As long as I'm re-installing Windows 8, and purging my HDD, this would be a good opportunity to...

About six weeks ago I upgraded from Windows Vista to Windows 8. Although I hated it at first, having now gotten used to it I rather like it. The whole system seems to run faster and cleaner, and starting up from a completely powered down, non-hibernated state is just as fast as starting up from hibernate. Gone are the days of the seemingly interminable waiting for the machine to boot up or down. This computer is several years old but now it runs like new.

For a project I’m working on, I decided first to try using Visual Studio 2012 and SQL Server 2010, but then I decided to roll it back to VS2010 and SS 2008. If you’ve worked with Visual Studio you probably know that it’s not that easy to uninstall, and in my experience even running the Uninstall option with the installation image didn’t get the job fully done. To cut a long story short, little bits and scraps of VS2012 are still on my computer and causing apps developed in VS2010 to throw obscure errors.

So I’m going to reinstall Windows 8, VS2010, and SS2008, and just stick with those products for my development efforts. I know this will wipe my hard disk, and I’ve already offloaded the obviously essential things, like my MS Office installation file and key, as well as the keys to a few other applications for which I don’t need to save installation. I’ve saved gigabytes worth of music, pictures, and other files of important Stuff which I would not care to have to re-create or find all over again.

To the best of my knowledge, I’m all ready to cry “fire in the hole!” and throw the switch.

But before I do that, is there anything else I should consider doing? That is, are there any useful tweaks or adjustments I can try before I reset Windows and repopulate my data?

Any chance VS and SQL Server required an online registration for that installation, and reformatting and reinstalling would require a new license? I’ve tried the uninstall/reinstall dance a few times, and some apps get kinda fussy about that and insist that I’ve already installed it once so nyah.

No, I’m all right there. As a student I can download Visual Studio and SQL Server from Dreamspark as much as I need to; no key required.

Consider making a VM for your next project, then you can just throw out the whole thing and enjoy a clean OS…

This is exactly what I was going to post. I got fed up with different development tools fighting with each other and not uninstalling properly and all sorts of nonsense, so now I run different setups in different VMs and I am much happier.

I happen to use Oracle Virtualbox. I have a problem with it capturing my memory stick whenever it is running but other than that it works great.

Have you considered trying the “Refresh your PC” utility? I haven’t used it yet, since everything’s been running fine for me, but it purports to remove all your apps and return your PC to a “like-new” state, leaving your documents and personal files alone. Might be worth a shot.

Here’s your answer

(sorry, not really an Evangelist, but it was a good opportunity for humor)

Just for future reference, there’s no need to uninstall one version of VS or SQL just because you want to use another; the various versions all work together just fine. I have VS 2005, 2010, and 2012 on my current machine, all playing together nicely, and SQL 2005 and 2008.

Virtual machines are nice, too, but as far as I know, there’s no free version that works well with multiple monitors, which bugs the heck out of me. I have 3 monitors, damn it, I want to use them all! I’ve been told VMWare might do it but I’m too lazy to re-set-up my VM to double check it. The VMWare pro version does it, but not sure I want to shell out the $200 just for that. Instead, I will continue to whine about Microsoft’s VM.

Hyper-V in Windows 8 supports multiple monitors.

Something didn’t click right with me, though. Are you on Win8?

FWIW I can get Virtual PC from Dreamspark; I should probably look into it, unless it involves something major like partitioning my disk. I almost certainly won’t have the opportunity to do so on this occasion, because I’ll be using a built-in utility to do the refresh.

No, but one of my coworkers is, and has no problem with having multiple versions of VS and SQL. I don’t think we’re alone, either - it pretty much comes with the territory of .NET that you sometimes have to support older code bases, and the uproar would be astounding if you couldn’t run multiple versions of VS/SQL on the same box. You really just have to be able to do that.

if you don’t have an SSD yet, reinstalling is a good time to kill 2 birds with one stone.

I don’t understand why so many people are willing to wipe out stuff it took years to accumulate, and then spend hours or days trying to get a new system back to sorta the way it was, instead of just buying a new drive.

Without too much shopping, you can get a new drive of several hundred GB capacity for 30 bucks or so. Even at minimum wage, if it takes you more than four hours to figure out what to back up from your old drive (let alone actually backing it up), you’re ahead of the game. Any PC made this century should allow you to pick which drive to boot from, so you can install your Win8 and VS on your new drive, boot from that, and use the old drive as a data drive, reinstalling whatever other apps you need at your leisure. Or you can just boot from the old drive for seldom-used programs. Or, best choice of all, use free portable apps for anything you can, so it doesn’t matter which drive they’re on.

Just be sure to physically disconnect the old drive when you install Windows on the new drive, or the execrable Windows install program will screw up the old drive with boot managers and the like. Just disconnect it during the install, reconnect it afterward, and use the BIOS to set which drive to boot from.

Just for the info, Win 8 does in face hibernate bits of itself even when you perform a shutdown, sneaky, huh :slight_smile:
Info here:

Then again, I’m almost grateful for the opportunity that I now have to review which of all those offloaded pics and other items I really need to have on my hard drive. No matter how big a hard drive is, having many gigabytes of small files that I hardly ever use is a burden.

I’m regrettably ignorant when it comes to hardware, but I’m not sure I understand how I could get this done. I have a laptop that’s about four years old, and for practical purposes it’s the only computer I have available. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s an available bay for second HDD. I’d have to swap out the current drive and I’m not sure how I would get the data transferred from one to the other.

My current HDD, which came with the system, has about 300MB capacity.

Oh, I didn’t realize you were talking about a laptop. That does limit your options. If that were my only PC, I still might be inclined to get a new drive and attach the old one via USB or ESATA enclosure, but it would be more trouble than with a desktop PC, and possibly more trouble than it’s worth.

No more sneaky than when Apple did it for their Macs and then used it to bash how long it took to start up Windows. (It’s been a Mac feature for years.)

There is really no reason not to just hibernate your computer, but, for some reason, a lot of people are very reluctant to do it. So Microsoft is essentially forcing the issue, so that people will stop complaining about how long their computer takes to load.

Re-loading my Win7 machine this weekend too. It’s been running for over 2 years, since my initial install with no problem. It’s just feeling (and running) like it’s a little cluttered, so I figure it’s time.

Used to re-load my 98 and XP machines every 6 months!

Baking up files on DVD and external HDD just because I have one. I have 2 internal drives right now, so I guess I’ll actually have 3 backups…

I never would have thought to do this…so once I copy everything I want to save to my backup drive, I need to disconnect it before I re-install Windows on the main drive? I plan on re-formatting b/u drive first, if it matters.

If you’re just using the second drive for data, it won’t be an issue. I’m talking about if you are installing Windows on one drive, with a bootable Windows already installed on another drive. In that case, Windows assumes that you want a boot manager installed, which can make your life difficult if you later remove one of the drives. I’ve found it causes much less trouble to do the new install with the other drive disconnected.

There’s Refresh, Reset, and the lesser known RecImg.
[li]Refresh - Reinstalls system files and leaves data untouched. Installed applications not native or purchased from the Microsoft Store are not reinstalled.[/li][li]Reset - Removes all data and non-native applications and resets the machine to a base default install.[/li][*]Recimg - a CLI command that must be run using an administrative command prompt. It acquires an image and then restores it with ostensibly all apps and data, regardless of app provenance. There’s also a 3rd party product with the same name, but this is built in by Microsoft. Details here -[/ul]