This is the worst nightmare for any of us. Having to Format and re-install windows. And no matter how careful you are with installing software, a time comes when some software does not uninstall properly, or messes up your system, or even a virus attacks windows! There are many cases where Formatting is the only option left. Formatting the PC takes at least around 2 hours to get back everything to normal working conditions, as in re-installing all software, setting them up, just the way you like it. But here, im gonna tell you a trick which does all that within 5 minutes! Interested? Read on! We will use disk imaging to create an image of our windows partition. But its just not that! The key is to create a good image, and keep it organised. A list of software we would need:

First, we will have to organise our windows partition. The key to this is that we have to keep only windows and program files on our windows partition. We will keep all other data (documents, photos, music, movies, backups, etc.) on a different partition. We will keep the windows partition around 8-10 GB. For those of us who just have one partition, or have a BIG C:\ drive, i have a solution. Acronis Disk Director comes in here. We download it, do a complete install and then restart. Then, when we start disk director, we are presented with the following screen:

Start Screen DD

Here, we select Manual Mode. Then we are greeted with the main window of Disk Director.

Main Windows DD

This is a screen shot from my PC. Do not bother about the last three items listed there. Those are Linux partitions. What we have to do is right click on the C:\ drive, and select resize. Then, go to the edge of the disk when the mouse pointer changes as shown, just click and drag it until the partition is of 8-10 GB. If we have less free space in C:\ drive, we will have to do so in steps. As in, make C:\ a little smaller, make D:\ a little bigger, then transfer some data from C:\ to D:\ then again resize C:\ and so on..


After making C:\ smaller, we will transfer the free space so created to D:\ by again resizing D:\ in the same way. For those of us who had just one partition to begin with, we right click on the unallocated space and select create partition. Then make this new partition as big as the rest of the free space left. After making all these changes, we press the Commit Changes button (The third button from the left, yes, the one with the flag!). We would be required to re-boot the PC. After the PC re-starts, we have to make sure the changes have been made by checking the drives in My Computer. Congrats! Now we are done with the difficult part! Now we transfer all our useful data to D:\. After this, we format our PC, and install windows on C:\. After windows is installed, we install all the drivers related to our hardware. Then install the most frequently used software like music players, messengers etc. Do not install rarely used software or frequently updated software (Antivirus, Firewall, Antispyware, etc.). Also install all necessary windows updates. Install Acronis True Image now. Once we are done with installing our software, we install Crap Cleaner. Then open Crap Cleaner, and click on the Analyze button.

Crap Cleaner

Then click on the Run Cleaner button. Now we are done with all the junk files on the PC. Once we are done with that, we install Perfect Disk. Open Perfect Disk and right click on C:\ Drive and select Offline Defragment.

Perfect Disk shot1

We select System Files and Paging File on the dialog box that appears. Then we restart the PC. After the Offline Defragmentation, windows will restart automatically. Then, we again open Perfect Disk and do a normal defragment on C:\ drive. Now the optimisation part is done. We just have to make a Disk Image using Acronis True Image now. Open True Image. We will get the following screen, note the screen may be slightly different, because im using the Enterprise Server version of True Image.

TI shot1

Click on Backup.

TI shot2

Simply click next here. Then in the following dialog box, select Entire Disk Contents or Individual partition.

TI shot3

Then select your C:\ drive in the next dialog box.

TI shot4

In the next dialog box, choose where to save the Disk Image. Do not save it on C:\. After that just let all setting be left on defaults, and just keep pressing next until the Image is made. Everything is done now. After this, you can install the remaining software (Antivirus, firewall, etc.). Now the next time you feel like formatting, just open True Image again, and select Recovery, browse to the Image file, Select Restore disks or partitions, then restore C:\ to C:\. The PC will then restart, True Image will restore the drive, and after that, we will have a perfectly running system back again! 🙂