How long has your hard drive / OS gone since reformat/reinstall?

Do most people wipe out their hard drives and reinstall the operating system as a virgin “clean install” every so often? Or do a lot of you just install upgrades on top of older operating systems so as to preserve your custom tweaks and prefs and settings and whatnot, and migrate them over from one disk to another when you upgrade your hard disks? Restore from the last good backup if you have a bad crash and keep going?

My main computer’s current hard drive was purchased about a year ago. I partitioned it, as I usually do, into several partitions, and then inserted the backup CDs with the files from the previous hard drive (including the operating system files) and dragged them to the respective partitions of the new hard drive.

On the previous hard drive, I had had one bad crash under one of the installed operating systems about a year and a half ago, and did reinstall that operating system from the CD, and the clone of it that’s on my current hard drive is still pretty much a virgin OS as of that date.

The partition I’m using now, meanwhile, has an operating system that in one sense of the word has been around forever, and I’m wondering if that’s highly unusual or fairly common.

It was installed on top of a clone of the one that crashed back that was made long before the crash and before upgrading the hard drive. Prior to that hard drive, it had been copied over in a similar way from the hard drive that came with the computer. The original copy of that operating system, on that hard drive, was in turn installed over a yet earlier operating system. (Details: Computer first ran with Mac OS 8.1; a clone of the 8.1 was made to install 8.5, then 8.6 on; later, a clone of 8.6 was made and 9.0, then 9.0.4, were installed on top of that. All three operating systems eventually moved to second, then third, hard drives used in same computer).

The computer didn’t come with this copy of MacOS 8.1, though. I had MacOS 8.1 set up just the way I wanted it on my old PowerMac 7100 , so I nuked the hard drive that came with the new computer (low level reformat) then partitioned it and copied the MacOS 8.1 from the 7100, adding some new files and extensions and control panels that were specific to the new computer. The MacOS 8.1 on the 7100 was originally installed over a clone of the System 7.6 that is still installed on its other hard drive. The 7.6 was updated from various permutations of the System 7.5 that the 7100 shipped with. So the operating system I use now has a direct line of ancestry to a copy of System 7.5 that came new with the 7100. Oh, and when I first got the 7100, I copied over all of my applications, control panels, extensions, disk accessories, fonts, and preferences from the System 6.0.8 that was on my Mac SE, tried them out, discarded the ones that were incompatible or made obsolete by built-in features of 7.5, and kept the ones that still worked. And some of those dated back to System 4 days.

How’s that for a digital pedigree? Are you astonished that it runs trouble-free, or are you about to post a reply beginning with “That’s nothing, let me tell you about the files on my drive…” ?

When I ran Windows 98, I’d reinstall every few months just to keep the system running nice and fast. It never crashed or anything, I just did it as routine maintenence. It was overkill but just a habit I got into.

I went to XP about 5 months back, and haven’t reinstalled it yet. I may sometime soon, but no rush.

I have a Win98 machine that’s been chugging along since November 1999 with few problems other than the typical MS bugginess.

I have never re-formatted and done a clean re-install of an OS on my own computers. (For other peoples’ PCs, sometimes.) For MS OS’s, I have had to do a re-install or upgrade every 1-2 years. For Unixes, upgrades only.

But then I am very careful about what programs I install, virus protection, and configuring my machines.

The PC I am using now still contains several old programs that were once on my original 20Mb HD, and just copied over again and again to new drives.

“Format and do a clean install” doesn’t fix the real problem, namely the person that screwed up the thing in the first place. They’re just going to do it again and again.

Ugh… I have spent the last month in OS purgatory. I hate reinstalling my OS because I’m not usually running off of any CD that I have… most computers being sold without OS CD’s these days… I HAD win98, which was OK but corrupt (figure a nasty OS-eating virus had hit it). Then I tried to install windows xp. My computer-savvy friend laughed and laughed at me. The CD was factory-made, not burnt, but the surface looked a bit scratched and half of the stuff had copying errors. After trying a CD scratch repair kit, I decided to reinstall win98 instead. Too bad the nasty winxp install had gotten JUST FAR ENOUGH to hit a corrupted line of code in the setup program, which meant it automatically tried to install itself every time I booted my hard drive (I wasn’t savvy enough to change my boot protocol in BIOS then). I said goodbye to my 1.2 gigs of MP3s, and tried fdisk. Winxp had erased fdisk from the win98 folders before creating it in the winxp folders.
Eventually, I got fed up with it and bought a linux package from a computer store. Now, I have none of my old files, questionable internet access, and a whole new set of skills to work out. I blame Microsoft.

I have three computers here.

One of them is a P120 purchased in 1995. It had been running the same 1996 install of Linux (although with many upgrades) until early 2001, when I wiped it and installed Debian. That installation has been running ever since.

I also have a Dell Inspiron laptop that came with my last job, which has been running the same Windows 2000 installation that it came with in July 2000; and a P3-750 tower that has been running Debian since shortly after I got it in late 2000 (it came with Red Hat installed, but I blew that away because Red Hat sucks).

I have no plans to rebuild either of the Debian machines. The Windows 2000 laptop is approaching the point that a full wipe may be in order, although it hasn’t gotten there yet (I did a reinstall-in-place about six months ago, and it has been behaving since then).

I have a computer at work that I’m responsible for that has been running for 275 days now without being rebooted, and there is no reason I can see why that would change.

I just built myself a new comp, but prior to the rebuild, my Windows 2K installation was running for over a year with nary a problem.

I had been running 98SE on a 13 GB hard drive since just after it came out, until last Sunday. I installed an 80 GB drive and cloned the old setup over without reinstalling. I had been planning on getting a new HD in a few months, but it became top priority when I started getting from 6 - 12 bad sectors on the drive everytime I ran scandisk. :frowning:

I had a copy of win 2k on my computer for well over 2 years before I re-formated it(it didnt need it, I was chasing a network bug and that was a last resort that ended up not fixing it either). My current setup is XP Pro installed over 2k and I wish I had kept 2k. Nothing against XP except that it is a proc hog on a 500Mhz Athlon. I like to joke that it was the first Athlon made, close, its a week 9.

while I surf, I am playing CIV II on my old machine.

WFW 3.11, original factory install, except for the patches to the file manager and BIOS for Y2K.

I tend to do a reinstall every few months, not because I want to clean install, but because, for the last year or so, I’ve had so many things go wrong with my system. I’ve replaced the main hard drive twice and the motherboard/processor once, all of which required a new install of WinXP.

Also, for a while, I was dual boot Redhat 7.2, and I plan to go back.

In addition, I’m in such a strong upgrade cycle right now that I expect to be installing another OS on my new (old) computer, built of spare parts.

3 years - I recently had to reinstall only because my DSL install totally effed things up and Windoze wouldn’t start. Thankfully my HP restore CD provided a no-format option so even though I had a backup of all my data, I didn’t actually have to use the backup.

Reformat and “FDISK” - not once in probably 8 or 9 years

Reinstall OS - last time was probably 3 or 4 years ago, when Windows 98 was first out and was buggier than hell.

This new machine is running XP Pro and hasn’t been turned off in 11 months, let alone reloaded, reformatted, etc.