In under an hour your personal computer can be running as good as new!  Over time a computer is bogged down by all the programs and files added to it.  Eventually this will cause severe disorganization in the hard drive and greatly reduce how quickly your computer can process stored information.  Reformatting the hard drive erases all the information that has built up in the storage memory of a computer.  This brings the hard drive back to its original state, allowing for an operating system to be freshly installed.  Once this is done, the computer will operate like it was just pulled out of the box!

Save money by doing the maintenance yourself.  Retail stores typically charge sixty dollars or more to complete a computer reformatting process.  That is $60/hr!  Why would someone pay this when it is so simple following these steps?

Tools needed for completion: 

1) Windows-based personal computer

2) Windows Vista Re-installation Disc

3) External Memory Storage

Note:  All Windows-based PCs are shipped new with a re-installation disc.  The Windows Vista re-installation disc is a DVD, therefore a DVD drive is required

Note:  External memory storage comes in many forms and must be chosen based on the amount of storage needed.  Shown are two examples, an external USB hard drive and a USB flash drive.

Note:  Although this process is shown using Windows Vista, the process is very similar for most other operating systems.

Step 1: Backup Files

Create backup copies of all the personal files that need to be saved:

    A. Select files to be copied then either:

        Option 1. Drag and drop onto hard drive

        Option 2. Copy and paste onto hard drive

Note: USB flash drive shown in photograph is not required but may be used in place of the external hard drive depending on the amount of memory needed.
We dumped all Microsoft products. Now we run linux and do not have to deal with the slow down issues any more..
I am not too familiar with Linux but I have heard good things.
Amateurs defrag or reinstall. Real techs solve the problem and only use reinstall as a last resort. If you are in a corporate environment you might consider something like deep freeze to solve a lot of problems. Yes, I was a mswindows admin for over 10 years. I was tired of Microsoft problems. I had been running linux off and on since the 1990's. After I left the admin position, I finally bit the bullet and only used Linux. Except for ubuntu beginning to screw things up, Linux has made system and network management a breeze.
What Linux OS version do you suggest (if not Ubuntu)?
For biz I might use redhat, centos (redhat based) or debian.
Good question. I have not used Mint, but I know a lot of people who install linux for a living and they recommend Mint for newer users. Mint was based on Ubuntu, but they have gone back to Debian (one of the mother distros). I might suggest Mepis or Mepis Antix though. www.distrowatch.com has a listing of the most prominent linux distributions. There are a lot of what is called live cds(dvds) so you can try them without installing linux. Something you really can not do with Apple or Microsoft. Then you can see which one you like most. Those same cd's are great for recovering data from foobarred MSWindows boxes. The core of linux is pretty much the same for most linux variations. If you do gui only, you may never know the difference. Getting under the hood is fun. Like different countries have different languages so do linux variations under the hood. it grows on you. I grew up on redhat and slackware based distros, but debian based distros are what I use most. I ran debian on an old p1 laptop till it died recently. Now I use a (piii class celeron) for traveling. people laugh till I show them what it can do. <br><br>We have what is called a web server and install a lot of applications on it. So it does not matter what os you have. To access it you just use a good web browser. if a friend comes over with a Mac or a MSWindows machine, we can all use the same programs. Great for a biz environment. More and more of the so called cloud environment is going in that direction. Older computers can make great web servers, so that you can have your own private cloud at home. We use and old pentium 2 for a web server. For the home that is good enough. It will get replaced as newer computers become dirt cheap. The days of shrink-wrapped software are numbered. There is so much (free as in speech, but not as in beer) software for the web environment that it is unbelievable. Open source rules.
It is worth adding that Dell put 2 hidden partitions on the hard drive, one contains the BIOS and the other the diagnostics mode. Do not delete these partitions. I put Linux on mu Dell (Inspiron 1501) and noticed the 3 partitions. Only install onto the largest partition otherwise you could lose recovery modes. They aren't required for day to day operations but can be handy for diagnostics. Either way good instructable on a re-install. :)
<br> It might work for you, but it's equivalent to taking your car to pieces then rebuilding it instead of just fixing what's wrong with it.<br> <br> L<br>
Yeah but sometimes its better to start off fresh than make the old parts work. Besides, there are other reasons to reformat a hard drive
<br> If it's a total-mess and lots of things are broken &amp; corrupted, you might think it <em>is</em> going to be easier to start again. But there you really want a ghost-image.<br> <br> L<br>
To be honest this is ridiculous. Your solution to a slow computer is a complete reinstall? (Installing windows VISTA, by the way). Sorry. Not a good instructable.
Sometimes clearing everything is a good way to &quot;clean&quot; your computer and it is simple and has always worked for me. It is just a name, and like I said above there are other reasons to do this process.

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