Help me get XP reinstalled and back and running quickly
March 21, 2010 12:50 AM   Subscribe

My Dell M65 laptop has been thoroughly rinsed by a virus infection. I've tried everything I can, but I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and completely reinstall windows. The laptop does have a restore partition, so I'm planning to use that. What do I need to think/do in order to get back up and running as quickly as possible?

What am I going to forget? I'm thinking of things like making sure I reinstall my auto-correct entries for Word and my plugins for GIMP.

I know this has been asked before, but that was a while ago, and a slightly different question.

And yes, I'm planning to make room for an Linux install this time
posted by alby to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well, you've probably thought of this, but make a list of all of the programs you're going to need to install.
posted by number9dream at 1:01 AM on March 21, 2010

Yes, I've started making a list of stuff to download. I'm more thinking of "the little things", whatever they may be.
posted by alby at 1:21 AM on March 21, 2010

If I remember the action of a Dell restore partition correctly, it's more of a re-image than a reinstall, and you don't get to keep anything or even choose partition sizes. So the first thing you need to do is boot up off a Linux or BartPE live CD and copy everything you care about to an external hard disk.

Copying everything to an external hard disk might save you some grief, because there are almost certainly going to be things you'll need that you won't have thought of up front.

You might want to run PC Decrapifier over the restored image before using it, too.
posted by flabdablet at 2:08 AM on March 21, 2010

I haven't yet had a reason to use it, but Ninite might be very useful for installing your programs.
posted by alexei at 3:59 AM on March 21, 2010

flabdablet, I'm using Knoppix to do that now.

I'm hoping, once I have my new setup complete, to copy it onto the restore partition, in case something similar happens again.
posted by alby at 4:42 AM on March 21, 2010

If you back the Windows folder up onto your external drive, the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder can use it to retrieve product keys for a lot of software; might save you some scrabbling through drawers and boxes.
posted by flabdablet at 5:37 AM on March 21, 2010

You'll want to back up your fonts, if you have any besides the standard Windows set. I'm still fuming about my loss of Texas Hero lo those many years ago!
posted by headspace at 7:27 AM on March 21, 2010

headspace, fonts were on the top of my list. I can't manage without Avenir and Gotham!
posted by alby at 11:18 AM on March 21, 2010

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