This nice, pretty, high-powered Falcon-Northwest Mach V PC sure does look good. Shame it is such a rotten PC otherwise!!
I have had problems since the first week I had it - it's 18 months old now. Whatever its problems, I have no doubt that I need to start over again.
What I don't know is whether I should just wipe it and perform a clean install of XP Pro, or run a Windows Repair. Searching for tech help on repairs, it looks like if I go that way I would probably do well to use Autostreamer and stream all MS update patches along with XP Pro. I haven't done this before so this will be a learning experience. I can't remember whether or not this PC came with SP2 already installed or not, so I'm not sure whether or not I need to autostream that also.
Then again, there is another option - I have a restore CD that came with the PC from Falcon Northwest. I'll have to read up on exactly what they included with that. There wasn't any "junk software" pre-installed on this PC - I made sure to specify that when I had it built. Actually there were a few performance benchmark demos and a cheap version of Nero that they used to test the PC before shipping it, but no other junk that I can remember.
I also have my Acronis images that I could restore, but wouldn't they contain a lot of whatever crap/corrupted stuff that I am trying to clean out now? I didn't have Acronis at the beginning, so there is no image of a fresh installation. Personally I think that is the best way to use Acronis - an image immediately after a fresh install and then keep up with regular images from there. Starting six or eight months into PC usage may restore some of the junk I am hoping to lose.
Prior to doing any of this I am going to use SFFS to sync ALL folders that might have any user data. I already use SFFS to sync all my important data and media files, but I don't necessarily have synced versions of the C:\Program Files folders that might have important data, nor all of the folders in the various Application Data folders. So I am taking a Seagate 500 GB external USB drive that is hardly used, formatting it, and I'm going to sync ALL possible locations of any user data scattered around my PC. That way if - after I am finished with whatever recovery that I end up choosing - whenever I manage to get back up and running if I notice I am missing something important that I cannot find in any of the My Documents data folders, hopefully I can search through that external drive and find it in one of the other folders. I am also scouring the PC to find any purchased applications that were downloaded and burn them - along with their registration keys, etc. - to CDs.
Any suggestions about which method I should use to clean up this PC and start over again? Or any other tips and hints before I get started? Not having done this before I am sure that some have discovered some things that I would rather not find out the hard way, if possible!! All advice is appreciated!! Thanks!