View Full Version : Reload Windows...how often?!

17-10-2003, 01:39 PM
Reading PC World last night in bed (not as good as Tom Clancy but easier to put down as midnight approaches). There was a comment somewhere that eventually Windows becomes gluggy and messed up and needs to be reloaded. About every two years was the timeframe suggested.
I've never reloaded Windows in 11 years of computing and my current PC is still going well after nearly 5 years. I've installed and uninstalled a lot of programs and the normal amount of new hardware bits'n' pieces. Am I lucky? I have a friend, who whether he needs to or not, reinstalls Windows every 6 months religiously (I think this means he prays his PC will start up again).
Any anecdotal evidence either way out there anyone?

17-10-2003, 01:46 PM
Really it depends on your hardware (like HDD size, perhaps CPU), but I only reinstall Windows when it completely buggers up - which, by my own admission, is often some way or another related to something I did (with the exception of hardware faults, of course).

However, if you want to make sure no drivers, DLLs, and other miscellaneous files get left behind when you uninstall programs, change devices, and do all sorts of tweaking, in retrospective you probably should reinstall Windows - although every two years seems a bit often for me, I'd say four.

17-10-2003, 01:54 PM
It really depends on how often you can spare that evening (Or sometimes two or three...) to format your PC.

I try and do the family's Desktop about once every four months coz it runs like such a dog if I dont (we're at 7 weeks roughly and Im thinking of doing it already :-().

If you run minimal apps and only really browse the web and send/receive emails then you wont need to do it as much as my family, who use the PC about 8-10 hours out of the day!

Personally though, format and re-install of my OS (Slackware 9.1 ATM) takes around 50 mins from beginning of backup to completion (Yes.. I do format sometimes.. usually to try another Distro :D).

If its still "running fine" then I wouldnt bother personally, unless you think you can gain more speed from it (As formatting un-doubtedly speeds up Doze!).



Billy T
17-10-2003, 02:47 PM
Me? Never!

I have the occasional hiccup as my computers are in active use 12 hours a day and pretty much seven days a week, but restoring from a ghost image sorts that out. My most recent incident was a month or so back when faulty RAM munged one of my W2K boxes something terrible. It was an absolute basket case but a new stick of RAM and 20 minutes to reinstall the image and I was away again.

I'm surprised at you Chill :p With your knowledge and experience you could spare yourself the trouble on the family desktop with one setup and an image. Get the family to stump up $90 for Drive Image 7 and say goodbye to reinstalling OS's.


Billy 8-{) :|

17-10-2003, 03:01 PM
I haven't done a reinstall on this XP Pro install since:
Original Install Date: 27/05/2003, 7:06:39 PM

Before that I had been doing them every couple of weeks, I've now realised that XP doesn't need it anywhere near as much as 98SE did.

17-10-2003, 03:16 PM
With Windows 98 every six to 12 months is a good time frame with the amount of junk being installed and uninstalled on that PC. With Win XP a bit less often maybe thanks to system restore but since the new update rollup (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=40561) I have got the itch to do a fresh install now.... :D

17-10-2003, 03:35 PM
lol, I have Symantec Ghost 2003 Personal :-)

Just cant find the Disc ATM... :-(

I'd done that a while back with Win2K, but yeah... Win2K isnt XP... :-(

Rod ger
17-10-2003, 05:53 PM
I'm still going on original install of W98, no image backups. Tuned and tweaked pretty good, and runs quickly.
Mind you I have been in some pretty uncomfortable places at times. I remember changing the display settings to 640* 480 and the system crashed and stayed crased.
I discovered(much later) I had somehow "lost" a font needed to get W98 to work at that setting. I guess yesterdays disasters turn into experience somewhere along the line.

Graham L
17-10-2003, 06:06 PM
..."never reloaded Windows in 11 years of computing" ? Windows hasn't existed for 11 years. :D

I think you would have had to reload W286 and 2.0, and 3.0. 3.11 was reasonably stable if it was left alone ...

W95 was variable ... but generally needed (needs in my case --- I still have it on a few machines ) a reload every so often ... say yearly, because of bit rot. I've got one which has been reloaded three times in a week (I think because of a DLL loaded for a Thompson/RCA Lyra CF card adaptor).

You've probably been lucky.

It's not really a matter of routinely reloading the OS. It should be on an "as needed" basis. In an ideal world, never would be the right interval :D.

17-10-2003, 07:09 PM
I read that in the article as well, and remembered thinking thats just wrong. Either that or it was aimed at Windows ME users. XP doesn't require that many reinstalls, only when it really mucks up. Once you get it going with a good drive image program its sweet.

I reckon linux is easier to mess up than windows and have done that many times :|

17-10-2003, 08:02 PM
Huh!! Billy T, Drive Image 7 - and I thought you were a biggest fan of Ghost ever!!


17-10-2003, 09:03 PM
Since I installed WinXP I find that I am not reformatting nearly as often.


Billy T
17-10-2003, 10:10 PM
S'alright Curly

Yes I am a fan of Ghost, but Symantec bought PowerQuest so Ghost & Drive Image are now in the same stable. Convergence will probably see the two products grow closer together until they become one.

I am just anticipating the inevitable, and I also acknowledge that DI-7 is probably easier for a newbie to cope with as it does its thing in Windows.


Billy 8-{) :D

17-10-2003, 11:30 PM
> I am just anticipating the inevitable, and I also
> acknowledge that DI-7 is probably easier for a newbie
> to cope with as it does its thing in Windows.
> Cheers
> Billy 8-{) :D

Last time I looked at Ghost 2003 it worked from Windows as well.

17-10-2003, 11:37 PM
Usually once a month if I am not happy with something usually a bad installation or too much tweaking ,I do a restore from a image file though using Drive Image on my 98SE PC so it only takes me about 15 mins or so comes in very useful for experimenting with new stuff

18-10-2003, 12:25 AM
Yeah, Ghost 2003 does a lot of config stuff from Doze... just has to reboot when it actually makes the image.

Im assuming DriveImage is the same?

Billy T
18-10-2003, 09:55 AM
> Last time I looked at Ghost 2003 it worked from
> Windows as well.

Yes it does JM, but I think it exits Windows for the imaging stage, and being a bit of a DOS-head I do all my imaging from the command line so I have never tried that facility. However, if I understand the blurb correctly, DI can image an OS partition or drive without exiting Windows.

Something I read also suggested you could image in the background while continuing to work, though that seems a difficult feat to accomplish, given that significant changes might occur in the drive's contents betweeen the start and finish of the imaging process.

If Drive Image has found a reliable means of imaging an OS in the background while continuing to work then I can well understand why Symantec would want to buy into that technology.

The offspring of the merger of those parents will either be Einstein or Frankenstein.


Billy 8-{) :|

18-10-2003, 11:06 AM
Yeah Ghost2003 is good - it has saved me a couple o' times.

It does need to reboot to DOS for imaging but it comes with an "Image Explorer" so you can fish specific files out of images instead of restoring the whole thing which is handy.

20-10-2003, 08:56 AM
Oh my God you're right! My first PC had DOS 6.22. How could I ever forget working with Works for DOS! 20mb hdd and 1 mb ram and a 386 SX 25 processor (I think). Ahh the good old days.
Yes, first Windows experience was with PC number 2 and Windows for Workgroups from the start of 1995. Perhaps Windows just seems to have been around forever.