Time For A Total Clearout?

  jimforrest 03:40 01 Dec 2014

In the Old Days of Win 3.1, Win 98 (especially), and XP, it was desirable every 2 years to copy off your files, reformat the C Drive, and then re-install the O/S. That used to clear out the clogged arteries and remove all the extraneous programs that somehow weedled their way into the computer.

I have a nice Samsung laptop running Win 7 64 Bit with 6 Gig of RAM and a hard drive big enough to hold the World. It was incredibly fast and did everything I needed for my business. Then about a year ago a fight between AVG and Rapport trashed the whole thing. Fortunately you guys got me out of the cr*p and it ran again - but it was never quite the same in performance terms.

Now I have retired and I don't have to be connected 24/7 or fend off a daily stream of emails. I can take a breath and review the computer operation. I'm getting windows (in Google) opening slowly, and quite a few 'not responding' delays. It's time for an old fashioned clearout. (I am very careful about downloading stuff - always going for Advanced etc so I don't have a crop of toolbars etc). Cleanups are done by Adaware, CCleaner, Spybot etc.

I have a drive in a caddy and have copied over all my important stuff. The problem now is how to do the spring clean. Two ways I can think of -

  1. Find the 'Reset Button' so that it switches the comp back to where it was when I bought it. That might not work though because I had to use a downloaded iso after the crash to get Win 7 running again. I can then use something like Defraggler to wipe the rest of the drive before reloading everything.

  2. Remove the C drive, pop in my caddy (connected to my spare Acer laptop), and reformat it. The problem then is I don't have a copy of Win 7 (in physical form) so its back to an iso.

Which route is best guys?

  onthelimit1 08:43 01 Dec 2014

Back to factory settings would be my choice if it's on the HDD - avoids any problems with type specific drivers. I'm about to do exactly that with my 4 yr old W7 for the same reasons of slowdown (despite all the usual housekeeping).

  [DELETED] 13:33 01 Dec 2014

You can backup drivers using DoubleDriver and DriverMax first to ext HDD. They will all be nicely in one place then.

Also, manufacturers Support and Downloads for the big brands usually have the required drivers.


A System Image to ext drive is surest way of making sure everything is backed up. It's easy to forget profiles, saved emails, bookmarks and favourites and Wallpapers and other stuff.

Images can be mounted later for forgotten files/folders or fully Restored in case of catastrophic problems.


I recently (2 weeks ago) gave up on Factory Recovery of my 2009 Compaq laptop. I did it twice and the batches of Windows updates were taking many, many hours each.

Both times took more than 36 hours each. And I still had a slow cranky, unstable laptop at the end.

I made a W7 SP1U DVD from Heidoc in the end and it went in fine.

click here

The only driver that needed re-installing for me was the Graphics driver. I was stuck in 800x600 low-res without it.

I haven't updated from SP1 to present day yet. I haven't the strength or courage.

I have a lovely nippy laptop and everything works. I have made fresh System Images so if any malware tries to exploit my lack of recent updates, it doesn't matter.

  [DELETED] 13:39 01 Dec 2014

Oh and a note on Factory Recoveries generally.

Don't do them with an external drive connected.

They can restore to there instead of main drive.

  onthelimit1 14:14 01 Dec 2014

Hmm. I find the updates (usually 120 or so) complete in under 3 hours.

  [DELETED] 14:43 01 Dec 2014

Maybe it's just my particular laptop then.

I have 186 + 6 Updates waiting. (covering SP1 to present day. ie not all the way back to 2009.

They'll keep for a while.

  [DELETED] 14:46 01 Dec 2014

I'm glad I did do a re-install though, in spite of the hassle.

I'd been putting it off for ages, but W7 was becoming quite unusable.

  onthelimit1 15:19 01 Dec 2014

Ah. I use a version with SP1 on it. Makes quite a difference.

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