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How often do you reformat / reinstall.


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I used to reformat and reinstall windows every 6 months or so, as I found this kept the system running faster. My current setup is almost one year old, but with the number of apps I have on my workstation it would mean about a days worth of reinstallations before I’m ready to work again. Any good alternatives to the reformat practice?

Edited by Tripredacus
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Put me in the "never" category.

Which is not entirely true. On my first ever computer I had to do a format and reinstall because I deleted some partitions and then the OS wouldn't boot. And I've done repair installs on XP due to changing motherboards. But in general I've never understood the "practice" and I know many people who swear by it.

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i use portable apps so the registry doesn't have many changes or new regs added

so it keep the OS fit

i install new os when something is broken ,once or twice a year

depend when im feeling testing new stuff that might break the os or make it slow

Edited by aviv00
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Only times I reinstalled were because hardware issues (Bad hdd as example) or because swappaed hardware and os refused play nicely on new. I used to require reinstall Windows multiplem times long ago due my limited security knowledge back and day and ended up getting all kind of nasty stuff like viruses, worms adwares (because free stuff sounded too good as kid :ph34r:) before learnt more about security and stopped my download habits:lol:. Since it never had to reinstall or got serious virus attack.


On other hand I need work with peoples who uses Windows 10 and need work with Windows 10 at work and it feels break after every major update. Hardware accerlation causing system crash on intel hd 4000 series chipset after update, start menu breaking, sound driver failing, network failing, system bootlooping and list goes on...this brings bad memories from Windows 98FE on 15gb quantum fireball LCT hdd. Windows 98FE on it kept hosing every week and really expected not to have same issue today, even less since OS updates hoses all up:no:

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I reinstall about every 6 months.

But nothing to do with Windows.

My x64 slipstreamed installation disk is dated 2017 and my x86 slipstreamed installation disk is dated 2018.

I've yet to encounter any reason to update Windows (XP).

But I have a "disk 2" of automated and fully unattended application installations that all run with no user-interaction for about an hour after Windows is installed.

So I install about once every 6 months because of updating "disk 2" of my Windows XP installs.

It's always been fun to show people that "disk 2" doing its thing, mouse moving around, windows opening and closing, keyboard typing directory locations, EVERY aspect of setup completely automated without touching the mouse or the keyboard.


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  • 1 month later...

Mostly when I build a new PC or do a major upgrade, or when there's an all new Windows version. I have in the past migrated a Windows install to completely different computers but that pretty much ended with XP.

In the 1990's I migrated a Windows 95a install to five completely different PCs. I'd have all the drivers for the new (or new to me) hardware, then in Device Manager I'd uninstall everything it would allow, then shut down. Move the hard drive to the new computer and boot up. Then install the new drivers and it was good to go. It was also far far easier to migrate 9x to a new hard drive. Basically it involved moving the swap file to the root then copying and pasting all the drive contents except for the swap file and a couple of others in the drive root. Swap the new drive in place of the old, boot up and all would work.

But that 95a transplant series came to a halt when by crazy coincidence it got one character corrupted in the Registry that caused the weirdest behavior I have ever seen in any version of Windows. In Explorer I could single left click on three folders or files, one after another and it would crash Explorer. This was made especially annoying because the corruption somehow happened the instant I changed the default Critical Stop error sound to a breaking glass effect. No Registry tools I tried could fix the error. Regedit would not allow the corrupted entry to be deleted. Doing the command prompt Registry export and re-import to purge unused information would fail. I even reinstalled Windows over itself, which in 95 would bulldoze over many problems by replacing them with the default files, leaving most installed software working. But not that one, the corrupted entry happened to be one that an install over itself didn't over write. (Doing this with Win98 was mostly futile because it preserved much more than 95 when installing over itself.)

So I found a 3rd party file manager that allowed for copying off all the files I didn't want to lose so I could do a clean install.

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I never reinstall, and accumulate many helper utilities and registry tweaks when I discover them. Most 3rd party software require tweaking, such as web browsers, where most settings are heavily obfuscated. I feel quite uncomfortable on a fresh, naked installation of Windows. The system disk and registry do get slower over time, but can be defragmented by copying over to a new disk or files. To reduce fragmentation, I move temp, browser caches and swap to a separate partition. Programs and System should separate. This allows to wipe the system, but keep programs.

I avoid installing large programs that write to the registry, except for ones that I don't have an alternative for. If I see Windows Installer or .Net Framework, I steer clear of those. No updates, except when they extend functionality.

The last time I reinstalled, I copied most off %appdata% and most of registry Software branch for both machine and user, except Microsoft values, to the new OS, and all file associations from the registry HKCR. This preserved most settings, and reduced the stress of the transition. Even if some big programs needed to be refreshed by reinstalling, their settings generally carried over.

This is for old Windows though. WinNT 10 makes this approach difficult.

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I usually wind up having reinstall about every 6 months - we'll - I more like recover my PC form Acronis Image software backups. I like to sometimes tweak and super tweak to see what I can get away with without breaking it. Usually, I do 'break it' Lol :)

Lately, I've been leaving it alone as I have other pressing issues to deal with.

Yeah, I don't know about windows 10, likely not that easy to do.

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On 5/13/2021 at 2:12 PM, MaxwellMiky said:

I used to reformat and reinstall windows every 6 months or so, as I found this kept the system running faster. My current setup is almost one year old, but with the number of apps I have on my workstation it would mean about a days worth of reinstallations before I’m ready to work again. Any good alternatives to the reformat practice? https://9apps.ooo/

Why don't you do you install with everything and make a clone?..That way you don't have to reinstall everything every time....



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  • 4 weeks later...

I have yet to reinstall Win10. I don't think I've ever seen the slowdowns people talk about. The only reasons I've ever had to get a new installation is because I drop the computer and break the screen. I still keep them as backups.

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  • 2 weeks later...

very rarely. since switching all my apps (well all the non critical ones) to portables, reinstalls are done only when something real bad happens. in-place upgrade usually does the trick instead of clean install if needed.

only things not portable on my install;

drivers (obviously)

support stuff like visual c++ redists


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On 5/13/2021 at 12:12 PM, MaxwellMiky said:

Any good alternatives to the reformat practice?

Images. I format, install windows, tweak windows (create a simple image here), make sure all drivers working properly, install all software that has a small chance of being updated, and create an image (second image) from bootable media (personal preference is older acronis).

Takes like 2-6 hours the first time but after that it takes me about 5 minutes to load up 3 OS's and dozens of programs. If the installed programs get long in the tooth i revert back to my simple image without software and start a new image version.

I have one image that contains 3 systems. If one OS has a problem its easy enough to replace only that one and the other two have no downtime. Fairly random when i load images. I do it when i start to notice performance issues.

I keep a list of software in the images next to them. I also like to keep a text file where i write down everything wrong with the current image. Wrong windows setting for folder view? Need to swap some program to a different version? Write it down and correct it the next time i have to load that image, make my corrections and resave a new image after.


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