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Checklist for Reinstalling Windows

To make sure that the major process of reinstalling Windows Vista or Windows 7 goes as smoothly as possible, it is wise to make some important preparations first. Reinstalling Windows followed by all of your drivers and programs can take an entire day. The following provides a checklist for you to refer to in preparation for reformatting your computer.

1 - Back Up Your Files
Reinstalling Windows means reformatting your machine and losing all of the data on the hard disks. Be sure to have everything that you want to salvage backed up. You can either use a spare hard disk, DVDs, CDs or flash media. Don't forget to back up things such as your Internet bookmarks and email contacts as well (if using an email client).

2 - Ensure that Your Hard Disk is in Perfect Condition
Before installing Windows, it is a good idea to run a complete scan of the hard disk. This may take a few hours, but it will also inform you of any bad sectors on the disk. If there are bad sectors which cannot be recovered, it is time to get a new hard disk rather than reinstalling Windows on one which is dying. Be sure to check all partitions on that disk (if there is more than one). Use your fastest and largest hard disk for installing Windows and your programs on.

3 - Download and Prepare Your Drivers
Downloading the latest versions of all of the drivers you need for your computer will make things a lot easier. Make an inventory of all of the hardware in your computer and download the drivers for them as required. Many components such as hard disks, DVD drives and processors don't need any drivers. Other things such as network adapters and input devices are often natively supported by Windows' own drivers.

4 - Download and Prepare Your Applications
Make an inventory of all of the software that you have on your computer, including minor programs such as compression utilities, Internet software and productivity applications. Download the latest versions of such programs and download patches and updates for all of your other applications and games. Store these safely with your backup.

5 - Ensure Your Windows Vista/7 DVD Works
If you have a genuine, original copy of Windows which has been well looked after, there is no reason why it shouldn't work. However, if you have made a customized installer from your disk, you should be sure to test it first. The best way to do this is to run Windows Setup in a virtual machine.

6 - Ensure that Your Hardware and Software is Compatible
If you are upgrading from Windows XP to either Windows Vista or Windows 7, ensure that every program and hardware component that you want to use is compatible. Most things will be, though there can be some minor complications when upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit. When upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7 using the same architecture, this is not really an issue. Both operating systems are extremely similar.


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