PRE-FORMAT CHECK LIST
(A work in progress)
ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO FORMAT?
You are aware that by formatting you will clean the disk and lose all the programs and data on that disk.
HAVE YOU BACKED UP ALL YOUR FILES?
The normal assumption is that you back up FILES and DATA and NOT PROGRAMS.
Programs are not backed up because:
1. They all have to be RE-INSTALLED after a format anyway,
2. You should have the original disks/CD's they came on, or
3. You should create a separate folder for all programs that you downloaded from the net so they can be re-installed later.
HAVE YOU BACKED UP ALL YOUR DRIVERS AND SAVED THEM TO CD?
I recommend this program, http://www.jermar.com/wdrvbck1.exe
, be down loaded and run so it will find and save all your drivers to a folder (and many many subfolders). It will save you HOURS of looking for drivers after you re-install Windows. When re-installing drivers and it asks you for the disk/CD, click on browse and point the search to your driver backup folder or CD.
For everything you ever wanted to know about your PC, and them some.
Download the Enterprise System Information version of aida32.exe
Two more http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html
DO YOU HAVE THE WINDOWS CD TO INSTALL FROM?
Is the CD labeled INSTALL or UPGRADE?
Usually either can be used for a clean install, but the procedure will vary slightly.
Or is it the (dreaded) manufacture's RESTORE CD? IF all you have is a RESTORE CD a "modified approach" will have to be taken.
WHAT IS THE MAKE AND MODEL OF YOUR PC?
Packard Bell, HP and Compaq usually have a proprietary partition that could cause problems.
DO YOU HAVE THE WINDOWS PRODUCT KEY FOR THE INSTALL MEDIA?
This is a 25 digit alphanumeric key needed to install.
Download and run this small program to find your current product key for both Windows and MS Office. Key Finder http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder.shtml
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED PARTITIONING YOUR HARD DRIVE?
Partitioning has many advantages.
1. You can create a small 1.5 to 3.5 gig first partition for your OS only. The size will vary with the OS you use. If you ever have to format and re-install again this is the ONLY partition that you will have to format and you don't lose your data files.
2. You keep all programs on another partition. Over installing programs frequently keeps all of your original settings, tweaks, and fine-tuning.
3. You keep all your data files on another partition
4. You keep all your multimedia files on another partition.
5. When you back up your files they are all on one partition and easier to find and easier to back up
6. There is far less fragmentation on each partition and running defrag takes considerably less time. You are defragging a smaller drive (partition) and not the whole 40, 80, 120... gig hard drive.
IF partitioning sounds like a good way to go for you here is an excellent tutorial for using FDISK to partition your hard drive.
A slightly easier to follow guide was written by TSG's very own PyriteChips and can be found here.
IF you think partitioning is a good way to go, but you are put off by all the techie stuff, fear not, there are quite a few people here that can walk you through it.
HAVE YOU BACKED UP ALL YOUR FILES?
GHOST is a program that will create a one for one image of a file, a folder, or the whole partition or hard drive. It makes re-installing a snap.
GOBACK is another good program to have in your utilities "tool box" as it lets you recover from a small oops to a major "oh s#*%!"
HAVE YOU BACKED UP ALL YOUR FILES? ARE YOU SURE?
Did you remember you?re your email files and address book?
If you use Outlook Express you can use this utility:
How about favorites and history from your browser?
Any chat program files?