First, locate the Windows CD that shipped with your PC, along with
the CDs for your application software. If you downloaded your
antivirus, firewall, or other programs, copy those downloads to a CD or
to some other type of removable media. (If your system didn't ship with
a Windows CD, your reinstallation files are situated on your hard
drive; I'll describe how to access them in just a minute.) Also, dig up
the instructions that your ISP sent you for configuring your network
settings, and keep them close at hand.
Copy the contents of
your 'C:\Documents and Settings' folder (or whichever folder you store
your personal files on) to a CD or other removable medium. Then grab
any other critical data and back it up. It helps to collect the
installers for the latest drivers for your PC's graphics card and other
Ready to ReinstallNow
insert the Windows CD that came with your PC, and reboot your system.
If you didn't receive a Windows disc with your machine, the files you
need are sitting in a hidden partition on your hard drive. To access
them, press the keys indicated on your screen when you reboot, but
before Windows loads. The keys differ from vendor to vendor, so contact
your PC's manufacturer if you don't see the prompt.
instances, the only available option is 'Return the drive to its
factory condition', which destroys all documents, photos, and other
data files on your PC. That's why you made a copy of your data folders.
get more options--including the ability to preserve your files and
settings--when you use Microsoft's own Windows XP installation disc.
Make your selection, and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the
of which option you choose, you'll have to reconfigure your network
connections, reinstall some of your device drivers, and update XP and
your applications manually.
To configure your Internet connection, right-click My Network Places
, click Create a new connection
, and follow the prompts, entering the appropriate information you received from your ISP.
Once you've re-established your Internet link, you must reinstall and update your firewall, antivirus, and antispyware programs.
Next, check to see which of your device drivers need updates: Rght-click My Computer
and select Properties
, Device Manager
Look for entries with yellow question marks or red exclamation points.
A question mark indicates that Windows is using a generic driver for
that device instead of one specifically designed for it; an exclamation
point means that the device is not working.
The drivers for
graphics boards, sound cards, and printers are most likely to need an
update. If you haven't already done so, visit the vendors' Web sites to
download updated drivers to your PC. Run the installer for each updated
driver, allowing XP to reboot when needed, or right-click the entry in
Device Manager, choose Update Driver
, and step through the wizard, selecting No, not this time
to the Windows Update question, and choosing the specified location
option when it appears. When you can navigate to the driver file,
select it and click OK to install it. When you finish updating your
drivers, close all open windows.
Updates GaloreYour next stop is Microsoft's Windows Update site. Click Start
, Windows Update
and follow the prompts. Since you'll probably be downloading many
megabytes of updates, you might want to find yourself a good book or
seek some other diversion while you wait.
When the downloading is
complete, you'll be ready to reinstall and update your applications.
Don't forget to update your critical apps as well. Microsoft Office, in
particular has some important updates. Download them at the Microsoft Office Online Downloads
you've restored your applications, begin replacing your data. The first
priorities are the My Documents and Application Data folders, which
you'll find in the folder with your logon name inside 'C:\Documents and
Settings'. To bring back your Internet Explorer favorites, restore the
contents of the Favorites folder. Also restore the Shared Data and
Application Data folders inside 'C:\Documents and Settings\Shared
Documents'. Once you've reintroduced all of your data, your Windows
refresh will be complete.
Hope this helps - good luck!