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 PostPost subject: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:05 pm 
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I've just had to re-install XP due to a virus destroying my FAT tables, my boot sector, and corrupting my hard drive.

The problem is... Re-installing and downloading all the crap that I had on it previously. "Back it up, then!" I hear you cry. Well, I can't back up programs that install themselves. Who keeps installer files anyway?

Is there any kind of program that will keep my files and programs intact after a re-install? Or am I just getting my hopes up?

Thanks in advance.

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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 6:09 pm 
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Its not possible in most cases since most programs write registry entries and/or configure to your current hardware setup, etc etc. Its not worth even trying to be honest. I keep installer files for most of my regular software, e.g. WinAmp, WinRAR, Photoshop, Office, FireFox, Messenger, NetSupport... And many others too but they're the main ones I use. I keep them on my server but nothing stops you keeping them on a USB drive or CD/DVD (CD/DVD would be better as thats read only, and can't be affected by a virus but you wouldn't be able to add to it unless you used sessions on the disk, and that can slow reading of the disk down if you have many sessions on one disk).

In short, the answer to your question is no.

Also I recommend you get an anti-virus software and don't visit or run files from untrusted sites. I ran for 3 years without a firewall or anti-virus without contracting a virus by following that basic principle. It was only when my server somehow got one that I thought it time to start using one. I recommend avast! Home edition, its free and just requires registration to get a serial code for it.

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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:11 pm 
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Thanks for tips. I've started keeping drivers and installers on my memory stick now. :)

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How is avast! on resources? Does it do its job quietly?

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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Use the WAIK (its free) to image your system after a fresh install with applications and settings just how you like them, and keep the image on a usb drive (or PXE server if you have one) and you can have your system back in about 3 minutes. PXE booting the WAIK and restoring from a network server is how all my systems are done. Over gigabit its awesome.


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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 7:36 pm 
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avast! is the best AV I've had for low resource use. It uses under 30MB when running in the background doing its job silently. The only hint you get its doing anything is when it updates daily and you get a friendly "MSN Style" notification on the bottom right of the screen with a notification sound.

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Commit size is paging file size, and doesn't have much relevance.

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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:56 pm 
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Thinstall (I think it is called ThinApp now), and back up your profile.


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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:10 am 
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I'll seccond avast!, as I've used it since version 3, and it seems to be getting better with each release. Its also less resource-intensive than others I've used (McAfee VS 8, 9 enterprise, Vexira, etc. )

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 PostPost subject: Re: The woes of OS re-installation        Posted: Wed May 20, 2009 6:51 am 
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Image backups like Bob suggested, try Norton Ghost if ImageX is too tricky for you.


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