Wipe your PC!

Once a year or 18 months I wipe and reinstall my system - to be rid of the garbage that builds up.  Here's how.

  1.  Sit down and make an honest inventory of the tools you really use - web plug-ins, device drivers, software, NETWORK SETTINGS, Internet access. Do it in ink, not on the computer. Or at least print it when you're done - Allow a week for this stuff, because in a week you'll remember all the things you forgot.
  2. Chuck and delete all the unnecessary and old stuff - this is your last chance
  3. Hunt up the install disks for all this stuff. Find the downloads etc. Get the serial numbers and authorization codes. Get all your passwords and phone numbers for your ISP, and your network settings.
  4. Download the new drivers for everything you own - including the setup program for your ISP if there is one.
  5. Make a good backup of your data only - onto CD or DVD - make two copies, just in case. Also burn all those new drivers and stuff onto a CD - not a CD-RW, a CD. 4a - Or copy the data onto another harddrive or elsewhere on the network
  6. Make a boot disk
  7. Get another PC working with internet and e-mail, so you can get help while the project is underway. 7 take a deep breath, mix yourself a mojito
  8. Put your Operating System disc in the CD, and do whatever it says for a new install, including formatting the C drive. Make sure you aren't also formatting the D drive if you have one.
  9. Have dinner while the disc formats. I prefer NTFS (or whatever the new, non-FAT32 one is) format - the only trouble I have is with video capture, but I suspect that has nothing to do with the hard drive. After dinner, finish the rest of the "click OK" steps in the installation.
  10. Get your network settings working, and printer and internet
  11. Time for another Mojito yet?
  12. One by one, put back the applications you care about. Leave the others on the shelf, you'll be surprised how many you never use again. Update them to the current versions, using their online features and your stored drivers etc.
  13. Eat the ice cubes and sugar at the bottom of the glass. Consider making another mojito
  14. Move your data across
  15. Test stuff
  16. Make a list of what didn't work, and go to bed
  17. Wake up with new clarity of vision, and a slight headache from the mojitos..
  18. Make strong coffee
  19. Fix everything. Use the other PC for online access, considering how many reboots you're going to have to do.
  20. Show your kids, and be disappointed when she doesn't see any difference
  21. Enjoy your new, faster machine