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Reformatting Too May Times Harmful?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sharky, Jan 7, 2004.

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  1. sharky

    sharky Thread Starter

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    I have a second computer that i use to download MANY software progams(games,utilities,etc.) and try out. i would say well over thousands of different programs.

    needless to say,i have to clean out that computer alot.

    which brings me to this,i have reformatted the hard drive about once a week,sometimes 2 or 3 times,over a year.

    Is there such a thing as reformatting too many times? its a small 7.5GB hard drive.

    thanks
     
  2. buddhafabio

    buddhafabio

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    actually security reasons it is good to reformat that often (as long as you reinstall the security patches for windows). But all you need to worry about is increased wear and tear on your harddrive. have you thought about just uninstalling through your control panel?
     
  3. Byteman

    Byteman Gone but Never Forgotten

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    hiya, I could not think of saying yes or no, there are too many "ifs" involved. Drives are made to work and work hard.
    The lockups and bad shutdowns or electrical damage by static, bad power supplies, surges are far worse than formatting.
    Heat, banging around, fragementation also.
    There are some things you can do to make sure the drive is healthy and to warn you if anything is about to happen.
    Drive manufacturer's provide free diagnostic software that can test the drive from a bootdisk---these tests are easy to do.
    It's basically like old DOS programs with the 2 or 3 color screens....like an antivirus bootup scanner when it finds a bug...
    They usually also have a program that after checking the drive out, you can reset it, called zeroing out a drive....some also can certify your drive as factory condition....though you probably arent concerned about that with an old, small test hard drive.
    If you have ever seen bad sectors /clusters using scandisk from DOS prompt, you know what I mean....the ones marked with a "B" that Windows cannot use due to some damage-
    a few of the drive manufacturer's diagnostics can clear up those bad areas of the disk, not always but fairly often.
    Some of the software is meant only for a certain brand of drive, some can be used with other brands.
    HERE: http://support.wdc.com/dlg/disclaim.asp
    Western Digital, does it online, or you can download Data Lifeguard Tools.... used to be called wddiag.
    About SMART drive technology::
    http://www.pcmech.com/show/harddrive/158/
    Here is a bunch, I got lazy.....
    http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287

    Here is a huge list of not only drive tools...you may find useful
    http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Diagnostics/
    many of them are free or low cost shareware.
    That will give you something to do this winter
    :D
     
  4. sharky

    sharky Thread Starter

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    perhaps i should have said if the hard drive gave out(a 7.5gb)i wouldnt feel that bad
     
  5. Byteman

    Byteman Gone but Never Forgotten

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    Sense of humor time:)

    perhaps I should have said "You'll probably find out sooner or later..."
     
  6. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I can't imagine why formatting the hard disk would cause any more wear than just using it any other way. :rolleyes: There is no issue here, IMO.
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    It should be no problem at all.

    However if you do this that often then you may want to consider a Image or Cloning program such as Norton Ghost. You could setup the OS, drivers, software, and updates once just like the way you want and then make an image of that onto a CD or another drive and then just use that image every time you want to wipe the computer. It will save your hours each time you use it.
     
  8. azanon

    azanon

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    add/remove programs is quicker. I like trying demo games myself, but add/remove programs seems very quick when i do it. Usually, i'll just do it quickly after trying it out if i didnt like one. Those demos also usually install an "uninstaller" as well which does all the work for you.

    Reformatting "weekly" seems really strange to me, though it shouldnt hurt the drive.
     
  9. Byteman

    Byteman Gone but Never Forgotten

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    I think sharky is interested in seeing what does what to whom-
    so, he reformats to set up the "clean" environment to test programs....which a lot of people do not do....they pile up games, freeware and other apps, then cannot figure out just which is giving the video, sound, or other errors....if you do not get a program specific problem message, sometimes it is very hard to "blame" a certain program. Uninstalling just after you try something out is a very good idea if it behaves badly.
    Formatting should be performed and finished up the same each time of course, the same updates, same hardware- to have a comparison point that really means anything....the expression "comparing apples to apples" is often heard about things like this.
    Computer users will run into one or more programs that will just not behave right- and I dont mean just Windows...;)
    Installing also creates files all over the drive....uninstalling can be tricky when you have leftover or shared .dll files, for instance.
    If it's just a sort of testing machine /drive, there would be no real harm in formatting weekly. Good practice and a chance to learn the steps, make improvements, try out what you learn about the whole process, too.
    As a reply above had in it- making an image of the hard drive in just-freshly installed, updated condition is a great way to quickly replace operating system and start "all over".
    Taking into the problems we face these days using many apps that do contain some malware, well as the virus and worm threats- setting things back to original shape would be the best thing to do for sharky. As long as it's not a machine you cannot risk losing important data on or chance having a reinstall go flaky, I'd say do whatever you want....good techs even go out of their way sometimes to "infect" a computer to test antivirus or spyware apps....you can bet they format a lot, if a drive bites the bullet, they stick new one in and continue. Note- you can wear things out in the process, it of course is going to affect all the hardware in the system, not just the hard drive....lot's of restarting, using floppy disk drive, CD drive, etc....but if you want to play like this, it can be done. The fresh install just gives you a way to even the playing field.
     
  10. sharky

    sharky Thread Starter

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    bullseye byteman! some notorious software that comes to mind is the kind that blocks pops up. some programs end up blocking everything,blab,blab,blab. try undoing them can be challenging. Optimizers of internet connections can cause unexpected troubles.
     
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