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Old 07-25-08, 12:58 PM   #1
Zan
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Need a computer geek!

Howdy!

Okay, so i'm here on my laptop. i've been running with this thing for a few years now and it has gotten slower and slower with age. physically things shouldn't change, but i find overtime that my machines get bogged down with all the crap that i load and unload + move around and whatnot.

yes, i defrag. no i have no viruses. no i have no adware or spy-ware. i am computer savvy. i am aware that there are progs out there that "clean" your computer, and there are manual approaches. i find that these methods for speeding up are not nearly as effective as just a fresh start; reformatting the drive.

my computer habits have changed over the past few years. i don't game anymore, and rarely install/uninstall programs. i just use this machine for the basics (music, communication, video, school, work).

I've loaded all the stuff i want to keep onto my external HD (nice new 500GB drive i bought ). i'm almost ready to reformat; just gotta let some torrents finish.

how do i go about reformatting a laptop HD, though? i want everything gone and to re-install all the software. i've done this numerous amounts of times on tower PCs, but never a laptop. with a tower you just swap HDs and reformat your primary drive (running off the second). i can't do that with my laptop, so what do i do?

thanks!
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Old 07-25-08, 01:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Zan View Post
Howdy!

Okay, so i'm here on my laptop. i've been running with this thing for a few years now and it has gotten slower and slower with age. physically things shouldn't change, but i find overtime that my machines get bogged down with all the crap that i load and unload + move around and whatnot.

yes, i defrag. no i have no viruses. no i have no adware or spy-ware. i am computer savvy. i am aware that there are progs out there that "clean" your computer, and there are manual approaches. i find that these methods for speeding up are not nearly as effective as just a fresh start; reformatting the drive.

my computer habits have changed over the past few years. i don't game anymore, and rarely install/uninstall programs. i just use this machine for the basics (music, communication, video, school, work).

I've loaded all the stuff i want to keep onto my external HD (nice new 500GB drive i bought ). i'm almost ready to reformat; just gotta let some torrents finish.

how do i go about reformatting a laptop HD, though? i want everything gone and to re-install all the software. i've done this numerous amounts of times on tower PCs, but never a laptop. with a tower you just swap HDs and reformat your primary drive (running off the second). i can't do that with my laptop, so what do i do?

thanks!
Put in the system disc (the original that came with it)
Then insert it, and reboot the computer. Afterwards, hit F8 repeatedly during bootup. A new menu will pop up, follow the prompts to reformat.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:08 PM   #3
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Also better if you use a retail install CD rather than the system-restore disc that came with the computer. This will only load Windows and nothing else. Instead of the huge collection of bundled crap that comes pre-installed on laptops.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:09 PM   #4
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When you install a new OS or reinstall you typically get an option to reformat your drive.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:34 PM   #5
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so if i put in my Windows XP disc and reboot, things should take care of itself (well, after i tell it to)?

do i need anything special considering it's a laptop? I mean... things like the touch pad and other laptop-specific properties will be there (battery power, etc)? or should i use the special restore disc that came with the machine?

having read what Danno said, i really don't want all the excess junk that loads up. i just want the basics.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:49 PM   #6
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so if i put in my Windows XP disc and reboot, things should take care of itself (well, after i tell it to)?

do i need anything special considering it's a laptop? I mean... things like the touch pad and other laptop-specific properties will be there (battery power, etc)? or should i use the special restore disc that came with the machine?

having read what Danno said, i really don't want all the excess junk that loads up. i just want the basics.
Is it a recovery disk or the OS itself? Either way it should work.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:10 PM   #7
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Just a thought, since you have things backed up, maybe you can run something like free CCleaner and see what happens. I haven't tried it but heard good results.

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Old 07-25-08, 02:12 PM   #8
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i have CCleaner. i found it frees up a lot of space, but my computer is still hella slow.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:12 PM   #9
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Speaking primarily from desktop experience, I've done next to no work with laptops.

