Reformat and Reinstall Windows and Office

  Gary 09:49 29 Jan 2004

I am going to reformat my hard drive and do a complete reinstall to speed it up by clearing out all the old files.

Can anyone confirm the following:
1) What will happen re activation of Win XP Pro? Can I activate it to my computer for a second time?

2) How can I back up the custom dictionary from Office and restore it after the format?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.


  Diodorus Siculus 09:58 29 Jan 2004

1 - yes you can activate it with no problems.

2 - do a search for custom.dic and copy it to a floppy / CD-R. Note where it came from. Return it to there afterwards. [It is called custom.dic in older versions of Office; check that this is the same in your version.]

  Gary 10:05 29 Jan 2004

I have searched for and found a file "custom.dic" - which appears to just be a text file with the words listed in it.
However, there is also another file called custom.dicProof - do I need that too?


  Brian-336451 10:15 29 Jan 2004

Yes to the above, even if on reinstallation it tells you to contact Microsoft on a freephone number, since its a reinstall and all the hardware's the same, the unique code generated during registration will be identical.

I've done it several times even having changed various bits of hardware and have been dealt with in a friendly and efficient way.

Most of the 'registration' horror stories are just that, it's just straight-forward and certainly nothing to worry about.

It also seems damn good for the machine too, to clear the junk out.

These days when I reinstall, I then take a Norton Ghost disk image (I've reduced my C: drive to just 7.5 G and put my programs on a partition D:)

By the way, the image is taken AFTER installing the software you want on the machine (I of course install software to D:, not C:\Program Files).

This meansI can 'reinstall' everything to a 'clean' C: drive in about 10 minutes max, not touching the programs as they are on the different partition therefore don't have to be reinstalled again.

  Diodorus Siculus 10:20 29 Jan 2004

custom.dicProof - do I need that too? - I don't know, but think that you may as well save it. That way you have it when you need it.

  Gary 10:26 29 Jan 2004

for your posts on this topic. I'm doing the reformat this weekend, so will backup the files you suggest first. Hopefully everything will go OK and I'll be back online soon...!

  Diodorus Siculus 10:47 29 Jan 2004

And backup everything else you might need - address book, favourites / bookmarks etc. Have a look here for details: click here

  Brian-336451 02:02 31 Jan 2004

What a good 'steer' that was, I've made a note of that myself filed under 'Further Education'.

Good luck Gary, don't forget if you have been using Outlook for your emails/addresses etc you'll have to do a file search for outlook.pst (it wouldn't be a bad idea to backup ALL files with pst suffix.

Until I did the Ghost bit (I actually use a 'data' partition - quite small about 5 Gh [can you imagine saying that 5 years ago] and thats where my mail, my documents etc are stored) I quite often forgot my pst files and had to start again.

It's a measure of how dense I am that this happened a couple of times before I made provision for myself.

AND . . . just a word to hopefully make you feel better once you have pressed 'Enter' and started the format. You WILL FORGET SOMETHING, we all do, but if you follow Diodorus Siculus's link that will be minimised.

Enjoy, the computer usually 'hums' along after a good clear out.

Good luck. I'm back in UK next Tuesday for a couple of days and will monitor this thread so let us know how it went.

Best wishes Brian

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