View Full Version : Re-Format or Keep Cleaning
07-10-2005, 01:06 AM
Hey guys, I'm in need of some technical advice. While I plan on upgrading later this year, my current computer is giving me issues. It's an Athlon 2000 XP with a GeForce 4 Ti4400 and 512 MB of RAM.
Sometimes it doesn't boot properly, or freezes while booting into Windows. Sometimes it reboots itself shortly after getting to the Windows login screen. It also takes a long, long time to boot.
I've not reinstalled Windows or reformated the drive in 2 years. I regularly defrag all my drives, and do regular virus and spyware sweeps. This hasn't helped with the instability problems, though.
I'm wondering, then. Should I re-format and start with a clean slate, or just keep cleaning/tweaking my current installation? Thanks in advance.
07-10-2005, 02:36 AM
I've not reinstalled Windows or reformated the drive in 2 years.
:shock: Format and if you haven't already make separate partitions for your OS and other things. ( Example; My PC is split into OS Install, Downloads, Swap File partition, Game demos and Applications. ) I find it's neater and I can find exactly what I'm looking for a lot easier.
07-10-2005, 03:02 AM
Before formatting your HD, try booting from a floppy or CD. Does it still freeze?
07-10-2005, 07:45 AM
If it freezes or has trouble during booting, that sounds like... well, a bad driver or anti-virus software or something. Have you installed any hardware or low-level software recently?
Having said that, I'd still reinstall. It's like spring cleaning. You can throw out what you don't need and update what you do.
07-10-2005, 08:12 AM
You can reinstall without reformatting, right? I'd try that first (after backing up your important data, of course).
07-10-2005, 08:13 AM
Reinstalling Windows isn't a problem; it's reinstalling everything else. So I'm inclined to keep futzing with it until I solve the problem before doing a resintall.
Besides, random reboots and such are generally a sign of hardware failure, not just of device driver issues. So re-seat all of your RAM, clean the machine to make sure it's not a heat problem, make sure all fans are spinning, run some memory tests, etc. Also check your Event Log to see if it's telling you anything about the reboots.
07-10-2005, 09:56 AM
Yeah, what steve said. That doesn't really sound like a Windows problem, but rather a hardware failure of some kind. That's what was happening to me with my Athlon 1700+. Turned out the fan died on the heatsink/processor.
Of course I used that as an excuse to put together a new box... :)
07-10-2005, 10:46 AM
Take off; nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
07-10-2005, 10:59 AM
Yeah, it might be a hardware problem, not sure really. I use a couple of utilities to monitor the health of my 2 hard drives, and apparently one is in "Pre-Failure" mode, which might have something to do with it.
The only thing I hate about reformatting-reinstalling is not the windows part of it, it's reinstalling all the games and other pieces of software. Takes up the good part of a whole weekend.
Thanks for all the replies this far.
07-10-2005, 12:01 PM
The nice thing about doing an occasional (once a year or so) Windows reinstall is that it really forces you to take stock of what's on your computer and back stuff up.
I know I'm terrible at backing up stuff, and honestly, the stuff on my hard drive is worth a lot more than the drive itself. Hell, the time it would take me to re-rip my CD collection...yeesh. I don't even wanna think about it.
07-10-2005, 03:10 PM
<sigh> Well, the vote is overwhelming. Looks like I'm gonna take a week or so to back all the important crap up, then I'll reformat my windows drive and start fresh. Thanks for all the advice, guys. :)
07-10-2005, 06:05 PM
Heh ... and June just happened to be Backup Awareness Month (http://www.backupawareness.com/).
The "seperate harddrive partitions for OS / Programs / Data" is one that's I've long been a fan of, and is the reason that a format and reinstall takes at most two and a half hours with driver and application installs for the most part.
Sure, for most people that's a long time, but I'm a geek. We love this stuff.
07-10-2005, 09:31 PM
Oh I have separate partitions. I have separate drives for Sims, Strategy Games, and Action/RPG games, as well as drives for utilities, my girlfriend MP3 collection, and the Windows drive, so I'm well set. I'm just gonna have to reinstall a lot of crap when I reinstall windows. ;)
07-11-2005, 12:00 AM
Windows sucks, and gets crufty. Reinstalling seems pretty much de riguer when performance drops, as it at least puts you in a more or less known state -- e.g. if you still have trouble there's a good bet it's bad hardware.
I've started keeping a short list of stuff I install and settings I change on a new machine. This makes things much smoother and quicker, although there's really no getting around the pain of installing Windows itself. Still you can at least make it so you only have to around once in a while to click a few buttons and swap disks, rather than sit through reinstalling all your software.
07-11-2005, 04:08 AM
Windows sucks, and gets crufty
As wonderfully documented by Verity Stob (http://www.ddj.com/documents/s=7536/ddj0208q/), eg:
Cruft Force 6. Limping. Description: [Delphi|Visual Basic|Java] suddenly remembers a trial shareware component — deleted six months ago because it was rubbish — and refuses to compile anything until it is reinstated.
"Web content in folders" Explorer setting switches itself back on unbidden. "Setup" programs start crashing while unpacking their own decompression DLLs.
07-11-2005, 05:00 AM
Your hardware might be fine now, but if there was a hardware issue at
the time of installation, it comes back and haunts you later.
For example, wrong memory speed settings or subtle differences in BIOS
settings always get me. I hate computers :/
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