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3 Mistakes to Avoid

Reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling Windows is a major undertaking that can take many hours. For those who haven't done this before, there are many things that can go wrong unless you take the necessary steps to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. Newbies often make some significant mistakes when reinstalling Windows for the first time. This can lend to a failed installation. There are often minor problems which can be resolved once Windows is up and running again, but a lot of these can easily be avoided with some sensible preparation.

1 - Not Doing a Clean Install
It is tempting for many newbies to install Windows over an existing copy without doing a clean install. Unfortunately, this rarely saves time and can create a myriad of problems. You will likely be reinstalling Windows either to upgrade your computer or to fix a major system failure.
If you are upgrading without a clean install, many old files and settings will be left behind. All of this data will use up a great deal of disk space and some of it is bound to conflict with the new operating system. Upgrading without a clean install may preserve your existing files and programs, but it will also slow your system down and can make it highly unreliable.
If you are reinstalling Windows to overcome a serious system failure, doing so without performing a clean installation will likely be completely pointless. If, for example, your computer is infected with a virus, you may need to reinstall Windows to be completely rid of it. Reformatting the hard drive with a clean install will completely remove any malicious software along with anything else. Simply installing Windows over your existing copy is unlikely to do anything to fix the problem.
Always perform a complete, clean reinstall starting off with formatting the hard disk. Make sure that you have backed up all the data that you want to salvage first.

2 - Not Installing Windows on the Fastest Hard Disk
For a computer that runs efficiently, you should have Windows installed on the best hard disk in your computer. It should also be installed on the primary partition with the drive letter 'C:'. Many newbies make the mistake of installing Windows on the smallest partition or hard drive. Windows should ideally be installed on the same partition where you install any games and programs. Having a partition dedicated solely to running Windows does not provide any performance advantages. Make sure that the partition you install it onto has plenty of space for all of the programs you plan to install. Separate partitions are best used for multimedia, backup or personal files. A primary partition should never be more than 90% full as well, since space should be left over for the virtual memory page file.

3 - Not Having the Latest Service Pack
Microsoft periodically supplies service packs for their operating systems. Windows Vista is at Service Pack 2 and Windows XP is at Service Pack 3 while the first service pack for Windows 7 will be released in 2011. These service packs are collections of bug fixes plus all of the updates that were released previously. Some service packs also contain entirely new features. You should always have the latest service pack installed on your computer.
Downloading the service pack before reinstalling Windows is a good idea, but to make your reinstallation go particularly smoothly, integrating the service pack into the original Windows installation files is even better. For this, you will need to have your original Windows install disc, a blank disc and the service pack. There are various guides on integrating service packs into Windows setup files on the Internet.


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