computer cleansing

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New User
not sure where to ask this so mods please move or delete as neccessary

i have seen many references in various threads to backing up your computer and re-installing the operating system to improve performance . Is this something that is do-able for a slightly-better-than-basic user like myself ? Can it be explained in a step-by-step list or maybe in a short phone call ? I have windows XP
I do have an external hard drive with plenty of room to spare. i know there are folks who can do it for me but I really have no desire to unhook my tower and leave it at someone's house :nah:

as always, any input is appreciated .....even if it is to tell me to unhook my tower and take it to someone who knows what they are doing :gar-Bi


Corporate Member
:gar-Bi:wink_smil you know somone who can do it but if you do it yourself dont forget to download the updates. that should take a couple days........


New User

Doing it yourself is the best way to learn. This is by no means a complete step-by-step tutorial, but just a few things I've learned over the years.

While your computer is still running:

Backup, copy or move any file you wish to keep to a second hard drive. This includes documents, photographs, list of favorites from IE and of course email and address books.

Make a note of your user names and passwords for websites.

Make a list of the programs you have installed (the ones you actually use) and make sure you have the installation discs and any necessary keys codes for re installation.

(Optional) Visit the websites of the manufacturers of the computer hardware you may have added to your system over the years to download the latest drivers. This includes printers, video cards audio cards etc. The odds are, during the re-installation of Windows the latest Microsoft drivers will be installed BUT just in case a driver is missing or incompatible you will have a stand by.

After all of your documents etc. are backed-up, reboot the PC with the Windows XP CD in the drive and follow the on-screen prompts for a "clean" installation.

Sit back and have a cup of coffee while you watch installation clock slowly count down.

Hope this helps,



Senior User
George gave a very good detailed description of what you need to do if using XP. Be sure you go to the Motherboards web site to get the downloads for the chipset, video and misc.....don't forget the install for the ethernet card although most times XP w/sp3 will have what you need, there is always that one time when everything goes as planned but the ethernet install and then NO internet at all. If it is from Dell, Gateway or some other name brand name then its easy to get any files you will need to reinstall just by visiting their site.

While you are thinking about this be sure you have 2gig of memory installed on the Motherboard, it makes a BIG difference. The processor also needs to be better than a pentium 3 to be happy. Look into going to Windows 7 because it is darned near as fast as XP and does have all the support that XP did have. There is a utility from Microsoft that will test your current system and let you know if Windows 7 will work on it. Run the utility and then see which you really need to do.

As my son told me either learn the new operating systems or get left behind. He also followed up with "If you gonna play with the big dogs either learn the new stuff or get bit"

Be sure to install a good antivirus after install.....the key word is good NOT the most popular.

Good Luck
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