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Old 04-22-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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reformatting a computer

my dad's desktop needs reformatted... pretty badly. It's gotten to the point I guess where it'll stay 'active' for maybe 2 or 3 minutes, and then just freezes up. I didn't know he was even having problems. I guess he has quite a few virus blocking programs on it, a bunch of spyware systems, the works... I told him not to do that, and that I could set him up with a program or two that'll take the place of all those, but he didn't listen.

So anyway, now I need to reformat his computer... what all do I need, and how do I get 'er done?
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: reformatting a computer

It depends. Some computers have a restore sector on the hard drive and you don't need anything else to do it. You just push a button (F-something depending on the the computer) at the start-up screen.

Others require a CD (or floppy disk in the good 'ol days) that you just put in and then reboot with said disk in the drive.

There are other ways, but one of these will be the easiest.
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Old 04-22-2006, 12:36 PM   #3
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Re: reformatting a computer

If you've got an XP disk, just throw it in the drive and reboot the machine. Hopefully you've got the CD-ROM set higher in the boot order in the hard disk and it'll boot to the CD. Then the install process will begin. If it never boots to the disk, you'll have to get into the BIOS and fix your boot order. Shouldn't be too hard.
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:43 PM   #4
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Re: reformatting a computer

I personally like to do the following

1. Remove all the data or documents to be restored later. You can usually login as administrator and copy your fathers user profile.

2. I like to run wipe drive. DOD standard. It basically wipe the drives sectors, etc with 1's, 0's, basically like new (Somewhat)

3. Use the XP Disc, and boot up to it. Make sure you have the most critical information first though, The NIC Cards drivers. That way after you install the new OS, you can then tackle the new device found. With the NIC drivers, you'll be able to get online and search for all the other drivers that you will be needing, PC Bridge, video, multimedia card, etc.

4. The apply service pack 2, and go to the Automatic updates and update the OS for all patches.

5. Next install virus protection, and all applications.

You would think I have done this before!!!!!
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: reformatting a computer

Wipe drive is overkill. Unless you're selling the machine.
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:57 PM   #6
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Re: reformatting a computer

I think he means it's a dept of defense computer thing.
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Old 04-22-2006, 03:59 PM   #7
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Re: reformatting a computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteStang99
I think he means it's a dept of defense computer thing.

Exactly. I am just telling you what I prefer to do.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:44 AM   #8
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Re: reformatting a computer

it's a Dell, if that helps. I have to find the XP disc ... the computer is like 5 years old, so good luck finding that disc I guess. Anyway, I'll try to find it.
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:21 AM   #9
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Re: reformatting a computer

Overkill I don't think so !!! Listen to computer guy. Wipe it clean. When we get new equipment in my office first thing I do is wipe the drive to remove all the BS Dell installs
Check the cover on the PC, there may be a OS key there.not sure if they were doing that 5 years ago if it there you may be able to use another install disc
how would you rate your PC skills ?? I can send you info on how to alter the registry key to modify the key setting
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:28 AM   #10
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Re: reformatting a computer

I'm good with computers... just don't have any programming skills.. and never done anything like this
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:56 AM   #11
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Re: reformatting a computer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbstang
Overkill I don't think so !!! Listen to computer guy. Wipe it clean. When we get new equipment in my office first thing I do is wipe the drive to remove all the BS Dell installs
Just running Format is fine. It wipes everything, the bits might be recoverable, but the system doesn't know their there. If you're selling the machine, you'll wanna wipe it. That'll keep anyone from recovering your personal data.
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:02 AM   #12
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Re: reformatting a computer

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Originally Posted by jimmy_beaner
I'm good with computers... just don't have any programming skills.. and never done anything like this
There are no programming skills required for the operation you want to perform.

It just requires some understanding on how the OS acesses data. what data, etc.

Process goes something like this.

1. Ensure you have documented all device drivers and you might want to download those drivers and once you have all the drivers you need burn them to a CD. Most typical drivers you will need to note and download are, Video Drivers for the Video Card, Multimedia Controller, PCI Bus controller, Network Card drivers (Very Important), ETC.

More than likely, you can go to the dell site and plug in the Serial Number and then you can download the drivers there. The dell site will pretty much tell you what devices and drivers came with the computer.

2. Make a copy of all the profile in the Documents and Settings folders. Also take a good look see for any other folders out of the ordinary and if there is data in there make a copy as well. Not everyone save their data in the MyDocuments folders. I always create folders for stuff. After all the back up or copies have been made, VERIFY the data and see if you can see it. If you can see it on the CD, kewl. Nothing sucks worst than thinking the CD burned and when all is said and done, the CDs had errors.... OUCH

3. Make a note of all programs installed and make sure you have the original install discs and of course license keys.

4. Go to Erase Hard Drive: Wipe & Erase Hard Drive Data with WipeDrive. It cost 39 bucks but what the heck. I prefer to wipe the drive of all data. Sometimes when you format XP, you can still see data that was on the drive before. There are some tutorial on how a harddrive stores data and how partitions work. I prefer everything to be gone. No bleed through of data, no partitions. After you wipe the drive, it is just like new for the most part. OVERKILL, depends on the person. I know that I have been given harddrives that had been formatted, and I was able to recover documents etc using some of the computer forensic tools I have. On a personal note, I had a hard drive that was brought to me that had some important data that was not backed up, and they re-formatted and installed a new OS. I was able to save the day.

5. After all this has been done, now comes the part most people are dreading. The actual process of the death of the OS and machine itself. Sorta like Open heart surgery. They bring the patient to death. You have used the instruction in wipe drive.

6. After wipe drive, reboot the computer and make sure the bios setting for boot order are CD first. Make sure the original XP OS CD is in the CD tray.
After the boot, you will get a message please wait while windows XP examines your computer.

7. After examining the computer, you will have to creat a partition from an unpartitioned space, then go to format the new partition.

8. Then just follow all the instructions.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:27 PM   #13
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Re: reformatting a computer

I won't be able to save any of the info off the computer... as it freezes up after less than 1 minute of being restarted... which is why we're reformatting. I have to find the original disc
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Old 04-23-2006, 08:55 PM   #14
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Re: reformatting a computer

wipe drive is ok if you are bored and dont mind doing it, but its not needed unless you are giving the computer to someone and there is information stored on the hard drive (even if you have formatted over it) that you do not want to be obtainable. Basically you tell the computer what memory is on what sector and track and how much of it is allocated to what. By formatting you remove this so the memory can be overwritten, but the bit data is still there you simply need to access it and what not to get it back. At the back we have to wipe a drive before we can toss it. Its good practice but its not a have to if you are just using it for your own uses.
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