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When You Should Reinstall Windows

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If your laptop is beginning to run slow or you have begun encountering more errors than you think is normal for while you work and play, it may be time to consider reformatting your computer to rid the laptop of any errors, free up space and make it run more efficiently.

When you begin to experience slow downs on your laptop or start encountering more errors, you may want to just run out and buy something new.  If your laptop is five years old, then this is probably the best option.  However, if it is two years old or less, chances are buying new laptop is just a waste of money.  Instead, you should try to reformat your laptop and reinstall Windows to restore your laptop to the best possible working conditions that you can.

What Is Reformatting?

To put it simply, reformatting your computer is the process of preparing your hard drive to receive data.  This involves erasing everything on your laptop’s hard drive so your hard drive can begin to receive data without having to deal with other, old data left on the drive.  This ensures that you have the most free space on your laptop and allows the files to be installed in the same physical location on your hard drive thus speeding it up and making it run more efficiently.

Reasons You Should Reformat

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So you are trying to figure out if you should or should not reformat your computer.  If you are left wondering if it is right for you, have a look at these reasons that make reformatting your laptop the perfect option for you as you work to troubleshoot and repair any problems you may be having and make sure your laptop performs perfectly every single day.

Your Laptop Won’t Boot

Have you ever experienced the fear involved when you turn your computer on only to find that you get an error when it tries to boot up, or worse a blank screen?  It’s happened to us all at one time or another.  In some cases this is caused by a hardware problem such as a faulty hard drive, but other times it is only because the system files required to boot up Windows have become corrupt over time.  Admittedly, this is rarer compared to having a hardware problem when it won’t boot, but it does happen.

Before you rush out to have your computer looked at by a professional, consider first trying to reformat your laptop to see if that fixes the problem.  If the problem is caused by faulty system software on your laptop, then a reformat could clear up the problem while at the same giving your laptop the refresh it needs to run as fast as it possibly can for your work or play.

Your Hard Drive Is Full

A full hard drive can cause more than one type of problem for a laptop user.  Once you get low on space, not only will not be able to save more files to your laptop, but you will also notice that it won’t perform as well as it has in the past.

So many things can cause your hard drive to fill up.  You could be storing too many photos, music, movies and documents.  If this is the case, you need to find another place to store the files you don’t use often.  However, if you have cleared out as much as you can but are still really low on space, then it may be time to reformat your computer.

Over time, Windows collects gigabytes of useless data stored in the form of temp files that serve very few purposes other than taking up space.  While users with more expertise on the ins and outs of Windows will have little trouble finding these files and deleting them, regular users and novice users will probably find this difficult.  It can also be time consuming as it requires you to comb the hard drive to find all the different locations for these old files that no longer serve any purpose.

It’s Time to Upgrade Your OS

When Microsoft releases a new version of their operating system such as their upcoming Windows 10, instead of just upgrading you should consider just reformatting and starting fresh.  OS upgrades are one of the best times to reformat your computer as it will already be offline for the large update, so why not take a few extra minutes to reformat and reinstall everything from scratch.  That way when you start using the latest version of Windows, you know it is installed on a system that is fresh, clean and clear of any problems that could cause it to stop functioning or even interfere with the upgrade altogether.

You’ve Upgraded Your Hardware

If you decide its time to upgrade a piece of hard drive on your laptop, such as the hard drive, you will have to do a reinstall anyway.  But, no matter what you have decided to upgrade, while you are working on your computer, you may as well go ahead and do a reformat just so you are sure that everything runs correctly and is not prevented from performing how it should by an old, cluttered operating system.

You Are Getting Lots of Errors

Over time, your Windows Registry could become corrupt and full of useless lines entries that do nothing but slow your machine down and cause random errors to begin appearing.  Viruses are also notorious for doing this as well.  If you are getting a lot of errors that interrupt you while you are working on your laptop but antivirus scans come up empty, you could still be infected.  One of the easiest ways to clear up registry problems and wipe out that pesky virus for good is to perform a reformat of your hard drive and clean installation of Windows.

Your Laptop Is Really Slow

There can be many different causes of a slow laptop.  The first is that over time the files stored on your hard drive have become disjointed meaning it takes a long time for the read/write heads on your hard drive to find every part of the file on the hard drive and then display it.  While you can clean up the disk, in many cases users only see marginal improvement.  The best way to make sure everything is stored where it should be is by reformatting the laptop.

Second, viruses are well known to cause your laptop to slow down to a crawl.  Whether your antivirus software tells you or not, if it is running very, very slow you are either dealing with major registry problems, hardware problems or a virus.  Reformatting is the only sure fire way to wipe out these types of problems and can help you identify hardware problems, if you have them.

It’s Just Time

Some people will probably dispute this as there are many different opinions on this matter.  For me, I believe it is a good idea to perform a clean install of your system every year to two years depending on your use.  This ensures that your computer runs in the best shape it can at all times and is an easy way for you to make sure that you will always have the latest, most stable software that is available for your particular laptop.

When you begin to encounter random errors and slowdowns on your computer, you could be tempted to think it is time for a new computer.  However, you could simply need to perform a little cleaning on it, refreshing all the settings and making the laptop just like it was on the first day you brought it home.  This will save you money and help you get even more time out of your laptop before you have to invest another chunk of money into purchasing a new computer.

Once you’ve figured out whether a reformat is best for you, head over to our guide on how to Reformat Your Laptop and Reinstall Windows 10 to get the process started.

 

By Matt Garrett

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing on our sister ShopNinja sites where he enjoys talking about anything and everything tech.

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