Start the New Year Off Right – Back-up and Reformat

The start of the New Year offers the perfect excuse to do some housekeeping work on your computer. I’m a Windows user, so I’m going to share some Windows specific advice on how to backup and reformat.

At the very least, do a backup of your most important data. Hopefully, any documents, photos, templates, and files of significance live in your “My Documents” folder. There’s a high likelihood that you could backup that folder alone and be OK.

If you are a music lover, you might not be able to fit all of your data on a CD or DVD (even though double layer DVDs let you back-up close to 9 GBs!). That’s where something like an iPod can come into play. You can throw all your music onto it (if you haven’t already) during the backup process.

There are also some newer tools that can make backups an easier process. Carbonite is one such tool – it offers online backup. While I’ve not personally used it, many in the blogosphere have spoken highly of it.

Once you’ve done a backup and ensured you are good to go, I suggest reformatting your hard drive. Even if you optimize your registry, defrag your drive, and run other maintenance utilities throughout the year, there is no better way to recoup the performance of your machine then to wipe the slate clean.

Before you do that, make sure you have: 1) A copy of your OS (in my case, Windows XP Pro). 2) The drivers for your hardware (if you have the re-install disc from your computer’s manufacturer, the OS and drivers will likely be on the same CD). 3) An inventory of the programs you want to reinstall.

Don’t be afraid if you have never re-formatted your drive. It’s a pretty simple process and there are a lot of great resources on the web that can assist you.

Here’s to faster computing in 2007!