But occasionally my OS recognized a given device, but it didn't have full functionality. For example, I could use the mouse, but not all of the buttons were recognized. So I just needed to install drivers for the hardware.

Given that XP is a decently modern OS, there will probably be no issue recognizing the touchpad or the battery power.
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Old 07-25-08, 03:05 PM   #10
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Here's your chance to do your computer a huge favor. Instead of windows put in some nice newb friendly version of Linux. You said you only use it for basic computing so I'm thinking you will find that Linux will inject some new life into your old machine.

Hit this link: http://distrowatch.com/ . Do some research. Just about all of these are free to download and burn to a cd. Comes with a full range of free programs that will do what Windows paid programs will do (except gaming though Wine is now 1.0 and handles a lot of Windows based games) from graphics and office apps, mail, video, music (mp3s to Ogg Vorbis) and even free GIS apps. Come back and ask if when you narrow it down a bit and ask for more opinions. They will wipe your drive on install or make a separate partition so your computer will do both Windows and Linux (not at same time). Some will even work right off the cd without touching your hard drive until you choose to install it.

Hey, someone had to be geeky enough to suggest Linux. Now that I opened that can of worms someone will say try Ubuntu. Ubuntu is cool. I learned Linux with Ubuntu after trying quite a few other distros, but Ubuntu isn't always the best for every setup. Occasionally Ubuntu's devs will break something to make another cool feature work. Usually the broken feature is something I need. That's why I went to Fedora from Ubuntu.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:47 PM   #11
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Hey, someone had to be geeky enough to suggest Linux. Now that I opened that can of worms someone will say try Ubuntu. Ubuntu is cool. I learned Linux with Ubuntu after trying quite a few other distros, but Ubuntu isn't always the best for every setup. Occasionally Ubuntu's devs will break something to make another cool feature work. Usually the broken feature is something I need. That's why I went to Fedora from Ubuntu.
I'm using Ubuntu now, and while yes, there are issues sometimes, it works well for me. The biggest thing is for you to make sure that your wireless card in your laptop is supported well in linux. I had to jump through quite a few hoops to get mine working, and i wouldn't recommend if for a linux newbie. Check online, and if your wireless card is supported, you might want to give it a try.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:59 PM   #12
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you can get a utility CD like Hiren's Boot CD
boot up with it and use the partition program it has to wipe and format the disk.

It works better than the built in windows format since it actually uses all the disk space and you can be specific about the partition sizes.
Set apart a +2.5gb at the end of the drive and put the swap/virtual mem, print spool and downloads on there. It'll assist in keeping the drive from fragmenting excessively.

as a side note, if you make an ubuntu CD and boot from it, you can check if it will work with it or not.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:29 AM   #13
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yep probably time for a fresh isntall. Back up any thing important, be sure to find drivers for any devices/chipset etc.

or you could just use linux now instead=**

I like linux on my laptop, i run windows for my desktops mainly because i game alot, and for certain apps.

if you want to wipe with zero's you can do this in linux, pop in a live cd say ubuntu. Pull up console

type this

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda

then open gparted and create a new partion.

you could just use windows format if you decide to still stay with windows. I prefer to zero out HDD before a clean install if possible, Doing the above will destroy most data in the sectors. Nothing better then a clean HDD. A linux based utility DBAN also works well, and can be downloaded and run via cd.it has various levels of writing zero's to the drive.

install os of choice, update stuff..and your good to go.

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Old 07-26-08, 04:23 AM   #14
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I just pull all my files off onto an external drive, reinstall the OS and everything else and then replace the files. That seems to work the best.

The other thing I do is use linux, only booting into M$ when I need to.
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Old 07-26-08, 07:47 AM   #15
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advantages of linux over windows are...?

will my programs still work, though? i have all the software needed to get a computer fully functional. i know windows is compatible. i've heard linux is "faster."

will all my audio/video editing software and my microsoft office products work properly on Linux?
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Old 07-26-08, 11:15 AM   #16
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advantages of linux over windows are...?

will my programs still work, though? i have all the software needed to get a computer fully functional. i know windows is compatible. i've heard linux is "faster."

will all my audio/video editing software and my Microsoft office products work properly on Linux?
Advantages of Linux over Windows? LINUX RAWKS!!!!

