[NTO]Reformat C:\ drive
- Hi Jody, (was:[NTB]Problems with NTP:long loading time)
>Last night I reformatted my C:\ drive which I do a few times a yearMy hard drive is divided into C: and D: and I have wanted to reformat my C:
>anyway and the problem cleared. ;) I know those are rather drastic
drive for quite some time; however, it would be my first attempt and have
been procrastinating (anticipating many unexpected surprises of things I
will no doubt overlook). When I saw your post I wondered if I could ask you
your overall strategy and approach knowing you will be doing this "a few
times a year". Can you pass along any tips and tricks for the beginner? Like
how do you organize your hard drive, do you have more than two partitions?
How long does it take you approximately to format and then re-install
applications and your customized settings?
- Hi Bill,
Sorry, for the late reply - here is my three cents worth - the
extra penny is for the length of it. :)
> My hard drive is divided into C: and D: and I have wanted toEmmett gave you some good tips, I will give you some info, and
> reformat my C: drive for quite some time; however, it would be
> my first attempt and have been procrastinating (anticipating
> many unexpected surprises of things I will no doubt overlook).
hopefully some others will to. There are some "dinosaurs" on the
list that were computing before Window's was made.
Only the programs that use files on C:\ drive and/or the registry
will not work if you decide to leave some of your programs
installed. I have more utilities, etc. that are all self
contained than I do that uses the system folder and registry. It
is a personal preference call on how much you actually want to
delete which will be done in the formatting or partitioning. If
you have programs on D:\ drive and don't know if they use the
registry or system folder you can leave them and you will find
out when you try to start them up. <g> I normally keep all my
utilities and small apps that I know are all self contained in
their on directory and are running well. If you have any of
those on C:\ drive you could consider drag/dropping them to D:\.
It really depends on the mood I am in and what the condition of
my machine is on what all I keep. Certainly deleting all (done in
the format) is the best route if you are having problems or just
want to make sure you are clean. I like to make these things as
painless as possible. As Emmett mention, you are looking at a
number of reboots, however, after first installing you will be
amazed at how fast Windows opens and closes before you start
adding all the junk on.
You mentioned how many drives should you have partitioned. I
guess that is personally preference as well to some degree. I
would have at least three, but have seven not counting A, J, and
K. I have that amount so I can better organize and find things
easily. For instance, I have all my utility type apps on one,
about 10 web sites I do on another, one is to store all my back
up zipped and install programs... I use D:\ drive to keep all my
big programs. The only thing I have on C:\ is Windows and the
root stuff. I believe you will find the more you can keep off of
C:\ the better performance you will have. You need to have at
least 200MB free on it. I have a whole GB just sitting there. <g>
You can partition using the DOS fdisk command, but only having
two drives now you will need to do all this in sections. I know
my Western Digital floppy does it real easy, but PQMagic IS the
program and you would not have to do any file shifting! ;)
Say you decide to go ahead and delete all your programs. If you
have been keep a folder with all your (or a lot) of install and
zip programs it makes things much easier. You would put them all
on D:\ along with anything else you can think to back up. You
are bound to miss some things the first few times. :) You can do
a few searches in NoteTab using Search Disk to get all your ini
files opened and then Save As the same, but D:\ drive. If you
only change the drive letter, then drag/drop can be used to put
them back where they belong. You will find the files in their
main folder or in C:\Windows for the most part. *Write* your
dialup number, primary/secondary DNS numbers down in case your
backup does not work. I also have them in a text file to copy as
well. You can drag/drop your DUN to D:\ -it is a text based file
and you can read it in NoteTab if you want. Make sure you have
all your passwords that I know you already have backed up <g>
*backed up* I have two or three floppies laying around for them
and that many or more with a few years of my Clipbook Libraries
on it - some things are even backed up on the web. ;) You will
want to backup all your eMail boxes and ini file if there as
well. Taking the time to get all those little files can save you
a lot of time and head aches after reinstalling everything.
