How to's - Re-instal Operating System

Questions and Answers about reinstalling your computer operating system

What it means when you have to have your computer operating system reinstalled or upgraded (Also known as Format & Reinstall, Fdisk & Reinstall or Slick & Reinstall). So, your computer operating system needs to be reinstalled. What does this mean to you? Well, let’s start off with some of the possible reasons that this may occur. The most common reasons are:

  • Your computer hard drive has gone bad.
  • You are putting in a new hard drive in your computer.
  • You are installing a new or different operating system.
  • Your operating system files have been corrupted beyond repair either by improperly uninstalling software, a computer virus or a corrupt software installation.
  • Corrupt computer registry or drivers files.

These are some of the many reasons an operating system may need to be reinstalled.

While it is serious, your computer documents and computer data can usually be recovered. Hard drive failure is the exception. Unfortunately, there are scenarios where your data may have either been corrupted and is irretrievable or totally destroyed. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding an operating system reinstallation.

Q. Will my computer programs still be there once the operating system has been reinstalled?

A. Your programs are not included with the operating system software. Because of this, you will need to reinstall any programs that you had on your computer prior to the reinstallation of the operating system. If your computer system manufacturer provided you with a system restore CD, it may include some of the software that was originally installed on your system. If you provide the restore CD to us prior to having us reinstall the operating system, any software included on that original restore CD will be installed on your machine. *CAUTION* The system restore CD will erase your hard drive before installing itself. Do not use the system restore CD in an attempt to reinstall programs that were previously-installed on your machine. Doing so will destroy any data on your hard drive. You will always want to make a complete backup of your system before using the restore CD. That is something we do for you in our service department.

Q. What about my computer data?

A. When Elm City Computing replaces your operating system, we place your data in a folder on the C: drive. This folder will be named "Recovered Data". This folder will contain any data that was recovered from your old hard drive or prior installation. This folder may have program data, but your programs will need to be reinstalled from their original disk to be able to use the data and programs. *CAUTION* The "Recovered Data" folder will be the actual folder containing the recovered files from your old hard drive or prior installation. It will not be a shortcut. Deleting this folder will delete any data contained within the folder.

Q. Once I reinstall my programs, will my computer be back to normal?

A. Different programs require different settings and configurations to work properly. Examples of some of the programs that you may have to reconfigure after a reinstall are:

  • Your computer Internet Service Provider’s software (i.e. AOL, Earthlink, MSN, etc.)
  • Your computer banking software (i.e. Quicken, Microsoft Money, QuickBooks, etc.)
  • Your e-mail program (i.e. Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora Mail, etc.)

Other things that you may find have changed are:

  • Your Favorites folder will be back to the Operating System defaults.
  • Any saved passwords will no longer be stored on your machine.
  • Your browser homepage will be back to the default homepage.
  • Your computer's Desktop settings --including the screen resolution-- will be reset to the default settings.
  • Your computer documents won’t be in the My Documents folder; they will be in the Recovered Data folder. This folder will have the same directory structure that your data had prior to the reinstallation.

Q. Will all of my computer peripherals work when I get home?

A. The basic installation of the operating system will only contain computer drivers and computer software for devices the OS supports out-of-the-box. If you have hardware that you did not bring into our shop, you may need to reinstall drivers for those devices before they will work properly. Some devices that may need driver installation are your mouse (if it has special features), keyboard (if it has special features), printer, scanner, digital camera, external Zip drives, hard drives, or CD drives, Web cams, external modems, memory card readers, etc.

Elm City Computing can always install your hardware and software for a fee. Most installations are straight-forward, so we do not attempt to increase your bill by spending more time on your machine installing things you may be able to install at home. However, if you are more comfortable with one of our computer experts performing the installation, we are here to help.

Q. Will my computer be protected against computer viruses with a new operating system installed?

A. You computer will not be protected against computer viruses unless you have antivirus software installed and keep the antivirus software updated. Viruses are a common reason that an operating system may need to be reinstalled. You should have antivirus software installed and updated on your computer at all times. Viruses can be stored on media such as floppy disks, CD-ROMS and Zip disks. If you put infected media into your machine prior to installing antivirus software, you risk re-infecting your computer. Your Elm City Computing representative should always recommend installing an anti-virus package and updating it with the newest virus definitions before your computer leaves our shop.


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