BOOT CAMP 099
REMOVING AND RE-INSTALLING WINDOWS
There are several schools of thought on the subject of
Windows 95 and 98 installations. There's a good argument for periodically
wiping or 'reformatting' a PCs hard disc and starting afresh every year or so.
It's one way of avoiding the inevitable build up of file clutter glitches and
the gradual slow down that occurs on any well used PC. For a few weeks or
months afterwards it's like having a new machine all over again. The counter
argument is that if 'ain't broke, don't fix it, removing and re-installing
Windows plus all of your applications and data files can be a long and tedious
Unfortunately leaving well alone is only an option for as
long as the PC behaves itself… Sooner or later most Windows users will
experience a catastrophic crash or if they're really unlucky, a fatal virus
infection where the only solution is to start over. Wiping a PCs hard disc
drive is a fairly drastic procedure. Needless to say you will loose all of the
files and data stored on it so make sure you have explored all other
possibilities. For example, if the problem began following the installation of
a new piece of hardware or software try uninstalling it. If Windows has become
corrupted you could try re-installing it by running the set-up program from the
CD-ROM. There's a slim chance it might overwrite the damaged files. It's always
worth trying the Scandisk utility to repair faults in the disc filing system
and a lot of Windows problems, particularly those involving drivers, can be
tracked down by starting in Safe Mode (press F8 after boot up).
If you have been lucky so far and your PC is working
normally now would be a very good time to prepare for the day when you may have
to rebuild your system. You should routinely make backups of irreplaceable data
files (documents, emails, images and graphics etc,) if you're not regularly
backing up you are just asking for trouble! Don't forget to make a backup of
any programs and files downloaded from the Internet. It's a good idea to gather
together in one place all of the installation and driver discs for the
applications you use – including Windows -- and make a note (on paper rather
than on the PC…) of the registration and serial numbers.
If you installed Windows 98 from the upgrade CD-ROM you may
be asked to provide details of your previous Windows 95 installation so have
the disc or serial number to hand. Windows 95 users must also have the driver
disc for their CD-ROM drive. It shouldn't be necessary if you are using Windows
98, but it's a good idea to have it handy, just in case. Finally, and most
important of all, you must have a start-up disc for your PC. If you haven't got
one make one now by double clicking on the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control
Panel, select the Start-up disc tab and follow the instructions.
You are now ready to do the deed and format your C: drive,
so go over the checklist once again and make sure you have everything ready.
Insert your start up disc in the floppy drive and switch the PC on.
After a few moments a Windows 95 machine will display a
flashing A:\> prompt. Windows 98 PCs behave in a slightly different way.
Instead it will display a menu with three options. It's worth perusing the Help
file (option 3) as this explains how the disc works, otherwise choose option 2,
(Start PC without CD-ROM support) which will take you to the A:/> prompt.
The next step is to format the disc and copy across essential system files to
the C: drive by typing the following command: 'format c: /s'. Press return and
warning message should appear, telling you that you are about to erase all data
from drive C. This is the point of no return so if you are ready type 'Y' to
proceed. Follow the prompts when asked to do so remove the start up floppy and
restart the computer. The PC should now boot up from the hard disc drive and
display a flashing C:/> prompt.
At this point the C: drive is empty apart from the system
files transferred from the start up floppy disc. Windows 95 users will need to
re-load the CD-ROM driver from the original installation disc. At the C: prompt
type 'A:', then 'dir' for directory to display the contents of the floppy,
there should be a 'Readme.txt' file that will explain the procedure or type in 'setup.exe' or 'install.exe', as appropriate
to start the installation process.
The Windows 98 boot up disc contains a number of generic
CD-ROM drivers covering most common makes and types of drive, however if your
newly formatted PC doesn't recognise the CD-ROM drive you will have to use the
installation disc that came with it.
If everything has gone according to plan you should now be
in a position to re-load Windows. Insert the CD-ROM into the drive, type D: and
when the prompt changes to D:/> type 'setup' the loading sequence will begin
and you're well on the way to restoring your PC to its original condition.
Next week – designing and printing Christmas cards
A small program or data file that tells Windows how to
communicate with a particular piece of hardware such as a mouse, disc drive
joystick or printer etc.
Process that prepares a disc for use by effectively deleting
all of the data on it by creating a new filing structure
Windows utility that checks the integrity of data stored on
a hard disc drive, identifies problems, and where possible, puts them right
Here's a way to squeeze a little extra speed out of most
printers. By default Windows is set to spool print jobs. That basically means
the data to be printed is first written to a temporary file, which allows you
and the PC to get on with other jobs, whilst the printer is working. If you
turn off the Print Spooler you should find print jobs take less time to
complete. The option can be found by right-clicking your printer icon from the
Printers Folder in My Computer or Start > Settings. Select Properties, then
the Details tab and click on the Spool Settings button. Click 'Print Directly
To Printer' then OK. The only disadvantage is that on long print jobs you may
see the busy icon in your application more often than usual. Be warned that it
doesn't work on all systems and all printers so try it on a test document first
– time a print job before and after switching off the spooler – if you
encounter problems click the Restore Defaults button in the print spooler