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Windows XP Home Workstation 'Re & Re, revamp'

I support an 8 station Microsoft network.  All stations (2003) run windows xp home sp2.  They have never been reformated and reinstalled, but due to erratic behavior and inefficient speed, I would like to finally "bite the bullet" and revamp them all.  As I am not a 'techny' anymore, I need your input on how to go about this.  

They are all IBM ThinkCentre 8194 A8U, I have no OS on CD.  
How do I save current data...on CD, or partition a drive
What program do  you recommend as a tool?

Please advise...and inform if you need more information.  

Sandy
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Sandrazee
Asked:
Sandrazee
3 Solutions
 
jasfoutCommented:
>All stations (2003) run windows xp home sp2.  They have never been reformated and reinstalled, but due to erratic behavior and inefficient speed, I would like to finally "bite the bullet" and revamp them all.

Have you already scanned for spyware/viruses? removed unneccessary startup programs?


>I have no OS on CD.
IBM's website did not offer much so...Do you have restore disks? or is there a restore partition on the machines? If no disks, no partition, then there must some IBM software that allows you to create the restore CD.


>How do I save current data...on CD, or partition a drive
What program do  you recommend as a tool?

I have found the most trouble-free way, is to use  Norton Ghost to copy data from the working drive to a reliable spare drive  before attempting re-install.  Burning to a CD can be trouble if you do not get all needed data...such as email or other hidden directories.
http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/products/backup_recovery/ghost10/index.html
As far as partitioning PowerQuest Partition Magic cant be beat if you have an older version such as 7. If you must purchase it, Symantec has recently aquired the company and I have not used their new version but it gets very high ratings still.
http://www.partitionmagic.com/home_homeoffice/products/system_performance/pm80/index.html
*note if these machines have a 'restore' partition you may not want to change any partitions unless you are very careful
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pegasysCommented:
1) Save everything from c:\Documents and Settings to somewhere
2) Reinstall
3) Copy back the contents of the user profile which was under Documents and settings

Presto
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jasfoutCommented:
Some software such as many Intuit applications do not save all personal data to Doc's&Set's. So if you are going the pegasys route make sure to investigate that beforehand.  Also you may inform your users to move anything that they do want to keep into MyDoc's prior to reinstall.

Personally I would reinstall as a last resort, because there is always some misplaced file that is needed but not backed up(unless you ghost).
If you are looking to "revamp...due to erratic behavior and inefficient speed" I would first check for/remove malware and remove unneccessary startup programs on one of the machines to see if it is acceptable.


In addition if you feel that you need a 'fresh install' every so often, you make want to create a ghost image of the freshly installed system with all of your applications already installed, so that you can easily go back whenever you want.
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antonafCommented:
If you re-building your entire network and starting from scratch then I must agree "ghosting" (Symantec Ghost) is your best option.  You should backup all your data before ghosting the machine.  I would suggest backing up each user profile data such as: My Documents, Favorites, Desktop, Cookies (optional).  Go to C:\Documents & Settings\username\....

If you have a handful of users on these machines then it may be easier to invest in a backup tool or use the backup tool provided by XP (http://www.microsoft.com/athome/moredone/backupfiles.mspx)

Now that's the simple & easy solution, if your systems is not complicated.  If you have many programs and want everything on your system restored to its normal state then  you would need a tool such as Symantec LiveState (http://www.symantec.com/Products/enterprise?c=prodinfo&refId=858), but for this to be most effective the system should have been backed up prior to the failing state, otherwise youi will restore the system to the way it is now!  

As suggested by jasfout, I would be sure that the system is completed cleaned and patched.  It can save you loads of trouble.

If speed is an issue then I would suggest looking at the network for any bottlenecks...maybe a bad cable, bad router, upgrade all hardware (routers, switches, hubs, etc.) with the proper firmware installs.  Update all systems (operating systems) with the proper patches, hotfixes, etc.  More than likely you are having issues unrelated to a reinstall if you are experieincing speed issues across all computers....unless all computers are infected with viruses/spyware....Install a good anit-virus software, such as: Anti-Vir, AVG, TrendMicro, BitDefender, etc. and also install a good spyware/adware tool such as: Lavasoft, Spybot, Yahoo! Toolbar (run Anti-Spy).  Install these programs and immediately after the install run a "check for updates" then run the scan, remove any malicous code or files it finds.

Hope this helps!
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jasfoutCommented:
Some software such as many Intuit applications do not save all personal data to Doc's&Set's. So if you are going the pegasys route make sure to investigate that beforehand.  Also you may inform your users to move anything that they do want to keep into MyDoc's prior to reinstall.

Personally I would reinstall as a last resort, because there is always some misplaced file that is needed but not backed up(unless you ghost).
If you are looking to "revamp...due to erratic behavior and inefficient speed" I would first check for/remove malware and remove unneccessary startup programs on one of the machines to see if it is acceptable.


In addition if you feel that you need a 'fresh install' every so often, you make want to create a ghost image of the freshly installed system with all of your applications already installed, so that you can easily go back whenever you want.
0
 
jasfoutCommented:
Some software such as many Intuit applications do not save all personal data to Doc's&Set's. So if you are going the pegasys route make sure to investigate that beforehand.  Also you may inform your users to move anything that they do want to keep into MyDoc's prior to reinstall.

Personally I would reinstall as a last resort, because there is always some misplaced file that is needed but not backed up(unless you ghost).
If you are looking to "revamp...due to erratic behavior and inefficient speed" I would first check for/remove malware and remove unneccessary startup programs on one of the machines to see if it is acceptable.


In addition if you feel that you need a 'fresh install' every so often, you make want to create a ghost image of the freshly installed system with all of your applications already installed, so that you can easily go back whenever you want.
0
 
imacgoufCommented:
Hi  Sandrazee,

The below software allows you Migrate safely, migrate quickly, Migrate Easy! Similar to Ghost which also allows you to clone your harddisk.
Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/migrateeasy/
Quickly and easily deploy a new hard disk on your PC or laptop — migrate all data, operating systems, programs, and everything else automatically!

Another Software
Acronis True Image 9.0 Home provides you with two backup options in one software:
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

1) Our original disk imaging backup option which enables you to create an image of your entire hard disk drive, including the operating system, applications, user settings, and all data. Use the image to restore your PC to a known working state without any reinstallation.

2) A new file-based backup option which enables you to backup and restore individual files and folders, like your My Documents folder or a specific file, like your latest tax return. A software wizard walks you through all of the steps.

As for how you can recover your IBM ThinkCenter to Factory Default, you can view the information from here
Never do this till you are sure everything has been backup properly.
http://www-306.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=MIGR-51248

The below is a brief extract from the site mentioned for your reference...
The Access IBM Predesktop Area has a button to Allow You to Recover your Whole Harddrive to Factory Contents.

Access IBM Predesktop Area
The Access IBM Predesktop area is the main entry point. You can access the predesktop area by pressing the Enter key or the blue Access IBM button on your keyboard during startup. you will be presented with a graphical interface with multiple sections (see below). You will see a task based interface. The activity can then be selected by clicking the desired tasks. The accessibility features are supported as well. for example, you can use the tab key to highlight the desired taks and press Enter.
Read more at the IBM sites provided earlier

Helpful Utility
Download Belarc advisor.exe www.belarc.com to capture your hardware and software for each workstations

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