what is a windows reinstallation?

Windows reinstallation is mainly necessary to recover from a catastrophic hardware failure (such as a hard drive) or recovery from an errant program, driver, virus, rootkit, or malware contaminates the PC. There are two types of reinstallations - a fresh clean installation, which fixes most all problems, and repair reinstalls, which attempts to rebuild the existing Windows foundation with the existing programs installed. When you reinstall with a fresh clean installation, you will lose all data files and programs installed on the PC!

Things to help minimize this dreaded experience from happening to you are as follows:
Invest in a battery backup. This device keeps a PC running in the event of a power failure, and it can do an orderly shut down of the PC in case of an extended outage. Sudden power interruptions can cause major problems with Windows and the programs that are running at the time of the power failure.

Keep file and image backups, and keep them up to date. Keep file backups and perform daily updates.

If you or your children tend to surf wrecklessly, or engage in Peer File Sharing, MySpace.com, or other risky activity, place you or your Kid's account under a "limited" user account. If you're running a business off your PC, consider buying children their own PC.

Use a hardware firewall, a software firewall, and an anti-virus and anti-spyware applications.

Do not used unlicensed software. This is also loosely known as "pirated software."

Many new PC's no longer ship with Operating System Recovery CD's (or DVD's). The best solution is to simply order the recovery set from the PC Manufacturer. Alternately, some PC's such as Sony and HP allow you to create a set of recovery CD's. If you go this route, make two sets of recovery media, on two different brands of media - for example the first set on TDK, the second set on RiData. If any errors are encountered in the Media creation process, the media shouldn't be trusted to perform a reliable disaster recovery.

Be cautious of stores like Micro Center, who, for $30, will reinstall Windows. This is a bare minimum installation, and will not have any Service Packs (such as Windows XP Service Pack 2). They can install it and other applications, such as Microsoft Office, but the reinstallation fees escalate at an alarming rate.

Before attempting a windows reinstallation, be sure to gather all program media (CD-Rom, Internet purchased "downloaded" software, all product keys, the PC's hardware specifics (the model of video driver, Wired and Wireless Network Cards, Chipset, Modem, Audio Driver, Bluetooth Devices), and if possible gather as much information from the PC Manufacturer's website before attempting to do this. This is especially important with HP, Dell, Sony, and Gateway PC's which were manufactured before Windows XP Service Pack 2 (August 25, 2004).

A technique PCNS uses is to reinstall Windows on a New hard drive, and following the install, adding the old hard drive as a second hard drive. This doesn't allow you to run programs from the drive, however you will be able to access your data files and migrate them to the new drive. If you get stuck on installing a program or hardware device driver, simply connect the old hard drive back to the PC (as the primary drive) if you need to look up a product key or registration number.