Jump to content

Formatting the hard drive


Gelf
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I have had my laptop for about 4 years now and it has done fairly well to avoid too many problems. It is now however getting quite slow. How hard is it to format a hard drive?

Is this my best option? Have others done it? What problems can I expect?

cheers

Gelf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Formatting your hard drive and/or reinstalling Windows sadly aren't the magical solutions they're said to be.

There are three things you can do:

  1. Uninstall programs you don't use tutorial here
  2. Defrag your harddrive xp tutorial here
  3. run C-Cleaner to tidy up your PC excellent tutorial here

If you have any questions feel free to PM me

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the laptop came pre-installed then the big issue you may run into is that you don't have the install discs to start again, also the laptops often don't come with the full serial number to reinstall from.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not hard to go through the procedure, but as gordon pointed out it's not easy to explain unless we know more about what you have.

In order to reinstall Windows (which is what you're implying by saying that you want to format the drive, assuming that you mean format the operating system drive) you'll need an installation CD and your licence key. The licence key is usually on a sticker on the machine, and of the form: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX.

We can help you further when we know whether you have these things or not.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I had the windows cd in the box for the laptop, just got it out of the loft and there is no cd :pc:

I have a thing on the start menu called "Vaio Recovery centre" that will restore the factory settings but im not sure if that includes windows. I have the Key sticker on the underside of the laptop if that helps.

So is re-installing windows not as good as I have read then?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So is re-installing windows not as good as I have read then?

It has its advantages but it's not the be-all and end-all. It's not guaranteed to noticeably increase performance because it depends on what is causing your system to be slow.

I would suggest that you look at some other things instead.

How full is your hard-drive? (Right click it in My Computer and select Properties) A very full system drive will quickly degrade performance because the system needs a bit of spare space to "breathe" (for want of a better word). Basically delete anything that you don't want anymore, and try uninstalling software that you don't need or use, particularly things like security scanners which also use the CPU by running automatically in the background, and which in some cases provide no benefit. This is one of the things that re-installing Windows helps to clear out.

You can then run a Disk Cleanup (the button to the bottom right of the pie-chart in the drive properties. Tick all the check-boxes in the list), which will delete all kinds of temporary system files and empty the Recycle Bin to permanently free up the space.

If you can be bothered you might want to then perform a disk defragment (under the Tools tab of the drive properties) which will reorganise any fragments of files on the disk to speed up access to them. (Note to any SSD users: defragmenting is not necessary, and just causes extra wear on your drive, so don't bother.)

If you suspect your drive might be faultering or causing more than performance issues then you could run a chkdsk (disk check), which on the OS drive will be scheduled to be performed after a restart. To do it, go the the Check Now button on the Tools tab. Tick both options.

Those are just some hard-drive related things to try first, but there are obviously other areas to look at for performance. Are you running a lot of unnecessary junk at startup? Do you have enough RAM?

Hard drives do have a life (as in, they will start failing sooner or later). It's easy to have them replaced so that's one possible upgrade you could make.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, Sit Rep:

Tonight I have uninstalled some programs and run C-Cleaner. I have HDD Defrag setup to run once a week so I dont know that will make much diffrence but il do it tomorrow at some point as I have deleted some programs.

This has made it a bit faster but I think things could still be improved.

I have used 134gb out of 224gb on my HDD. I have a spare brand new 500gb HDD that I could put in but I dont have any software to mirror my current HDD. I take it it would be worth my while to swap them over? Is linux any good?

I have 3GB RAM (a 2gb and a 1gb card) I can get a 2gb card (to replace the 1gb) for under 20 quid, it it worth looking into or will it not make that much diffrence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a thing on the start menu called "Vaio Recovery centre" that will restore the factory settings but im not sure if that includes windows. I have the Key sticker on the underside of the laptop if that helps.

So is re-installing windows not as good as I have read then?

If you really want to go the whole hog, run Vaio Recovery Centre and go back to factory settings. This will completely reinstall windows and your PC will run smoother than the proverbial baby's bum. However this is fairly drastic as it'll completely wipe your hard drive - if you're going to do this make sure you back up all your important pictures music and documents on a USB drive or similar, and that you're prepared to reinstall any programs you need (like Office, iTunes, whatever you use).

Also the process takes about an hour and a quarter maybe, so make sure you have the time when you sit down to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is linux any good?

That is a subject that will open a massive can of worms, if you don't know much about it then you probably want to stay away from it.

None of your existing software will work on it, but on the other hand 99% of the software for Linux is free.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, Sit Rep:

Tonight I have uninstalled some programs and run C-Cleaner. I have HDD Defrag setup to run once a week so I dont know that will make much diffrence but il do it tomorrow at some point as I have deleted some programs.

This has made it a bit faster but I think things could still be improved.

I have used 134gb out of 224gb on my HDD.

I have a spare brand new 500gb HDD that I could put in but I dont have any software to mirror my current HDD. I take it it would be worth my while to swap them over? Is linux any good?

I have 3GB RAM (a 2gb and a 1gb card) I can get a 2gb card (to replace the 1gb) for under 20 quid, it it worth looking into or will it not make that much diffrence?

Cool beans. That's not too full so no problems there, but the brand new 500GB drive would almost certainly be a little faster. You could take it to a computer shop and ask them to image your current drive (effectively copy it verbatim) to the new one, which isn't hard so shouldn't cost you much.

Going from 3GB to 4GB of RAM will make almost no difference unless you do demanding things like play big modern games or do photo or video editing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...

Try it in safe mode if it works fine try stripping msconfig, if no better recover it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re-installing your OS is the best thing you can do.

If your System is OEM based (Dell, HP, etc etc) then go right ahead and re-install because Windows OS will auto activate on an OEM machine. Most if not all now will have an inbult recovery option or will be supplied with disks or finally ask you to make a recovery disk when you 1st got the PC/Laptop.

If it is custom built then obviously get you Product Key to hand.

Keep a backup of all your files you want to keep on a seperate HDD/USB.

Reinstalling shouldn't take more then 40-50 mins.

Factory resetting is effectivly getting a "like new" machine, just as you 1st switched it on, only thing I dislike is the "bloatware" OEM company install.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There should be a recovery partition on the hard drive, which by what you've said is the case - basically it's hidden so you can't use the space but if you need to bring the laptop back to as new then it is there to do so.

It will, of course, install all of the software that Sony wants you to have.

Your other option is to borrow a Windows CD/DVD - of the correct version, Windows Basic/Home/Business/Ultimate, 32-bit or 64-bit - and install from the CD/DVD using the product code on your laptop, this means you end up with bare Windows, none of the extra software.

In regards to the hard drive - laptops are typically factory installed with a 5,400rpm drive, due to them being mobile devices. Desktop PC's are typically installed with 7,200rpm drives; less commonly 10,000rpm, 15,000rpm and SSD drives.

The higher the rpm the faster the drive. For a laptop sized drive you can get (as an upgrade) a 7,200rpm drive, a SSD drive or a Hybrid drive, which is a 750GB 7,200rpm drive paired with 8GB of SSD space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your other option is to borrow a Windows CD/DVD - of the correct version, Windows Basic/Home/Business/Ultimate, 32-bit or 64-bit - and install from the CD/DVD using the product code on your laptop, this means you end up with bare Windows, none of the extra software.

That will not activate Windows due to it not having the "certificate (xrm-ms)" pre-installed on the disk. That might be a case of ringing Microsoft and talking to an automated machine.

Anyway, let us know how you get on!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...