computer junk

Hi there,
I have a bunch of unwanted crap on my computer. A friend of mine says he can save my favorites and wipe every thing else off of it and then reload the windows 7 operating system.
Does this sound like a good idea ?

I’d use Ccleaner first.

Why wouldn’t it be a good idea?
What are you afraid of?

It depends on whether, by junk and unwanted crap, you mean a lot of malware, or a lot of stuff that you saved there like a packrat.

It depends. Is your computer running noticeably more slowly than it used to, or are you short of hard disk space (or, maybe, is your desktop or start menu horribly cluttered)? If so, it might be worth doing. If not, it is probably not worth the taking the risk that your friend does not know as much as he thinks he does.

Whether it’s a good idea depends on whether your friend knows what he’s doing. Will he properly back up all of the stuff you want to be restored? Will he be able to locate the drivers necessary for your hardware? What about licensed applications like Microsoft Office? Do you have the means to reinstall them and the license keys you’ll need?

A low-risk way to do this is to pull out the existing drive and reinstall everything on a new one. That way, if you’re not happy, just restore your old drive.

Yeah, what kind of “crap” are we talking about? Depending on the circumstances, it might be a lot easier and safer just to delete the crap.

I do it all the time. In fact, with Windows, my experience (out of date since I’m primarily a linux user now) was that you must reinstall the OS every year or two or it would get slow, buggy and blue screen frequently if you didn’t.

I suggest partitioning your hard drive so that your data is on one partition and the OS is on the other, which makes it unnecessary to transfer all your data back after reinstalling Windows. You still better back it up though.

it can depend on what you have other than Windows. it also can depend on how all of it is installed. Windows 7 is robust and may be less of a problem in this regard but i’ve had software work well and not work well depending on the order it is installed in. you can tweak a computer and get it working, then you try to replicate it and it’s not the same because of install order or other details.

if it took time and effort to get you to a complex loaded computer then i would try other less drastic solutions first.

I’ve had Windows for 14 years now and the only problem I’ve ever noticed was paying $80 per year for anti-virus.

I too use Ccleaner regularly to delete unwanted programs. I think (no cite) that it does a better job than windows in deleting the miscellaneous crap[ that some programs like to install all over the place.

My suggestion would be to use this, or windows uninstall, to individually uninstall any program that you no longer use. Ccleaner also comes with a safe cleanup for the registry with an automatic restore point as a backup.

When you look at the list of stuff, you can search the internet to find more about anything you don’t recognise.

It takes a while the first time, but do it regularly and it’s a few minutes work.

Windows doesn’t rot. If you take steps to prevent malware and nasties from mucking up your system it will run just fine darn near forever. I have one machine running Windows 98 that has been going since the year 2001 and has never had a reinstall. I’ve done a wipe and reinstall once on a Windows 2000 machine and once on a Windows XP machine, and that’s it over the last 15 years or so on over a dozen machines. Windows is certainly capable of going more than a year or two without going all wonky on its own.

Wiping your computer and reinstalling Windows to get rid of unwanted “crap” is like burning your house down because the sink is full of dirty dishes. Bad idea.

The fact that your friend said “reloading” instead of “reinstalling” tells me that he doesn’t know as much about computers as he thinks he does. I’m with furryman. The idea that you must reinstall every year or two is nonsense.

I’ve never reinstalled, and I have Vista now, so I have the crappiest of the crap. I did have a problem, but the cause was my anti-virus (from work and thus free.) A new one, also from work, solved the problem.

Shark Tank over on Computerworld always has stories of some luser deleting files he thought was useless and thereby trashing his machine. Someone saying he’ll save favorites and reinstall does not give me a good feeling that he knows what he is doing.
I’m with the identify what you don’t need and uninstall it camp - especially those things that put themselves on the start up list.

But if you reinstall, you know all the right files are there. If you start deleting things you don’t “need”, yeah, you can certainly screw up the OS. In my opinion, reinstalling is easier than fixing some random OS bug, almost every time.

And there are bugs. You may have been running the same OS since 1985, but in my experience Windows blue screens and freezes, programs crash, and drivers fail, with the frequency increasing to unbearable levels after about two years. What the hell am I doing wrong that this has been a universal experience I’ve had with every Windows computer I’ve used since about 1995 or so?

Maybe if you have a bunch of expensive licensed software you’d have to transfer over, learning to debug OS internals would be preferable to reinstalling. But if all you have to do is download the drivers ahead of time (keep them in a backed up folder), spend 45 minutes reinstalling the OS, and install software as you need it, starting from a clean slate every couple years seems vastly easier to me.

Dunno, but this hasn’t been my experience; so maybe it’s something other than Windows itself that’s been the source of your problems.

Fair enough. It was my experience prior to the early 00s when I switched to Linux, and it was my experience last year with my work computer running XP. Not sure what I’m doing wrong, but my computer habits changed drastically between those periods. And the IT guys at work put a lot of effort into security and malware prevention, as far as I can tell.

But computers are complicated. I have no problem blaming it on a poorly behaving piece of non-Windows software. But my point is I’d rather take an hour and reinstall the OS than hunt down the issue, especially if I’ve already got drivers (download them once, keep them forever), and my data is already backed up. Hence why I suggested keeping a separate partition for your personal data.

You can set your computer up so that reinstalling is something you can easily do in an hour or two and be right back to normal. An hour or two every few years seems like a small price to pay to never worry about stability issues again.

An hour or two to reinstall, another hour or so redownloading security patches and system updates, then the time it takes to reinstall software and drivers, just to get rid of a “bunch of unwanted crap”? (And just a reminder, that’s what the question was about, not about dealing with bluescreens or program crashes.) Especially when said unwanted crap may very well be reinstalled by the restore disks? Rather than just spending maybe 15-30 minutes in control panel uninstalling the bloatware?

Sure. You get rid of crapware in the add/remove programs list. You reclaim space on your hard drive by deleting unwanted files. But usually when people complain of “crap” on their computer, they’re experiencing a performance issue, and just think “crap” is the problem.

In my experience, after a few years with Windows you start to get slowdowns, freezes, crashes and blue screens. That was the motivation for my response. If your problem is just an aesthetic one about too much “crap”, rather than an actual performance issue which may require extensive troubleshooting, then I agree, reinstalling Windows is overkill.