Update: Post edited to correct errors on 26th October 2009.
Re-installing an Operating system is a nightmare for many people, since people always tend to lose data, forget to take backups, and they almost go blank after they re-install. I have faced a similar situation, when I was new, however, if we plan our re-installation well, I can bet you will never tend to lose your data.
In this DIY ( Do it yourself ) article, we will learn how to manage things before and after installing your OS. If you are at the point to reinstall your OS in near future , read these first!!
#1 Backing up files
If you have a habit of saving all the files in My Documents, this should be your first step. Check out all possible folders like My Documents, My Pictures, My Music and My Videos, and copy whatever is required to some other folder. If you fail to copy the data, you might lose it as it exists in same drive where you will install the OS.
#2 Save Your Configuration and Profiles
Most of the software’s provide users with an option to backup profiles or software configuration. If you plan to re-install the software again, it is always recommended to backup your settings and configuration and store it on a external drive.
#3 Saving all your Download Folders and Files
If you download and store files in your operating system drive, don’t forget to copy it to an external drive or to some other partition. It is always advisable to store downloads in a partition, which does not include the operating system file.
This will save you time when it comes to re-installing your OS.
#4 Rethink Partition Size.
If you have a huge hard drive with a single partition, it is always advisable to create multiple partitions to store files. This will help you the routine of copy pasting files whenever you want to re-install your OS again.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista provide users with an option to create partitions from free space on the harddrive without using any external software. You can refer to a tutorial on how to create partitions from free space in Windows 7 & Vista.
#5 Note Down Things you Need to Install
Whenever you install a new OS, you might also have to reinstall software again. Make a quick list of software you want to reinstall, so that you can quickly install them again. Here is a list of things that you might might help you out.
- Antivirus and Spywares
- Browsers and addons.
- Office Suites
- Media Players and updates.
- Rest of the things.
#6 Reinstall OS and Software
Install all the drivers and software you require after reinstalling your system. Sometimes installing drivers may require to restart the PC, so try and finish all the installation process before you start exploring the new OS.
#7 Copy the backups and Organize Them
In the first step, we backed up all the important files and folders. Once you have reinstalled your OS, you can copy those files back to the computer. Here are some tips to organize your files, so that you don’t have to move them back and forth, every time you want to reinstall your OS.
- Divide things into different categories. For example, pictures, music, documents and others if you require.
- Create folders in drive where the OS is not installed.
- Now sort the files which we backed up in first step and put them into the respective folders.
Instead of saving files in the default folders, it is recommended to save them on a non OS drive, as this will save you time when it comes to reinstalling a OS.
#8 Import Your Software Profiles and Settings
Use the software configuration and profile settings you created in step 2 and import it back using the tools provided by the software. Doing this will restore the software to the state it was in before reinstalling the OS.
#9 Creating a Restore Point
If you are using windows, use Restore facility to create a restore point. This will help you out in case your system does not work after installing some software or is not working for some unknown reason.
#10 Double Check everything
This last step is for your assurance. Double check all the things and backed up files. If you are done with them and sure you did not miss any of them, you can safely delete the backed up folders and files. Keep this list handy so that you will be able to reinstall your OS without much hassle.
With my experience, I have followed the list for a long time now. It really helps in saving my time and data all the time. Most of the data loss in computers occurs when users reinstall their system, these steps will help you avoid those Oops moments in future.
Do you have any tips which you use in this situation? If yes do tell us in comments so we all can share and save things.