My laptop has been giving me increasing problems over the last few months and I have been putting off the inevitable need for a rebuild. Today, however, the final straw arrived in the form of a very untimely "Blue Screen of Death" so I decided to rebuild from scratch.
Before blatting the laptop I took a good look at what I already had installed and came to the conclusion that I had an amazing amount of stuff that I used on a regular basis that would need to be reinstalled. I was equally amazed at the even greater amount of stuff that I had installed over the last couple of years that was was never used. I am hoping that it is things in the latter category that led to the lack of performance and other assorted problems.
While it has been a while since I have done it I have installed XP on numerous occasions and so am quite familiar with the process. It’s not that quick but it is relatively straight forward and armed with the original Dell driver CD after a couple of hours I did have a basic operating system installed along with Office.
Next, I went to Add/Remove Programs and removed from the systems all those system programs that I knew I would never need – such as Outlook Express. I was intrigued to see that Internet Explorer was offered as an uninstallable option. Surprised because I thought that the operating system relied on it. Anyway, I unticked it clicked ok. After a few minutes the IE icon disappeared from the quick launch bar… Then I realised that without a browser I was going to find it difficult to download Firefox. So this was a bit of a dilemma, did I reinstall IE or transfer the Firefox installer from another PC. In the end I went to Start|Run and typed "http://www.mozilla.com" and, of course, up popped IE… So the uninstall option obviously just removes the icon. Oh well, I tried.
Finally for this evening I went through the Windows update process. This took longer than the original install to collect all the updates since my XP SP2 CD was burnt. So I now have a bare machine that is beginning to look like being serviceable.
So far, so good. However, it is the next stage that takes the most time and needs the most planning – reinstalling all my must-have applications, restoring all my files and applying my personalisation. Then there is the small matter of rejoining the machine to the domain and synchronising Outlook with Exchange. By Monday morning I should be back up and running with something that is more stable than the dog I carried around with me previously.
All of this has been time consuming but it has taught me three things:
- Windows is easier to install and setup than Linux
- Don’t use your day-to-day machine for cutting edge stuff
- Expect to rebuild your machine on a regular basis if you ignore point 2