The Ultimate Solution!
When you take a faulty PC to that big shop in the out-of-town shopping centre or phone up the supplierÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s help line they may eventually resort to the Ultimate Solution - Reinstall Windows.
This is the quickest way for them to solve most problems other than faulty hardware. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to waste time trying to find the causes of your problem because reinstalling will solve them all.
Most new PCs donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come with a Windows disk - instead they have a hidden partition on the hard disk that contains an image of the original disk contents when it left the factory.
So if you have to resort to reinstalling from the hidden partition you will loose everything that has happened since the day you got the PC. But at least your PC will work properly again!
I like to try to solve the particular problem, but after a while it is no longer cost or time effective to continue. Rather than go for The Ultimate Solution I like to resort to what I call:
The Penultimate Solution
Microsoft calls this an Ã¢â‚¬Å“in-place upgradeÃ¢â‚¬Â and all it means is that you overwrite your existing Windows files with an undamaged set.
This is not guaranteed to cure all problems because it does not, for instance, replace the Registry, but in many cases it does work and you do not loose any of your work or programs.
But to do it you need a Windows CD for the appropriate version of Windows with the correct service pack built in (but see the next tip). And nerves of steel!
If you can still get into Windows then before you begin you should run the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard and transfer the resulting file somewhere safe, just in case the whole thing goes belly up and you have to resort to The Ultimate Solution.
If you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get into Windows then I would use a Linux live CD to boot the PC and copy off your important documents to a USB drive.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also advisable to take and store a copy of wpa.dbl - see Product Activation after a Reinstall. And note down your Windows Registration number off the side of your PC. You might need them both if it all goes wrong.
Rather than me repeat it here, the method is well documented by Microsoft. Go to www.microsoft.com and put 315341 into the search box.
Windows news and information.
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