Advantages:
(1) Linux is not Windows. It is for the most part a free operating system in many senses of the word free. Generally it cost nothing other then time, effort, and materials (cd/dvd R) also free in that Linux is Open Source instead of being tied up in copyrights and propitery codes. The advantages are that anyone with the skill can modify the code and write programs and plug ins without fear of committing some federal crime.
(2) Linux is more secure. When it became clear that Windows was riddled with security security bugs many goverments switched from Windows to Linux. In fact the National Security Agency further enhanced the security aspects of Linux with SE Linux (Security Enhanced Linux) which is an add on available for civilians now to use in their Linux systems. Also because of the structure of Linux there are no "spyware", adware, and very few viruses that work on Linux.
(3) Linux does not need "defragging". Because of the file system you never need to periodically defrag your hard drive.

That's just a few things off the top of my head and really the things that attracted me to Linux when I finally asked myself "Is there a better way?" while struggling to get my computer to run faster under Windows XP.

If you are hopelessly addicted to some windows program that you paid big money for there is a pretty good chance that it will work with Linux under Wine, but you must understand that Linux is based on Unix and is not the same as Windows. If you change over you will be really be using a different operating system. For this reason a lot of programs for Linux were made that closely do the same job as popular Windows based programs. Most if not all of them cost nothing more then a download and the time spent using them. Many of these programs do so well that they are ported to Windows like The GIMP (image manipulation program similar to Photoshop), and Open Office (similar to Microsoft Office suite).

Look it's really up to you. If your satisfied with your Microsoft products and can't live without them then go ahead and keep using them. Lot's of folks don't have the inclination to learn a new OS with it's own set of quirks (a lot of those quirks have to do with Microsoft having such a stranglehold on the commercial market that a lot of hardware is made to work only with Microsoft, but that is changing). I myself found Windows lacking and moved on. It wasn't easy since it's was 5 years ago I started on that journey. Now things are a lot easier. Linux is no longer a "strictly geek" OS. There are versions that cater to new users like Ark Linux, Mepis Linux,or PCLinuxOS. These are just three that came up on Distro Watch search with just the word beginner in the criteria. Like I said before. Do a little research to see if anything is right for you. Get a Live CD and try it for a little bit if you want to. The only folks that have a vested interest in what you use for an OS is Microsoft.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:16 PM   #17
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linux shills...

what they don't tell you is that there's a LOT of reading and relearning programs involved and wireless isn't perfect. You'll have to experiment with what you like and don't like.

entry level is high, but if the programs are there and you're willing to read and learn the opportunities are there.

Wireless may or may not require a good bit of digging and reading depending on your model. Also some cards might not support WPA or WPA2 under linux

GIMP isn't quite photoshop, some features just aren't in GIMP. The only advantage is that it's free and it does most (~70%) of what photoshop can do. And even then there are even better programs for certain uses, like SAI and paint shop pro.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:30 PM   #18
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the thing is, though, is that i already have all the software. "free" is relative. i could get new "free" stuff, or keep the old "free" stuff, since i already have it.

i'll prolly stick with XP since i know it works. i don't care about "free," 'cause as i've said, i already own everything. personally i haven't had any probs with XP, except for that it gets junked up and needs a reformatting every once in a while. been running for three years now since a reformat, which is a new record for me (used to do it yearly ). now that i plan on being even less "abusive," i should have even fewer problems.

since we're all or were on the topic of adware/spyware/viruses... definitely use FireFox over IE. i never get adware with it. if you want free virus protection, check out Avast 4.8. you get a free trial of a year. don't know what happens after that (i suppose you just register again for free? ). it certainly does the job! check it out.
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