Re-installation of OS - Advice?

Okay - Dell sent me the new boot disks, and I have an external hard drive for the back up, so I think I’m set.

Now, I’m planning on following the instructions on Dell’s site.

For my back up - I am planning to copy the Documents and Settings directory to the external drive. That should preserve all my iTunes and other documents. Will that also preserve the Outlook archives?

Is there anything else I should know? I really don’t want to fuck this up.

Your Outlook .pst file (the file that contains the emails) should be included in your Documents and Settings folder, but if i were you, i’d do a separate Outlook backup first, and put the .pst file/s somewhere safe before you reinstall your OS.

ETA: Here’s a tutorial on backing up Outlook.

I also recommend running the “documents and settings transfer wizard” and telling it you’d like to save the data on your external drive. This will copy across all sorts of little irritating stuff that you’d otherwise forget about, like your bookmarks, and the setting that says “don’t hide the frigging file extensions in explorer.” This also takes care of My Documents, for what that’s worth, although I might be inclined to copy that by hand too since I’m paranoid. Then again, I never actually store anything I want to save in My Documents, so that’s not a big issue for me.

If you want to run the wizard: I can never remember how to get to it, but if you type “documents and settings transfer wizard” into Help and Support Center it’ll find you a pointer to it.

Hey a good computer guy from IT chiming in here. I have not had my coffee yet and don’t have the energy to type out a long response but yes these steps listed sound pretty good. The only thing i might have a concern about is the Itunes libaray. I think even though you still transerfer it Itunes might see it as another computer and delete and then readd all the songs to your ipod. No big deal because you copied your music but something that make take an extra few minutes

There’s a wizard? Cool. I grew up on DOS, so I hardly ever think about using these new-fangled User-friendly things.

One more question - Should I allow Windows to update XP to service pack 3 before or after I move everything back?