Reformatting a Computer is a Tedious Process

About a week ago, my parents provided me with the recovery discs that originally came with the eMachines computer they gave my family last year.  The computer has been running dreadfully slowly since they gave it to us, and it’s been getting worse by the week.

Of course, the kids are the main users of the computer, so I’m sure it’s become chock full of all kinds of tracking cookies, spyware, adware and everything else from the various things they try to download.  Therefore, I decided to completely reconfigure the computer, starting with the recovery disc.

I backed up the handful of files that were on the computer that I needed, and then restarted with the recovery disc in the drive.

The recovery process went pretty smoothly, actually.  I had to change the disc once, to put in the second recovery disc, but other than that, there was no real interaction needed from me.  Once the recovery process was completed, I needed to start setting up the rest of the machine.

The first hurdle I had to overcome was the fact that the XP installation that came with the computer doesn’t seem to recognize the wireless security I had enabled through my router.  I struggled with that for about four hours, trying to figure out why the wireless connection kept getting connected and disconnected over and over again.

Finally, I decided to remove the security settings from my router and test the Internet connection that way.

Next, I had to install and configure my Norton 360 installation.  With all of the updates and initial scans that need to be done when that’s first installed, that took about another four hours.

Once that was completed, I needed to start dealing with the immense amount of security patches and updates that have been released for XP since the computer was manufactured.  That actually took about three days to complete.

Then, I started to install the handful of programs I wanted to make available to the kids.  The first program I installed was TuxPaint, which is the absolute favorite of my four-year-old.

I then got Firefox installed, and moved onto installing Office 2007.  Next, I installed Parental Filter, but the new version doesn’t seem to work nearly as well as the version I had previously installed.  Therefore, I installed an add-on for Firefox called FoxFilter, which seems to work very nicely (I’ll probably write a review of that at a later date), and then worked on removing all of the obvious shortcuts to IE, so that they and their friends will have trouble using anything but Firefox.

Finally, I moved onto the step of trying to network my Vista machine with the XP family machine.  That took a good bit of work, too, but that’s a story for another post.

All in all, however, the process took me about a week and a half to complete.  It’s kind of ridiculous that it takes that long to configure a computer as simple as that one after reformatting it.  I can’t imagine how long it would take me to reconfigure my Vista machine whenever I decide to restore it to its factory settings.  With all of the software I have to have installed on that computer, I don’t even want to think about it.

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