Speaking of "everything," don't make the same mistake as me in
the past and just start installing everything just because you
had it there before. The smaller self contained utilities are no
problem even if only used once a year. <g> However, why install
some bloat program that makes 131 entries in the registry and
puts 53 .dlls in System that you only use once a year? Install
those programs on demand and uninstall when you are done with it.
Just keep it on your back up drive. Of course you have to have
the room for all of it. ;) Remember to try to keep your C:\
drive as clear of programs as you can and I think you will notice
a considerable difference - that is what I have found to be the
case. You will want to download a copy of COA if you do not have
it if you want to move your Program Files folder off of C:\.
You can find it on the PCMag section of http://www.zdnet.net
As mentioned it depends on your computer and OS on the actual
method used to reformat. Without knowing what you have as far as
a drive and motherboard goes I cannot tell you exactly what to do
- don't know if I could if you told me. <g> You will need to
have or make at least once of the following though: DOS bootup
disk, Windows Startup disk, hard drive disk that has the format,
partitions etc. on it, or some other DOS utility that has the
same. You can make one as well, but it is basically the same as
making a Windows Startup disk. Personally, I think a DOS bootup
disk is a real pain to use if you are going to partition. My
Western disk was real easy and so is PQMagic. I have other
utility disk that work real easy too. If you have to use a
regular DOS, I would study up on fdisk (if you are going to
partition) and format. Format is a tough one. <g>
format [drive letter:]
If you partition, fdisk will format sure enough!-) To get help
on it at the DOS prompt (Windows shell is fine) type in fdisk /?
I have a Clip that will bring the info up in an info box that I
will add at the bottom of this for you. You might want to Copy
All from the Info box in NoteTab and print it out if that is the
method you are going to use. If you make a Win98 startup disk it
has a CD driver on it, fdisk, help, format and a few others as well.
So, if you want to make more partitions it, again depends on your
drive on what you need to do. If C:\ is not big enough to cut
down, you will need to install Windows first, then drag/drop all
your back up over to C:\, partition D:\, and then drag it back.
If D:\ is already the size you want and you have a large C:\ you
want to break up, you won't have to format first, because it is
part of the partitioning process. I normally format first anyway
You can go into CMOS when you first turn on your computer by
pressing the DEL key on most of them and in the main CMOS setup
you will see an entry for what drive to boot up on. On the newer
motherboards you can boot from CD ROM. If that is the case on
your system, then it is a breeze to reinstall Windows. You can
check it out at anytime on startup to see if you have that setup.
If not, you will need to make sure you have your CD drivers ready
to install so you can install from the CD like Emmett mentioned.
You can make a practice run on it if you want right before you
get ready to reformat to make sure you know how to do it. You
should be able to even practice fdisk on a floppy and make a few
partitions on it. Just make sure you are alert and don't tell it
to do C:\ and answer "y" to the question. ;)
I know it is a bit scary the first time you do this, but what is
the worst that can happen? You can't figure it ut so you have to
drag your box down to the computer store. the tech hooks it up
there at the counter, types in a few simple things and tells you
to go home and load a floppy and plug in the CD -- after charging
you $10-25 or free if they are nice guys/gals. ;)
If you have a friend around town that knows how to do it you
might do it on a night that he will be home so you can call if
you run into problems.
The reason why you will need to reboot a number of times not
counting Windows when it sets up all your hardware is, because
when you start installing programs that write to the registry or
install in to System. I would reboot after every major install
myself unless you know for sure the program is self contained.
Some installations are not completed until after reboot even if
they don't tell you too.
You asked about the time it takes to do this. I can reformat and
be back online answering eMail in less than an hour now if I am
only doing C:\ drive, but I have my system down already that I
use. It depends on your machine and what all you are going to be
doing and how much you need to scratch your head, or how many
times you have to slap yourself and say, "You Dummie!!!" :)
Let us know the size of your drive, what you have to
format/partition with, what flavor of Windows and if you can boot
up on a CD and perhaps we can give you more exact information.
On a side note: Dennis Cummins uses InControl4 to tracked
everything he installs and then moves the dlls out of system into
the programs on folder, runs COA, and then a reg cleaner behind
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