Fun and games time - reformatting my system HDD

  Red Devil 14:42 27 Apr 2007

Hi all,

Ok - I've recently made some upgrades to my PC and they haven't gone as well as I'd hoped. I'm going to use these issues as an excuse to do something I've been promising to do to myself for ages - namely, reformat my main system HD and install Windows again so that I've got a nice, clean, fresh install that should, hopefully, run quicker and more smoothly than my current install.

Now to the crux. What things do I need to ensure that I do to make sure that I get my system up and running with the minimum of fuss after I reformat?

I know that I don't need to back up the entire contents of my HD even though I've got the room to do so on my new 465Gb SATA HD. All the programs I have installed I either have the CDs for or the install/setup programs are stored on my data HDD so I'm planning on backing up the My Documents folder only at the moment.

But is there anything else I need to backup? I want to save me e-mails and my address book for both Outlook Express and Thunderbird for example so do I need to do anything extra to make sure I can restore the e-mails/address books afterwards?

Would it be a good idea to back up my Program Files and Games folders as well?

I plan on writing down the product registration keys for all the programs that I have bought and downloaded via the net where I don't have the key already stored in in e-mail from the company but is there anything else I need to bear in mind regarding programs that I've bought in this fashion?

I plan on having all the CDs for the hardware I have installed to hand so that I can install all the hardware drivers with little to no fuss - Ha ha! - should Windows itself not be able to install a driver for them but one thing that worries me is getting my internet connection up and running again afterwards. What do I need to do in preparation to ensure that I can get it up and running again as soon as I re-install Windows? Are there any settings that I would need to make a note of before reformatting?

Lastly, I have Windows 98 full and Windows XP upgrade. Is there any way I can install Windows in full from straight from the Windows XP CD or do I have to install Windows 98 first? I'm assuming the latter as there'd be no point in Microsoft selling full versions of XP otherwise but, if there is a way to install straight from my Windows XP CD, it would make the task a little easier and certainly quicker to achieve.

Sorry if I'm asking a lot or have gone into rather a lot of detail but when I tried searching on the net for advice on this the only sites I found gave out very general, not very useful advice before then going on to try and sell me some form of proprietary back up software.

Many thanks

  ArrGee 18:16 27 Apr 2007

Quite a few questions there, and probably the reason why nobody has come back to you sooner!

Basically, backup your documents and your emails/address book, drivers.

For the internet connection, how are you currently connected? The information that you need to go back online should be easily provided by your service provider (be it wireless router, wired router or dial up).

If you only have an XP Upgrade disc, you will need to install 98 first.

Do you have any music libraries on software such as SonicStage? If so, you will need to save the libraries as the software (particularly in the case of SonicStage), may not allow you to play your tracks after a fresh Windows install. (It will see the install as a new/different computer - Google Digital Rights Managent or DRM for further details).

Finally, if you are going to reformat, use this:
click here

It's a free full formatter that I have used dozens of times without any problems.

If you have any other queries, post them here, but one at a time would probably be more helpful to you and to the advisors!

  Fingees 18:23 27 Apr 2007

Just a small point, if you have an XP upgrade disk, you don't actually need to install 98 or ME, but you must have the disk available, so when it says it cannot find a previous operating system, you can place the 98 or ME disk in the drive, for XP to verify it.

That's the way I've always done it.

  Simsy 06:53 28 Apr 2007

Drivers for all the various bits of hardware, including mobo chip.

Also, you'll need to do all the windows updates again, so make sure you have whatever info is needed to connect online...

If your copy of Windows is not SP2 you wont be able to download the updates... so make sure you have a copy of the SP2 update on disc that you can install.

Good luck,



  Red Devil 07:46 28 Apr 2007

Thanks for that - I didn't realise that.

My copy of Windows isn't SP2 but I thought I'd just be able to update manually. I thought that SP2 was only necessary for automatic updates.

  Red Devil 07:48 28 Apr 2007

Cheers - that's good to know. I'll see if that works and I have my copies of both Windows 98 and ME to hand as well as XP in preparation for this reformat and re-install.

  Red Devil 08:05 28 Apr 2007

Point taken! ;)

I did consider several posts with each q

  Red Devil 08:11 28 Apr 2007

Point taken! ;)

I did consider several posts with each question in one but didn't want to flood the forum with posts to put them all in one post.

Now on to the points:-

Internet Connection

My internet connection is a Zyxel Prestige router/modem that is then connected to a wireless Belkin MIMO router that is then hardwired to the PC in question.

Music Libraries:-

I don't have any music libraries or anything like that on the PC. I use my laptop for that so that shouldn't be an issue.


Looks useful but I might not be able to use it as my PC now no longer has a floppy drive. I hadn't used it in years and my new case makes it awkward to install one but I may see if I can temporarily install it for this re-install.

Thanks for the advice.

PS, don't know why only part of this post got posted before as I certainly didn't hit the enter key or click on the post response button!

  Probabilitydrive 09:44 28 Apr 2007

have a look at this link, click here
it explains XP-reinstall procedures

  Red Devil 10:36 28 Apr 2007

Cheers for that - that's a very useful guide.

I've also been on the Microsoft support site and it states - even though the article is dated 2004 but I'm still assuming that it's a relevant document as I can't find anything dated later on the site - that SP2 is available via automatic update if you don't have SP2 - as is SP1 and SP1A.

  ArrGee 12:16 28 Apr 2007

You can burn a CD with DBAN instead of a floppy. There is a CD option on the site.

In terms of SP2, yes, you can install SP1 first then download SP2 (infact, I'm doing that right now on a laptop with a wireless internet connection!)

Once you install SP1 and are connected, go to Windows Update, and you'll find about a dozen critical updates. SP2 will not be included in this list.

After downloading, installing and restarting, run the Windows Update again, and it will find SP2. After installation, reboot and run update again for the additional SP2 updates.

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