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Dell M70 laptop with windows XP i need to reinstall windows and am confused ? Answered

Hi Everyone
 First my name is Rob and i am sorry to trouble all you guys with my problem, i continue to be astounded by genius on this site and the brilliant hacks, solutions and inventions that you guys come up with. I am an engineer in motorsport (rallying) and am reasonably good with anything mechanical, But i must be dyslexic when it comes to computers, i just dont get them i really dont. 

 To my question

my dell m70 laptop with windows XP and many "motorsport type" data logging engine mapping software that have used over the years, the computer is 6/7 years and is now very slow many programs do not work eg "excel " i am told i need to reinstall my disc which i have                    

   my questions are

1how and where do i back up my current information to ?
2 can i back up/save the software i have on it and reinstall it after disc  (i dont have original software cds etc) ?  



Back up your programs to an online account.In this case I recommend DropBox,create your account with them and simply transfer all the stuff you want to your new DropBox account. You get 2GB of free remote storage,should 2GB prove to be insufficient it can be increased for a nominal price.Reinstall your windows, access your DropBox account and just transfer everything back onto your fresh install. Since DropBox is free, you may want to hang onto your account for other "stuff" since you can access it from any computer anywhere you are.
Good Luck

lemonie has made a very astute observation regarding the state of your laptop. Indeed a thorough cleanup would serve you better than a reinstall.
1. download and run CCleaner , analyze and run cleaner for "windows","applications",and "registry"
2. If you have a malware tool installed, update to the latest definitions and run that; if you don't I recommend something like "super anti spyware" or "spybot search and destroy".
3. download and run "Auslogics" disk defrag
To save yourself sometime looking for these programs go to "Ninite", it's your one stop shop for these guy's.
If, after having done all this your still not happy,then a clean install maybe your next option
Good Luck

A full-reinstall is not really a good idea. It needs cleaning-up.
Defragment the disk last, at the end when you've finished.
Remove things you don't use, try a registry-cleaner, re-install MS Office if Excel "doesn't work"


Option 1: open "disk utility" under "accessories" and defrag the hard drive.

Option 2: copy your hard drive to an external unit and reinstall windows. this will most likely format the drive and give you a fresh install. drop your program files and documents on the drive in the appropriate places.

Note that I am a Mac guy, but I have used XP extensively. No guarantees, but this should work.

finally, if you have the install disks for your programs, forgo the program files folder and simply reinstall the programs.