At some time or another, the computer needs to be reformatted. It may be due to a virus/malware attack which you cannot get rid of. The computer may have become too slow, or there are inexplicable error messages. When you format the computer and do a fresh installation of Windows, you will find the computer is running as fast as when it had first come.
Obviously, you don’t want to lose your data, be it work or entertainment. So how do you go about reformatting the computer without losing important data? There are two basic ways to do this.
Using a back-up storage device
Nowadays, external hard drives are very reasonably priced. And they are available in large capacities including terabytes. These are great for transferring everything from you computer into the back-up storage device. Alternatively, you can use high capacity DVD drives or pen drives.
There is only one problem here and that is if the data or other files have any viruses, these may well get transferred to your computer even after it is formatted. So you need to run a full scan on your transferred data drive before putting the data back on your main computer. After that, you format the drive/s, partition then if required and reinstall your operating system.
Using Windows repair system
New versions of Windows come with a repair option, which means that you actually don’t need to format the computer. This will also get rid of system and other errors and speed up your computer.
For this you need the Windows installation CD. When your computer is on, insert the CD and restart the computer. On restarting, the setup CD will show up and you will be prompted to run the setup. You will then see a screen where you have the option of ‘setup Windows now’ ‘repair using Recovery Console’ and ‘quit’. Here you have to be careful and press the ‘setup Windows now option’.
The second screen will then give you a full repair option or a fresh installation option. Here you should select the repair option. Then you follow the instructions and you will have a computer where the operating system is fixed, minus all the errors and without any data loss either.
Just keep in mind that for either of the options, you do need to have a few hours at your disposal. The first option will take longer than the second one, though this does depend on the amount of data which you have to transfer and the speed of your system. Confused? Need a registry cleaner? Check out some options here.