Formating Shortcuts?

  Legslip 16:01 11 Aug 2010

I have reformated a few of my pals PC's & upgraded them (mainly RAM) which has speeded them up immensly. Problem is that other pals are asking me to do likewise and they do not appreciate what a slog it is. I save all their data to an Xtl HD, reformat, load all the drivers (if they have the disk), programmes and Win updates and restore their data. It takes many, many hours. Are there any shortcuts to doing this?

  rdave13 16:17 11 Aug 2010

Possibly of some help,
Some windows updates and service packs; click here

If no drivers disc then you can use double driver to save and restore drivers. I don't save the windows drivers as they will be on the OS disc.
click here

  Taff™ 16:20 11 Aug 2010

There`s no shortcut to saving and restoring their data. I presume you re-install the OS completely from scratch and then install any missing drivers from manufacturers websites. These drivers will, in the main be hardware specific so no shortcut there.

You could download XP SP3 and put it on a disc which will bring an XP machine up to speed but even now there are over 100 further updates to be applied.

There is a method called slipstreaming which might be a way of saving some time. It basically creates for example, an XP installation disk with all the updates included but obviously that too can become obsolete as more MS Updates are released. (14 this morning for Vista!)

I also do a lot of this type of work and I just have a check list in Excel which I use and slog through it. When the machine is doing long tasks I get on with something else. I keep one memory stick with all the current versions of popular programs to hand which saves downloading them every time and a repository of old versions of programs which I can re-install provided of course that the program was on the machine originally and I can retrieve the CD Key using Belarc Advisor PRIOR to starting.

I always allow 4 hours for an XP machine and perhaps an hour less for Vista or W7. It does sometimes take longer depending on the amount of data to be restored.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:25 11 Aug 2010

Start charging an hourly rate, even at a minimal charge you'll be suprised at how fast the work disappears.


It along slog mainly with little thanks.
May be you do not need to reinstall just clear the dross and add memory.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:26 11 Aug 2010

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use Crap Cleaner click here

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :-
Superantispyware click here
Malware removal tool click here

Free Antivirus software
MicroSoft Security Essentials click here
Avast4 click here
AVG antivirus click here

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance -
advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click
custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory
= set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok.
If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the
PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything
except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. click here

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels:
Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO.
Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab -
If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP or Vista, it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS:
Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage'
From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.'
Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information.
Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd'
To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs'
So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers
Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware
This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory
Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial .com click here will guide you through the process of slecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  David4637 10:18 12 Aug 2010

Use ACRONIS to backup OS and or data

  Legslip 12:49 12 Aug 2010

Good People. Some really excellent responses here and I thank you for them.
The Windows update downloads looks really useful and Taff, bit cheeky really but could I have a copy of your s/sheet, seems a really good idea?
As usual Fbat you have excelled. A mine of wonderful info which I will convert into a process sheet. I am sure that I can trim some time back from the reformating slog!
Thanks again.

  Taff™ 09:28 13 Aug 2010

Drop me a PM and I`ll oblige.

  gengiscant 09:49 13 Aug 2010

This makes life a lot easier for installing many of todays popular here

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