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Does my computer need a good purge?

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johnelliott

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My computer (700MHZ Athlon, 128meg) is 3.5 years old now. I've done lots of internet stuff with it, downloaded varios programs etc. Soon after it became available I upgraded to XP home edition.
Anyway, it's developed various irritating habits in its old age, and I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to save all my wanted stuff onto a cd and refomat my hard disk.
Is this a good idea?
John
 
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Anonymous

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John

I would download a trial of a tune up program from

http://www.tune-up.com

fully functional for 30 days, this will speed-up your computor by removing any lost, dead, wasted stuff.

Next I would seriously look at upgrading your RAM 128MB ain't enough for XP go to 256MB as a minimum or 512MB preferrably.

Reformat as a last resort, it's not difficult, and it will help (like having a new computor! nearly!) but it is a real pain to get all your programs and desktop as they were. If you reformat remember to backup/save your email files as well !!

Nick
 

blurk99

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you may find that some files won't carry across especially if they're user sensitive like the inbox and address book files under windows XP. But the actual act of starting from scratch shouldn't have a detrimental effect on the hard drive. I have to do this every 6 months or so because the kids give the hard drive such a hammering with music downloads etc... but do make sure you've got all the original installation disks for things, modem especially 'cause without that one you can't get on the internet to download the ones you forgot!!!

good luck

jim
 

gidon

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John
Nothing increases the performance of a machine like rebuilding the HDD. If you have a relatively modern machine like you do, windows XP should install with few hitches. Although check you have the orig operating system if you have the windows XP upgrade rather than the full version.
Allow a fair bit of time for rebuilding - it's never quite as straighforward as you'll think it'll be. If you have your drive partitioned (if not there is lots of ways of doing this), the safest thing to do is use something like Norton Ghost to backup your entire primary partition to the other partition. With Ghost you can access individual files from this backup when need be after your format and rebuild the c-drive. Worthwhile investment in my opinion. If you go this route, also create another image just after you have your machine built in its most minimal form. Then anytime your machine becomes sluggish you can quickly restore this ghosted image.
Cheers
Gidon
 

Chris Knight

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John,

Wot Gidon said. Save your data, roll up your sleeves and start over. it's definitely worth it. It takes me two days to do this but at the end of it, I have a system that seems supercharged. Also ensure you download the latest drivers for all your hardware as you go through the process. Most stuff like printers and network cards and so forth will have newer drivers than you had installed originally and which you may not have updated before.

Clean-up tools don't really cut it for me other than for routine maintenance.

The other important thing to do - again paraphrasing Gidon - is to make a drive image of your machine as soon as you have the operating system and all updates plus essentials like virus checkers in place but before you load a bunch of software. This way, starting over the next time isn't so time consuming.
 

Alan L

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Before you go to the trouble of reinstalling try defragging the harddisk first. From Explorer => Properties => Tools => defragmentation. Not guarenteed to fix your problem but alot quicker than doing a reinstall. Also agree about the comment on extra memory. Price of memory is not that expensive any more, add in at least 128mb to give to a total of 256mb more if possible.
 
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Anonymous

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John

Defragging the drive may help a bit but not much. Also be wary of programs like tune-up, they are pretty dumb and often remove files that are needed by applications. Although they present opt-out options and a sort of undo feature, problems caused by these programs are difficult to fix.

I have been buiding PCs since 1989 (remember Wndows 2?? and DOS 3 - it didn't last long :) ) and have always re-installed every 6 months for a new lease of life.

Make sure you back up your emails etc. Outlook stores emails, addresses and calender in a single .pst file.

For advice on backup, the best place to look is Fred Langa's site www.langalist.com this is the best newsletter on the web for 'techies'
 

mudman

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Tony":2ngfttvt said:
I have been buiding PCs since 1989 (remember Wndows 2?? and DOS 3 - it didn't last long :) )
You know, I think that I may have a copy of that somwhere. Clunky old thing if I remember rightly. Came with an Amstrad machine that I bought from my brother-in-law for £300. 640kb of memory and a 30Mb hardrive installed. For the young-uns herenote that that was kb and Mb :)

But, I agree with a re-install. You're machine will be like new.
I don't know if it's the same with XP as I haven't used it much yet. But under 98 you could change the location of your files in Outlook Express. Can't remember where it is off the top of my head but will be under an option somwhere. You can change this to be in a more sensible directory and then just back it up as and when you want. Failing that, check out shareware downloads for backup software. I did find a few a while ago for 98.
 

johnelliott

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Thanks for all the advice and info, guys. I think I might be best to get an expert to come to my place and sort it out for me. One thing about doing it that way is that experts (presuming I can find one) know how much to expect from the stuff they work on. I used to work on guitars a lot, and by the time I took it out of the case and put it on the bench I knew more about it than the owner did. If I can find a guy who knows that much about PC's then it will be worth paying him
John
 
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Anonymous

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You want to be careful John. There are more PC experts out there than actually exist.

I've been building PC's for years, started with 'em back in '86 as I recall.

A 700Mhz PC is getting a bit long in the tooth for todays applications. It might be worth thinking about buying a new motherboard and CPU, you'd probably have to spend about £100 to get up to about 2GHz.

But then you'd be thinking about upgrading the hard disk, and the monitor probably could do with being on the Christmas pressie list..... ;)

Andrew
 
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Anonymous

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John

Not too local but if you want to come up to my place sometime and drop it in, I'll re-install etc. for you.
 
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John at 3 1/2 years old its near retirment :lol: nah on a more serious note it sounds like a reinstall and dont forget to do the MS updates after will probably do it the world of good .Note of caution make sure you are able to get or have or download drivers for all your stuff as windows does not always have them .I had a bit of a job with and old graphics card.
 

johnelliott

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Tony":28rzke8l said:
John

Not too local but if you want to come up to my place sometime and drop it in, I'll re-install etc. for you - FOC of course
That's a very generous offer, Tony, and one I shall consider carefully. If you were closer I would already be on my way, unfortunately things are a bit frisky work-wise at the moment, 7 days a week and all that. Still I'll see what I can sort out, thanks
John
 
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Anonymous

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as well as the defrag you could try some of the spyware and adware cleanup tools that you can download from the web. Its quite scary the number of these parasite programs you can pick up in a short space of time on-line and many of those will by firing up and taking processing power and bandwidth from your web connection every time you try doing anything....guys here in the office have had success with:

http://www.kephyr.com/spywarescanner/
adaware
spybot


probably worth installing one of them if and when you rebuild anyway for future use

m
 
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