, I had to go get drivers to support the sound chip and wireless, but they were easily available from Dell's site.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:20 PM   #11
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I may have to restore my laptop soon using the restore disc that came with it (I have a Dell, that was used). Unfortunately, I didn't create an image copy of my hard drive will some of the settings, etc. to restore from. I had already been using the computer so didn't make the image copy. The next time around, I'll have to make that image copy.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:25 PM   #12
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(don't want to jinx things, but we just got a replacement box up running windows 7. and it's been comparatively painless. Printers work after getting the 32 bit driver off the disk, Word 2000 works, Quicken 6, Photoshop works). This doesn't feel like our typical update requiring replacement of all peripherals. Weird. shhhh.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:33 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, I didn't create an image copy of my hard drive will some of the settings, etc. to restore from. I had already been using the computer so didn't make the image copy. The next time around, I'll have to make that image copy.
As I read the thread, I was wondering why people are not making clones (images) of their systems?

Make a clone and make a fresh one before you do any major upgrade. Just backup data in-between cloning should be good enough for most people. If you get hosed, your clone gets you back to where you were. All your settings are where you last had them.

This is particularly easy in OSX - you can just boot from that clone and be up and running in no time. IIRC, Windows is going to want you to copy the clone back to the original drive, or re-register or something to guard against piracy. But that still seems better than a total re-install of all those apps, and then getting the setting back the way you want.

I need to learn how to do this for Linux also, there seem to be a few gotchas on the boot parameters.

So, why not keep a clone (image)? -ERD50
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:20 PM   #14
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So, why not keep a clone (image)? -ERD50
Why not indeed?
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:21 PM   #15
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Honestly that is what I thought the post was about, too! I thought he was looking for some of those green tax credits.
Me three, DH and I plan to replace all our old leakers next summer and I was hoping for a heads up!
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:38 PM   #16
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It is not as simple as that.

Windoze pushes automatic updates onto my machines at a frequent rate, sometimes several times a week. I used to disable the auto updates, and inspect each update by hand but it is a lot of work!

And then, the machine may appear to be fine, but sometimes later, I would discover that one of my many applications failed to run. Even if I keep a disk clone image after an update, how many do I keep? 10? 100? Then, do I go back to the one a week earlier, or a month earlier? It is a lot of work!

Also, one should not use Windoze to back up itself. In fact, it has its own built-in "undo" but it does not always work!

Note: I have 5 desktop PCs just for myself to do different things. Wife and the two kids have their own desktops; that's 3 more. There are also 5 laptops/netbooks in the house. I don't want to spend all my waking hours servicing these g******* PCs.
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:46 AM   #17
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As I read the thread, I was wondering why people are not making clones (images) of their systems?
...
I need to learn how to do this for Linux also, there seem to be a few gotchas on the boot parameters.
ERD50, you can use Partition Image to clone Linux partitions (or any other type of partition for that matter): Partimage

As far as the kernel parameters, if you are using grub, just backup the grub.conf file on your Linux boot partition and that would do it. Chances are grub won't get trashed, but if it does, just reinstall it and restore the grub.conf. The other alternative is to just backup the whole grub partition.

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Note: I have 5 desktop PCs just for myself to do different things. Wife and the two kids have their own desktops; that's 3 more. There are also 5 laptops/netbooks in the house. I don't want to spend all my waking hours servicing these g******* PCs.
Wow, that's 13 PCs! Let's say that 10 of them have dual cores and that'd be at least 23 CPU cores working away at the NW-Bound household! There are third world countries with less computing power than your household!
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Old 02-03-2010, 02:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
As I read the thread, I was wondering why people are not making clones (images) of their systems?

Make a clone and make a fresh one before you do any major upgrade. Just backup data in-between cloning should be good enough for most people. If you get hosed, your clone gets you back to where you were. All your settings are where you last had them.

This is particularly easy in OSX - you can just boot from that clone and be up and running in no time. IIRC, Windows is going to want you to copy the clone back to the original drive, or re-register or something to guard against piracy. But that still seems better than a total re-install of all those apps, and then getting the setting back the way you want.

I need to learn how to do this for Linux also, there seem to be a few gotchas on the boot parameters.

So, why not keep a clone (image)? -ERD50

I do believe cloning is the way to go. I call that making a Prinstine copy with all the settings. With my laptop, I was already using (installing applications, etc.) before I found the clone software to use, so too late.

But next time around, I'll sure do the cloning approach.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:18 AM   #19
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It is not as simple as that.

Windoze pushes automatic updates onto my machines at a frequent rate, ....

I don't want to spend all my waking hours servicing these g******* PCs.
Your call of course, just an option. True, an update might affect something and you might not realize it for a while. I wouldn't (and don't) clone before every little upgrade, maybe once every six months (or whatever feels 'right' or when I think about it). And I try to keep one backup behind that in rotation. Plus backing up a subset of the data files to flash drives more often (I select specific 'active' folders for this, so not a lot of data).

So I could re-install from a six month old (or year old) clone, update the data from flash drives, then run the updates to get back in-sync with security fixes, etc.

I'm doing this with 7 computers in the family, some of those just once a year. Three external drives are plenty to hold a couple backups of each. Yes, it's some work, but far less, IMO, then trying to re-install the OS, get that updated, re-install every program and get everything tweaked back the way I want it. I do a lot of 'customization' to get things the way I want, it's tough to remember every little thing years later.

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ERD50, you can use Partition Image to clone Linux partitions (or any other type of partition for that matter): Partimage

As far as the kernel parameters, if you are using grub, just backup the grub.conf file on your Linux boot partition and that would do it. Chances are grub won't get trashed, but if it does, just reinstall it and restore the grub.conf. The other alternative is to just backup the whole grub partition.
Thanks - that's pretty much the road I was down, but I installed 9.10 (Karmic Koala) with ext4 formats, and it looks like partimage does not yet support ext 4. There are other options (gparted?, grsync?) - one of the things I want is to boot from that image from the cloned drive (like I do with OSX), and also be able to copy it back to my internal drive if needed, and then boot from that. I'm very, very new to Linux, but in addition to GRUB, I think I need to make changes to fstab and then run an update on initramfs, maybe a few other things. Beyond the topic of this thread, but I'm sure I'll figure it out once I put some time on it.

Sure makes me appreciate the way OSX handles this (the boot parameters all seem to be local to the drive the system is on, so it just boots from wherever it is, once you point the boot loader to it by holding the 'option' key at boot up - can't get any easier than that).

-ERD50
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:32 AM   #20
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Me three, DH and I plan to replace all our old leakers next summer and I was hoping for a heads up!
Me too--we replaced all our windows last summer and the $1500 energy credit was part of the cause of the ridiculously high refund we'll get back from Uncle Sam.
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