Infopost | 2007.05.10

I still hear 'my laptop dies after five minutes' quite often, but even more I'm getting 'my computer is slow'.

My computer is slow. Nah. Computers don't get slow. That's the beauty of electronics. They don't wear out. And they only die because of failed mechanical components (fans, hard drives).

Well then why does it take five minutes for Word to start up? Simply? Because Windows has become bloated and slow.

Der! That's what I meant by 'my computer is slow'. Yeah but it costs you $800 to replace your computer, it costs you $0 to replace Windows. That sleeve of ten discs that came with your computer is pure gold.

What, like replace XP with Vista? Oh hell no. There's a huge difference between Windows on those discs and Windows on your computer. Windows on those discs is pure as snow, Windows on your computer has for several years managed your documents, photos, spyware, music, internet settings, installed applications, etc.

Okay so I want to replace the dirty old Windows on my computer with the pure Windows on the discs. How? Or just ask someone.

But technology changes so fast, isn't my computer out of date anyway? Maybe five years after it was built. No sooner. Think of how fast everything was when you just bought the computer. Well the computer is still the same, the copy of Windows on the cd is still the same, the only thing different is that ugly copy of Windows on your computer.

Okay so the cd copy of Windows hasn't changed in two years, but what about Winamp, Excel, and Firefox? They'd lose a lot of customers if their applications required cutting edge technology.

How often do I have to do this reinstall thing? Less often than you have to change your oil. There are many factors that accellerate or inhibit Windows' demise:
Why would Microsoft do this? Doesn't it hurt their business? Explanation 1: Their programmers just aren't very good.
Explanation 2: It's a great business model. Joe Consumer's 'computer gets slow' so he buys a new one. Clearly he is not faulting Microsoft because he's going to Dell or IBM for the replacement. And with that replacement comes another copy of Windows. Cha-ching.

Is it bad that I didn't know this? Nope. I know quite a few programmers and computer science professors who buy new computers on a regular basis for this very reason. I dread the day I have to ask IT at my company for a reinstall disc.


Little Thingies

How i keep my PC running clean:

i'll agree with you that overall, re-installs are necessary for computer maintenance. A once a year is prolly on a good maintenance schedule, and this topic once again reminds me that I must keep my back-ups up-to-date. I am simply resistant to re-install. Not now. not when i have the computer setup to exactly how i like it.


Reinstalling is a brute-force way to solve a specific issue. You can be more delicate about your problem. But the simple fact is that with Windows reinstalls are necessary computer maintenance.

so, if my computer did not come with windows and i have no disks and my computer science roomate installed XP for me back then, what do i do when it is slow now? is it worth buying a real copy of windows for the disks?

You're not going to re-install windows and all your programs every time there is *something* happening to your computer performance. Re-install is a last ditch effort to fix something when all other methods are exhausted. If you can fix a problem with a defrag or a virus remover, etc., then of course, that would be the easier method than spending the next week re-installing all the programs, custom settings, and data back onto your computer. I'd prefer to find out the actual cause of the problem first and see if there is a fix before wiping everything out and starting from a new slate. The problem may occur again if one does not determine what caused it.

Hey CS did this blog entry BLOW. YOUR. MIND.