Hard Drive Reformat time

Well, it seems that its about that time again for a full system colon cleansing lol. And i have done the process before and know what to expect, however this time i would like some opinions on what Windows Updates to install or not install. I run XP pro edition, and after format its basically win xp without any updates. So what do u guys think? I know alot of those updates cause major probs. Like the service packs for example. So now that i have the opportunity would you guys let me know what not to install so i dont FUBAR the system?



Hmmm I always install all updates (except for the NVidia display drivers update, as it sets me back to 800x600x4 mode) and don’t have any speed or stability problems…

Personally I always install all of the patches (they were made for a reason). I have only very occasionally had any serious problem with doing this.

However incase something goes wrong I normally ghost my fresh new install just in case. Can save hours of reinstalling. Maybe something to think about. It will save time the next time you ahve to reinstall. Mind you I am one of these people who reinstall windows probably once a month, more sometimes.

Womble, i have no idea what you mean by “ghost” the install. explain?

Originally posted by lves2raft
Womble, i have no idea what you mean by “ghost” the install. explain?

Ghost is a piece of software that can make images of your system. You can say that it backups an entire partition/drive to a single file on harddisk, cd, dvd or whatsoever.

If something goes wrong, you can revert to the image… and yes, that can save a fair amount of time!

Software that is used for this is Norton Ghost or Powerquest Driveimage. (both commercial)


<Software that is used for this is Norton Ghost or Powerquest Driveimage. (both commercial)>

Is it really necessary to use the above if you have System Restore in XP. For me system restore was more that enough to bring me back where everything was OK.


Norton Ghost of Drive Image is used mainly to go back before ANYTHING other than the O/S was installed/ whatever you consider to be a basic system. It’s also handy if you have been “playing around” with the O/S and can’t get it to boot back up again using any means.

Granted the System Restore in XP is miles better then anything previously made by Micro$oft but you can’t use it if you can’t load up windows.

In some cases, System restore can work out, but indeed, programs like Ghost are a zillion times of flexible as SR is. Ghost does all kinds of partitions, can read damaged discs etc etc… SR is very simple (may be sufficient though)…

Concerning System Restore:

It’s worth noting that system restore can only restore a few things. It’s my understanding that it mainly monitors system files. It certainly doesn’t monitor the entire partition. Basically, if you install something and it garbles up your system files and/or registry settings, system restore may be able to return things to a more stable condition. However, it may also leave random files in other locations on your hard disk. It also can’t be used to undo many common kinds of errors. For instance, it’s not an undeleter. If you wipe something or corrupt a data file, etc. restoring to a point in time before you did so may not actually repair your problem.

Enter imaging software like ghost, drive image, boot it, and others: These programs take perfect snapshots of your entire system that you can store on a secondary partition, another hard drive, or burn to CD/DVD. When restoring to one of those images, your system is returned to the EXACT state that it was in when you made the image. Anything you deleted is back. Anything you added since then is gone. Every byte on the harddrive is replaced where it came from.

Incidently, because if this, you may want to defrag, and do any other routine system clean up before you make your image so that when you restore your image it’s exactly where you want it.

so can i do my fresh install of xp, do the updates i choose, upgrade all my drivers etc, and then make the ghost image?

Of course. You can take the image whenever you feel like it, with the computer in whatever state you choose.

thats cool, i will look into buying that software. ty =)

So then, if you use “ghost”, does this mean that you actually have double the space on your drives, one as a back up? i.e if I have now, say 20GB for all my programs and files, ghost will create another 20 GB for emergency?


Erm, if you mean will ghose create spare capacity then no :slight_smile: - it will eat up space as per the size of what you are backing up.

You can do uncompressed and varying levels of compression, so a 1GB drive (not partition) dump to a ghost image may be 300MB’s in size (assuming files can be compressed easily). You can verify the image against the originals files to check the imag ei s o.k, you can extract only files/folder from an image rather than the whole image if you delete or mess with certain folders, etc. The newer ghost’s can also be used with firewire.

norton the best one as a general concensus?

best is a relative term.

I just bought and downloaded this one tonight:


I chose True Image because it’s cheaper than Ghost or DriveImage and it’s very easy to use.

I also strongly considered Boot IT as it does mutli-os boot management, partition management, and partion/disk images. It’s a shareware ap that’s had very positive reviews. And it’s cheap, around $35. But it’s quite a bit more complicated to install and use and it requires that you do most everything from dos. (And i really didn’t want to mess with the multi-boot stuff or ensure bios compatability.)

Boot It’s address: http://terabyteunlimited.com/bootitng.html

Ghost and Drive image are the leaders in the market. Both have come out with recent revisions that support external USB and firewire drives, and minimize how often you have to go to DOS. Drive Image has a flexible scheduling utility and can also repartition. It however, does not support muti-boot configurations well and it depends on the .NET framework being installed.

They all do roughly the same thing and they all do it pretty well. If cost is your deciding factor and you don’t mind a steeper learning curve, you might check out boot it. If ease of use is your ultimate goal, then you can get True image for just a little bit more. If you want to stick with the big guns in the industry, both Drive Image and Ghost are fine choices. I’d choose whichever one is cheapest in your area.

The two main ones are Norton Ghost and PowerQuest Drive Image. I have only used Norton Ghost but it has worked flawlessly when ever I have used it. In fact I have never had a problem with it at all.

The ghost image that you create will be at maximum the size of all your data you are ghosting not the size of the disk it is on. It can normally compress your data down by at least a third.

Something I have just remembered is that you need a second hard disk or backup device (zip, CDRW, network, etc…) to write your image to.

Why? If you are ghosting your C Drive then during this process you can’t store the image that it is creating on that drive. It has to be made on a drive that is not being imaged. E.G. D drive or CDRW.

I hope that last sentance made some sort of sense.

ive found the best way to do a ghosting is to start fresh. if you ghost after your install has been up for 3+ months (or 3+ days, usually), you will have a lot of trash that persists from install to install. clean format + reinstall, reinstall vital components + CONFIGURATIONS, then ghost. as i used to spend 2+ hours trying to get windows to actually configure the way i like it, that step was important.

blank dvd or cd media large enough for a basic ghost image? and i totally agree about the windows configs lol. They can be a pain.

blank dvd or cd media large enough for a basic ghost image?

the total size of the ghost image would naturally depend on how much stuff there actually is to backup. the answer is pretty much definitely no for a (single) cd.