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  1. #1
    Sea Torques
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    BG Level
    FFXI Server

    A newb question - formatting a PC

    In all the time I have been using computers, about 10 years now, I have never actually formatted one. I know what it is of course. The main reason I haven't is, since formatting wipes your HD, you would presumably have to reinstall windows. I have never owned an actual copy of windows lol. I have always had it pre-installed on my machine, from win 98 through to vista which I have now. If I formatted I'd be screwed since I wouldn't have a disk to reinstall it.
    Anyone been in a similar situation? Should I just buy a copy of it lol.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    BG Level
    WoW Realm

    What do you want to do? If you have a (legal) copy of windows, google for a program called magicjellybean, that'll get you the serial key for your copy of windows. Then you just need a Vista reinstallation CD, which are plentiful and I'm sure one of your friends have one that you can borrow. Insert disk, use the Windows utility to format the hard drive, and then reinstall and you're good to go.

  3. #3
    E. Body
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    BG Level
    FFXI Server

    It depends on where you bought your machine from. Most retailers give you an opportunity to call or mail in and request CDs for your system in the case you wish to reinstall the Operating System. If you can't get your hands on these then you most likely will either have to buy a copy, or DL one online. As a note, the latter will likely cause some hassles in the long term.

    I'm also assuming you're into gaming, which is why you would want windows back on it. If you're not, you could always go and get into Linux, it's quite user friendly depending on the version and for the most part, quite secure.

    A few options for buying a copy of windows would be to go online, possibly tigerdirect or newegg, and buy a copy of Windows XP. You could also look into local stores, but sadly all you'll likely find is Vista (which isn't terrible if your machine can handle it). Anyway, if you have any other questions on reformatting feel free to post them here, I just finished putting Ubuntu on 2 desktops this past weekend for my parents so I could help with any Vista problems.

    edit: as the above mentioned, magicjellybean completely skipped my mind, lol. That's also a great idea if you have friends with CDs you could bum.

  4. #4
    A. Body
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    BG Level
    FFXI Server

    A retail computer will normally include some way of restoring the software to factory condition. If you didn't get a DVD with your current machine, it may have a restore partition.

    If that's the case, you likely also have a sticker somewhere on the machine that gives your Windows license key.

    Of course, if a friend/family member built the machine and had already installed Windows, or if you got it second hand, then this might not be valid.

    Anyone been in a similar situation? Should I just buy a copy of it lol.
    Haven't personally been in that situation, but I've seen plenty of people who were.

    How to go about it would depend on the machine. If you have, for example, a Dell or HP that you simply don't have the discs for, then you could get a copy of Windows for that OEM and have your serial number work. I know HP used to sell the software discs for an extra charge when they didn't include them with the PC. Or you could find a friend that has them to borrow/copy. It'd still be legal, as long as your license key is being used for your machine.

    If you have a homebrew machine or something, then buying a copy would be the good, legal thing to do (though you may already have a pirate copy if someone built a machine and just dumped Windows on it).
    In the event that you do choose to purchase Windows, you have a couple basic choices. Either you get an OEM copy, or a Retail copy. An OEM copy is cheaper, however, it's only meant to activate on one machine, ever. So if you upgrade, you can't use that copy of Windows on the new machine. Retail should allow you to move the license to another machine.

    If you're in school, you may also be able to purchase a seat on your university's site license. This is generally cheaper, but you're also technically supposed to stop using it when you graduate.

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