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How to Tell When It’s Time to Reformat and Start Fresh

Discussion in 'Tech Tutorials and News' started by Valerie Johnston, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. Valerie Johnston

    Valerie Johnston Techie7 New Member Techie7 Editor

    At this point, it’s safe to say that Microsoft has gotten building operating systems down to a science. Windows 7 and Windows 8 are both excellent quality operating systems that tend to be stable, reliable and really quite fast, given the amount of features that they have on them.

    That said, there are times when you just have to reformat your drive and start over with a freshly loaded operating system. For some people, the perceived difficulty of reformatting makes them think that it would be better to put up with whatever difficulties they are suffering with. Here are some instances when you really may do better just to reformat your drive and start over.


    Virus and Malware Nightmares

    Viruses and malware can render your computer next to useless. In some cases, it may be impossible to get on the Internet, open certain types of files or do anything else productive due to the virus or other malicious program. In other cases, whatever virus you got may actually download other viruses and malicious software onto your computer, compounding the problem and possibly leading to extremely dangerous security situations, such as having personal information harvested directly off of your machine.

    If your virus or malware problem has gone too far, it may be time to reformat. There are cases where people’s computers are so horribly infected that it could take a tech hours to fix it. Most of the time, you’ll be able to reformat and reload your operating system in two hours at most, assuming you have a modern PC that is acceptably fast.

    If the cost of getting a virus removed is estimated in the hundreds of dollars by a tech, you really may do better to just call it a loss and reformat your machine.

    Issues that Get Worse with Time

    Computers are incredibly complex devices. Troubleshooting a computer is somewhere between an art and a science. Sometimes, it can be extremely difficult to troubleshoot a computer when it has been in use for a very long time, had hardware added and removed from it, software added and removed from it and so forth. In such cases, it may be better just to start over.

    When a tech cannot figure out exactly what’s wrong with your computer and when attempt after attempt fails to repair it, reformatting can sometimes fix the issue and let you get on with your life and start using your computer again.

    Driver issues, software issues, corrupted system files and other problems can all make using your computer a completely miserable experience. Consider the idea of loading everything fresh and just being done with the problem.

    Last Resorts

    Computer techs sometimes catch a bit of heat from their clients when the tech cannot fix a problem after several attempts. Before you get too mad at your computer tech, realize that there are cases where a computer has so many problems that they may fix one of them, only to have another one pop up almost immediately. It very much is like a game of whack a mole with a sick computer.

    Techs may recommend reformatting as a last resort. Sometimes, if you feel like you’ve already spent too much money trying to get a computer fixed and you know that everything on it can be replaced or, at least, saved to an external drive before you do reformat it, it’s better just to tell the tech to go ahead and go for the last resort. In some cases, it may actually save you a lot of money compared to having a tech try to track down problem after problem.

    It’s Not Failure

    Reformatting your computer doesn’t mean that the entire thing has failed or that none of the techs in your local area are competent. Sometimes, it just so happens that these complicated devices breakdown in rather complex ways and it’s not really worth it to try to fix them step by step. Reloading your operating system often results in a computer that works better, faster and that helps you to avoid spending a lot of money having somebody fix a problem that’s only going to come back again and again.