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Formatting HD & Reinstalling Windows

This is a discussion on Formatting HD & Reinstalling Windows within the Windows 8, 8.1 Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Got a newbie easy question for anyone. I always hear jokingly the answer to any problem with windows is to,


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Old 04-19-2015, 06:18 PM   #1
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Got a newbie easy question for anyone.

I always hear jokingly the answer to any problem with windows is to, "wipe out and reload," the pc. It seems easier to just back up the files and, format the drive, and reinstall windows.

My question is though to do this you would of course create a backup disc of your files, preferences, etc. But beyond this I am wondering the process to carry out formatting the hard drive and reinstalling windows. Do you create a system snapshot disc(s) and or have a copy of your operating system on hand to reload/boot from?

Thanks to anyone who replies. Hopefully posted this in the right forum.
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:51 PM   #2
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Some people create an image of their current install and then restore it to a new drive. This will work well if the current install is without error and nothing significant has been changed from the old system. One advantage of doing this is that your personal files and all the Windows updates will be restored as they were when you made the image. A disadvantage is that you may transfer existing problems or even malware to the new drive. Also, you may need another hard disk to create a system image if you have lots of files.

Personally I do a completely clean install, just as I would with a brand-new, unformatted drive. The main problems with this is that Windows' updates take a while to accomplish and several re-boots before the system is up and running. It also takes a while to reinstall and re-update my other software. It's not hugely time consuming though (about two to three hours, mostly waiting -- I read a good book) and I do this about once every year or two.

Are you having problems with your system? If so, there are less drastic methods of refreshing it. A disk check (CHKDSK /R) and system file scan (SFC /SCANNOW) will often work wonders. Windows 8.x also has a Refresh and Reset option. The former will save your data and personal settings but will remove all non-Window's Store apps. The latter is akin to a clean install.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:14 PM   #3
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The way I do it on my personal PC is I keep one image just after Windows install with no 3rd party drivers. No programs. No updates. I also have another image file just after basic driver install like chipset and video and anti-virus. Yet another image after all windows updates, and another image after core programs are installed. The last image I keep is with data also on the drives. All of this is on a USB HDD, which is also backed up to a second USB HDD.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:04 AM   #4
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@MPR So do you need the Windows OS disks, flashdrive, etc. to do your clean install?

No problems here just foreseeing and planning ahead.

@BowHunter41 Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:07 AM   #5
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Additional Question: What is it again called where you go back to a prior time of your PC? I am having a moment right now and can't remember. UGH! LOL
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:13 AM   #6
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It's called "System Restore".....that is if it's turned on and you have restore points created.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:48 AM   #7
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Ah! Thats right!
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Old 04-20-2015, 04:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbtech007 View Post
@MPR So do you need the Windows OS disks, flashdrive, etc. to do your clean install?
If you don't have the operating system on separate media, how are you going to boot the system after you format your primary drive?

If your computer is an OEM (HP, Compaq, Dell, etc.) it will have a recovery partition, which shouldn't be wiped. Also, it will have the option to create a recovery disk and/or a complete set of restoration disks -- look in the documentation. With these computers it's best to follow the manufacturer's guidelines when doing a restore.

If you built the system yourself and did an initial clean install of Windows on a new drive then you can restore it in any way you see fit. You still will need a drive with the operating system on it though. If you have a retail version, you can download a disk image of Widows 8.x using your product key.

Upgrade Windows with only a product key - Windows Help
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