I tend to find that every year or so, my computer just gets so bogged down I need to wipe it down and start again.
I have done this a bunch of times before with different computers and it usually goes fine apart from two things: 1. I never get all my Outlook info back (email, contacts, calendar, etc) and there are always a few custom features that don’t quite work on the computer the way they should.
What finally made me take the plunge this time was trying to renew/upgrade my anti-virus software. It basically wouldn’t and when the tech at Symantec started to give me instructions on altering my registry I knew it was time to run for the hills.
I downloaded Microsoft’s OneCare Live. it’s a free beta version of their anti-virus/back-up/clean-up utility. It backed up my system really easily and after formatting my hard drive and reinstalling Windows, it brought everything back including all my Outlook data! – nice work Microsoft!
Then I was faced with a computer that was recognizing very little of what was going on inside (network card, wireless, etc, etc). Thanks to a USB connection to my modem I got to the Dell support site where I found a lovely list of drivers for my machine which installed quickly and easily.
The end result is that my computer is now booting up and running as quickly as it ever has (if not quicker) and Justin is a very happy camper.