reformat drive or just clean it up?

Written by Jeff Harrison
December 1, 2012
A user asked me:
“My current main computer is in need of reloading Windows due to old software installations and other issues. Should I re-format the hard drive?”
Reformatting is ok, but not for the faint of heart. I’d only do it if that drive has years of life left in it, and only because I have the knowledge and confidence to proceed with that extreme endeavor.
I always avoid doing it though – and instead opt to:
A. Clean up the drive with free tools like Piriform’s CCleaner and their defrag prog
B. Empty out your browser cache.
C. Delete temp files:
  1. Press Windows Key+R
  2. Type: %temp%
  3. Then select and delete contents of that folder.
In my many years of experience, I find most systems just need an oil change, not a new engine… 🙂
If you choose to reformat: if drive is 4+ years old – I’d consider picking up a new drive. 
reformat, you have one chance to save critical data. I don’t know
how or where you save your work files, and other things like email
addresses, internet bookmarks, downloaded emails etc.
To summarize, clean up the system first – that’s often enough to achieve better performance!

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Jeff Harrison

Jeff Harrison is a media "Jack-of-all-trades", familiar with most of the major media applications on the Windows platform. Whether it's 2D/print, 3D, audio, video, or web-related - he's working on mastering everything that comes his way. He's a past Alpha and Beta tester for Corel, and has instructed students from all over the world. He runs the popular site, the #1 place for CorelDRAW macros. Also check out his youtube page, and his gallery at

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