options on wiping my machine, new hard drive or not ?

My home PC is 4 1/2 years old, still hanging in there, but it's too slow and still has memory / performance issues that prevent me from using it for heavy work. For example, it sometimes craps out, like when the Start button doesn't do anything. Today, when I opened Control Panel, it was blank. But after re-booting, the PC works fine, although generally sluggish.

I've upgraded memory and had multiple EE posts, and I kept the machine operational for over 2 years of wrestling with it. I no longer have BSOD, they used to be a routine occurrence. I also have Malwarbytes and Windows Essentials, that seems to be fine.

Main upgrades I did were two new memory modules (total 4 GB ram), and upgraded to Windows 7 ultimate from Vista.

So I want to wipe the machine and load up Windows 7 which I can get via MSDN subscription. What do you think of buying a new HD to start completely from scratch ? I could then use my current HD as an external drive and all the files would be there. I realize I'd have to re-load software like Office, etc.

I figured it might be a little cleaner to pop in a new hard drive, load Windows 7 from a boot drive, and then just use my old HD as an external drive.

Would I be gaining anything by using a new HD ? My current PC is just sluggish and I was thinking that a new HD would help. Would any of my current issues "transfer" to a clean install even by wiping the HD ?

Here's the PC specs:
Windows 7 Ultimate, upgraded from Vista Home Premium, SP 2
HP, Model a6600f
Processor Intel Pentium Dual CPU E220 @ 2.2Ghz
4.0 GM RAM
Alaska CowboyAsked:
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A clean install could be a good idea, and doing that to a new disk is also good. maybe if you can afford it, get an SSD disk, and then connect the old one as a 2nd internal disk (it's faster that way and gives you less issues than using it externally. If you can't afford and SSD, a hybrid would also be nice and faster than a standard disk.

I also suggest installing the 64bit version of Windows 7.

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Alaska CowboyAuthor Commented:

ok, thanks for the advice, that's what I'll do. Plus I can be up and running quicker this way.

FYI, shortly after re-booting this morning and opening a few windows, I was at 94% CPU and 91% memory !
task manager
Download process explorer


Check which process is spiking cpu usage.

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Alaska CowboyAuthor Commented:
ded9, ok, thanks, I'll try that.

Rindi, I should be able to get several more years out of this machine, don't you think ? I don't really do much heavy work, basic internet stuff, and some Microsoft development, I have and will add Sql Server 2012, VS 2012, etc.
With a clean install a lot of unnecessary junk won't be running, and you probably won't be installing lots of it anyway. So the system should be fast enough and you probably won't need to run process explorer, or at least not yet.
Alaska CowboyAuthor Commented:
Rindi, I didn't know about SSD until your suggestion. Any thoughts on brand / model / etc. ? I see Samsung comes up first, around $350 for 500 GB.
You don't really need that much capacity. Smaller disks are cheaper, and you mainly need it for the OS and software, which fits nicely on quite a small disk. Remember you still have the old disk as a 2nd one for the data. Also, i suggest before starting, download the newest drivers for your PC, particularly chip-set, disk controller etc and put them onto a USB stick so you don't have any issues during the installation, and make sure the old disk isn't attached to the PC while installing.
Alaska CowboyAuthor Commented:
ok, thanks a lot.
Alaska CowboyAuthor Commented:
Rindi, I got the SSD drive and installed Windows 7 Enterprise, worked great :-)
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