Hi Jody and All,
For those of you who have been discussing reinstalling Windows 95/98 on a
recurring basis to get rid of excess garbage or other undiagnosed
performance problems, you might want to consider Winimage ($30.00) or
Winimage Professional ($60.00). My brother introduced me to Winimage when
he set up my new computer in March.
You can go to their website at:
Winimage is a program that produces a compressed snapshot of the drive of
your choice and also gets the MBR (Master Boot Record) as well. You can
totally restore a floppy, hard drive, or drive partition from the image.
When my brother set up my system, he made three CD-ROMS for me to restore
my system. First he installed Windows 98 SE and two or three of my
favorite utilities including NoteTab. Then he burned a CD-ROM. Then he
installed the dial up service and Eudora and Netscape for me and checked
them out to see that they worked. Then he burned the second CD-ROM.
Finally, he installed MS Office 2000 and burned the third CD-ROM. That one
just barely fit on the CD-ROM.
He demonstrated for me that he could format the drive so that there was
nothing to bootup. Then he used the CD-ROM to restore the last setup. It
took less than seven minutes from the time he started running it until it
finished. Then he rebooted and everything came up as it should.
If you are constantly cleaning your drive or drives by reinstalling
Windows, then this seems to be a preferred way of doing it. It surely is
faster than a normal install. You will have to do the first install
normally and then make the image file as my brother did but after that you
can use it to restore rather than having to do the regular install. This
image file is only good for the computer it is made for unless you have
another computer that is set up and configured exactly like it including
all peripherals and port configurations. Otherwise, it will just crash
another machine. So you have to do a separate image for each different
machine you have as well as for different OSes.
The image is compressed and self-extracting and it will clear out or
destroy any information on the drive or partition that you send it to so
you do not have to format the drive before using it unless you have special
drive problems to check or a virus.
Because space is limited on a CD-ROM, you need to limit your image file to
an initial installation and a few limited programs as I did above. When
you restore your system, you will need backup files for all of your data
(preferably on a backup hard drive as Jim suggested) and program files so
that you can reinstall them. Reinstalling all of the programs and data
that you do not have room for on the CD-ROM will be the slow part of the
restore operation. If you have your backup files on another hard drive,
that should speed up the operation considerably.