Reader Cathy Fitzgerald is getting ready for the big cleanup — reinstalling Windows and all her software:
Can you give me any tips on what I need to know before stripping down my computer to reinstall everything? I purchased a Western Digital portable hard drive, and have saved everything (hopefully) to it. Is there anything else I should be doing?
It’s really hard to try to come up with an exhaustive list, since I have no real idea of what’s on her system (and, no, this isn’t an invitation to tell me about it, because I still wouldn’t know enough). The best I can do is some tips.
Tips for before you start:
Be sure to make backups of your emails (search my site for
back up outlook express emails
backup outlook express address book
and the corresponding “restore” items.
- Make sure you have your Windows XP or Windows Vista CD/DVD so you can reinstall.
- Make sure you have the SATA drivers on CD for your motherboard, if you have a SATA drive, especially if you use Windows XP (which you must, since you’re using Outlook Express)
- Make sure you have the driver CD for any other special hardware and other drivers for your motherboard (for audio, networking, etc).
Then, check out my Reinstalling Windows XP article on the order of major steps for the installation of Windows XP, your firewall, antivirus, antispyware and Windows Updates. In concept, these would apply equally to Windows Vista, although some specific locations may be different.
Once you’ve done the steps, it’s time to start thinking about other software — but not before that point. The person was asking about some specific software, but it should be easy to "translate it" to your own security software.