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PC Install

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by DustySox, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. DustySox

    DustySox
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    Hi, I have had my PC for two years, and recently I have had some strange error messages pop up. I have anti virus software. I would like to do a clean re-install. If I were to buy an external harddrive,what would be the best way of saving pics, music etc that I have built up, ie would I highlight the folder and "send" it to new drive, or copy and paste etc? Would the same be true of program files that I would also like to save?

    On an install, what is the correct procedure, windows install, then drivers then windows update, virus update?

    Kind regards


    Darren
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Good idea getting an external drive, the alternative would be to fit a second internal one, more effort obviously but would give better performance and perhaps more convenient .. just a thought. :)

    I am assuming you only have one partition on your existing drive, for a quick-and-dirty 'copy everything that isn't hidden' you can open My Computer, right- click on the C: drive and select Copy, then double-click on the second disk to open it in Explorer, right-click and select Paste.

    This'll take some time, Explorer is pretty brain-dead when it comes to copying files, if you're comfortable with using the command line then opening a CMD prompt and entering xcopy /s /e /c c:\ d:\ (assuming your existing disk is C: and your new one is D:) will copy as much as possible.

    Note that Windows helpfully (sic) hides many system directories which you won't save using either of these methods, it's a Royal PITA but not easily overcome.

    An alternative, which will help you after reinstalling would be to invest in Norton Ghost. Using this you can 'image' your existing system on to your second disk as a backup immediately and in future it's a great tool when installing new software, driver updates etc. in case they go pear-shaped.

    As for installing, the sequence is pretty much as you described, though with a bit more detail:

    1) Unplug from the internet if you don't have a router or other hardware firewall.
    2) Install Windows (assuming XP), use the option to re-format. IMHO it's a good idea to keep the size of C: down to 4Gb or so and only install basic software on to it, especially if you're going to get Ghost to backup your system partition.
    3) Install chipset drivers (the CD that came with the motherboard) followed by device drivers for graphics, sound etc.
    4) If you're using Ghost take your first image now.
    5) Install SP2 (enabling the firewall if you don't have a hardware one).
    6) Reconnect to the internet and run Windows Update till it's happy.
    7) Take a second Ghost image.

    At this point you have a basic, functional system, preferably imaged, and you can now start re-installing software.

    This is my approach and works well, the images allow me to do driver updates and know that if they break I can rollback to the system before it ever saw them. The System Restore feature supposedly does the same thing, but there are many occasions when it fails to do this, for example the first release of WMP 10 often couldn't be got rid of using Restore.

    Ghost is a marvellous tool and well worth the expense. You can extract individual files from backup images just like in Explorer so it can be used for simple file restores as well as the full system.
     
  3. DustySox

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    Hi KraGorn,

    Thankyou for a very interesting and indepth reply. I am waiting delivery of harddrive ( I have gone for external, as I have two PC's that can be backed up). I will invest in Ghost, as all the garbage off the internet over time slows and corrupts my PC's. I also want to save all my email adresses/messeges etc. I know this is going to be a long winded affair and I'm sure I will experience some problems.

    My worry is that I save all that I need before reinstall.

    I will go through my PC this evening to make sure that is the case!

    Kind regards

    Darren
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    The great thing about Ghost is that it images the entire partition, so you're guaranteed to have every file on it. :)

    The only thing that you may want to manually save is the Registry, you won't want to Import i the whole lot back on to your new system but if you find you need to refer to some setting you need you'll be able to. Use REGEDIT to save the whole lot before Ghosting so it'll be in the image along with everything else.
     
  5. KoThreads

    KoThreads
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    You may not need to buy ghost if you know who your hard drive is made by.

    Maxtor have maxblast on there site

    Seagate have discwizard.

    WD have similar tools free as well.

    The only company I haven't found them on is Hitachi.

    Hope this helps before you shelve out any dosh.
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    The advantage of Ghost is that it isn't just an imager, with Image Explorer you can use it just like a mounted file system, extractfiles from it an change files in it.

    I've used Maxblast and for imaging per se it's a workable solution I think, but IMHO Ghost offers more .. one thing I'm not sure about is how device independent these are, can you iamge a Maxtor and reload it on a Seagate?
     
  7. Pack Dude

    Pack Dude
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    I would of bought an internal DVD writer and just copied any files you wanted to keep onto DVD.

    What version of windows are you installing? Did your PC come with a restore CD?
     
  8. DustySox

    DustySox
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    Hi Packman

    I am using XP, it is a Dell PC and came with restore disk and drivers etc. I do have a DVD writer, however, i have around 4000 songs on itunes, loads of digital pictures and emails from family/friends around the world that I would like to hold onto. Also, various programs that i would also like to keep. I am spending my evenings making notes of all the above as what i want to keep before it's too late. Also i have another PC, that I would like to back up, hence buying an external harddrive.

    Various hardware/software installs over time has caused conflicts, and then theres the internet, and all the problems that can bring! i think that it's "healthy" to do the occasional re-install because of the above.

    One of my concerns is configuring my router, which was installed by somebody else. My other PC uses it for wireless broadband, and if I get that wrong, I won't beable to access the internet for any help!!!

    Regards

    Darren
     
  9. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    The router shouldn't need touching at all and assuming your PC is configured for dynamic IP addressing, aka DHCP, (most are unless twiddled with by techies :D ) then when XP installs it'll detect the card and automatically configure it.
     
  10. Pack Dude

    Pack Dude
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    Im sure your PC came with instructions on how to use the restore CD. I don't use outlook but i "think" all your e-mailes are stored in the Application Data folder somewhere.

    Maybe you can still save the install you are using, try the new M$ AntiSpyware program. Also if you do a clean install you must install a firewall before going online. There is one in SP2.

    BTW most of the installed programs in the program files folder will not work if you just copy them and try and run them in another install.
     
  11. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    You've highlighted one of the BIG crimes M$ perpetrate which makes re-installing a nightmare.

    Many of the sub-directories in 'Application Data' are hepfully (sic) hidden, indeed "Application Data" is ITSELF hidden, which means any simplistic method of backup fails; the fact the e-mail files are stored somewhere in there by Outlook means they're no easily found.

    Ghost images everything which means you're certain of saving everything, you can then unpick the mess safe in the knowledge it's there somewhere.
     
  12. DustySox

    DustySox
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    Hi,

    Does anyone know how I can save all my messages in my Inbox of outlook Express onto external drive. I know I can export, however, I can't save/send to ecternal drive. All I can think of is to select them all, and attach them and email them to myself, and re download as and when re-install complete.

    Same goes for itunes, export/send all ripped tunes to hard drive, so as to put them back in after re-install?
     
  13. Pack Dude

    Pack Dude
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    I "think" they are in
    Documents and Settings\"your computer user name"\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express

    Or just search for a directory called "Outlook Express". Application
    Data is a HIDDEN directory, so you will want to be sure to make sure that
    you are able to view hidden folders.

    i got this info from here http://www.mcse.ms/archive55-2004-1-283767.html

    After you copy this folder with all your messages in it you should be able to import all the messages in that folder back into the new install.
    Ive done it before but on an older version of OE and some time ago.
     
  14. DustySox

    DustySox
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    hi,

    I have found this site. Very useful.

    http://www.djdenham.com/Install Procedures.htm

    However (being a bit thick, and not wanting to mess up on re install!).

    Could somebody give me a blow by blow description on booting from disc, I don't understand when I get to format/partition C drive. On my Dell 2400.

    Kind regards

    Darren
     

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