Wiping Your Hard Drive
Should be Done at Least Once a Year!
>>Gather all the programs that you are going to want to load or reload into one area. Make sure they all have their ID numbers…you don’t want to go hunting for that in the middle of a reload. Any programs that are upgrades will usually require a compliance check of the previous version, so make sure you have BOTH versions handy.
EX: If you are going to load Microsoft Office 2003 Upgrade, then you will need to have your previous version of Office (XP, 2000, 97) handy for the reload. It WILL ask you for it!!
You do NOT need to load all previous versions of the software, however. Just have it handy.
EX: If you are wanting to load your newly bought Windows XP Upgrade, you do NOT have to load Windows 95, then Windows 98 Upgrade and then finally your newly bought Windows XP Upgrade. Just start with the newest version of the software and when it asks you to put in your previous version, then you will have it handy to do so. It will check to see that you actually have one, and then tell you to put the newest version CD back in and will do the install from there.
SOFTWARE TIP: This is a great time to update your software. Plan to purchase at least one major piece of software (Program or Operating System) in time for your wipe each year and you will find that you stay relatively up to date!! If you have been thinking about upgrading your OS (Operating System), this is the time to do it. And we advocate purchasing the full version of your new software…the upgrades seem to have inherent issues, whereas the full versions are a fresh start with no upgrade issues to contend with. We highly advocate Microsoft Windows XP!! Very stable, easy to use Operating System!!
>>Back Up All Data that you don’t want to lose during the wipe. You WILL lose all data, when you wipe your drive! Do not overlook this step. In fact, you should be doing weekly or, at the very least, monthly backups of your data if you run a business anyway. This should just be a last minute back up, NOT a huge, ‘I have never backed up before’, backup.
Here are the types of data to back up:
- Fonts (If you collect fonts like we do, this is a big issue! Do not forget to back this folder up. Do a search for the folder on your hard drive called FONTS.)
- My Favorites or My Bookmarks (Depending on which Browser you use, the folder will be named one of the above. This will back up all those site links you have been collecting. Wouldn’t want to have to reproduce that list, huh?)
- My Documents (This folder is where you should be putting all your saved Office Documents, like, WORD, EXCEL, PUBLISHER, POWER POINT, etc. If you have been saving any type of documents, like databases, or what not, in another location, not under My Documents, you need to back up that folder too!)
- My Downloads…we have a folder on our desktop called My Downloads and every time we download a shareware program, an upgrade that we bought online and didn’t get the CD for it, a browser upgrade, or anything like that, we save the .exe and Read Me files in that folder. That way, we can back up this folder and sit there and click the Set Up files on all these programs after the drive is wiped and we are reloading our programs and we don’t have to try to remember what all we lost that didn’t have actual CD’s and go to the download site and download it again and go through all that hassle. Now it is backed up in one folder making our lives and our reload so easy!!
- Financial Info and Programs need to be backed up. You should be using the backup feature that these come with to do daily backups of this data, but if you aren’t, at least do it now. Programs included in this are Microsoft Money, Quick Books, Quicken, Peach Tree Accounting, Turbo Tax, etc. Use the backup data utility in any or all of these types of business and financial programs that you use at the last minute before you wipe, so you get the latest and greatest version of the data. Make sure no one in your office uses these programs after you have done the backup, so you don’t loose that last bit of data!!
- My Music folder should be where you are keeping all those mp3’s that you have downloaded. If not, get them all backed up, where ever they reside on your hard drive.
- My Pictures folder is on newer OS set ups. If you have this folder or any digital camera image folders on your drive, back them up.
- If you use, Dreamweaver…for designing web sites, or another such program…there are things called Site Definitions that you will want to back up. You will also want to back up all your sites in their folder(s).
- If you use Adobe Photoshop or another such design software, make sure you back up your plugins and so forth.
- Last but not least, do a last minute export of your Microsoft Outlook (or Outlook Express) folders, files and emails, by using the import/export utility found under the tab at the top called ‘File’. Save all your folders and sub folders from InBox to Contacts as one .pst file. This file may be too large to save on a CD, you might have to save it on a zip disk or another hard drive.
Here are different ways to back up:
- Probably the easiest way to back things up is to have an extra hard drive installed on your system that doesn’t have an OS on it, but is just for storage. I drag and drop my folders and files to save right on over there on a weekly basis as I close up shop for the night every Monday night, and then I have a week old back up no matter what happens to my current hard drive with the OS on it. This is where I back up all my stuff at the last minute before I do a hard drive wipe also.
HARDWARE TIP: There are empty slots in your computer tower for extra hard drives to be installed…most of you have a guru friend that can easily do this is you are not up to speed on adding hardware to your system. I have two extra hard drives on my system. One is hard wired in and the other one sits in a special drawer that can slide in and out and I can do major backups of my whole hard drive onto it every three months and then I store it off site in my safety deposit box at the bank in case of fire at my office. For those of you who run businesses, this IS the best data storage practice and you should be using it. Ask at your local computer parts store about such a removable hard drive drawer and get your office data protected today!!
- Another way to back up is to use a zip drive…if you have one, you already know what do to with it…just start using it for weekly or monthly backups from now on and for a major one before you wipe.
- Lastly, almost all of the things that I have mentioned could be burned onto CD’s for storage outside your computer, which can be a good thing too, in case of a major meltdown in your computer that could affect all hard drives, whether they had an OS on them or not.
- Usually a combination of all of the above can be your best bet, for both regular and major back ups!
>>Wiping Your Hard Drive doesn’t have to be a big deal if you have done all of the above.
Instructions for Windows 95 and 98 (God Forbid you are still using these OS’s) Click here for detailed instructions.
Instructions for Windows XP (God Bless you if you are using this OS!) This OS allows a CD boot, meaning that you have to do nothing but put the CD in the player and reboot and it will walk you through the steps from there. When it asks you if you want to format the drive and gives you the warning about your losing data, say YES…this is what gives you that nice fresh start you want.