In the Forums...
Posted: November 13, 1999
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
I know, you must be looking at the title of this How To guide (the first in a series of guides that I will be writing for Tweak3D) and wondering why am I bothering to even go into this? I mean, you just pop in the CD and go, right? Wrong. In this guide I am going to try to cover the whole tangent of Windows installs - from preparing to start to tweaking the process so it's faster. I even have some interesting ways of making an even CLEANER install by using 98Lite. So read on ;)
You may want to begin by backing up your data files. If you plan on reformatting your hard drive, you will want to put them on some kind of removable media (Floppy, Zip, Tape, etc.). If not, just make a folder on your hard disk and copy all of your important data files that might get deleted there. If you are not planning on reformatting your hard drive, the only files you will need to back up would be the ones that are stored in your Windows directory, because we will be deleting that later on in the process. If you aren't comfortable trying to figure out which files you really need to keep, you can simply keep a copy of the entire directory until you are more comfortable.
You will also want to take note of any custom settings/info that are particular to your computer and might be difficult to reproduce. This includes modem initialization strings, usernames/passwords, and server information of which you don't have a hard copy. These are the most frustrating things to lose - while you can always do without your old emails (for the most part), a lost password can take forever to recover.
Next, Uninstall any programs that you will need to reinstall (most games, Microsoft Word, etc.). Most games will let you leave the savegame data files behind anyway, and Word doesn't delete documents during an uninstall, so you shouldn't lose any real data there. If you happen to have some cool macros or something, make sure you back those up before uninstalling. If you aren't reformatting your HD, you can leave them where they are. Otherwise, back them up as well.
Also, make sure you have drivers available for all of your hardware. You are already going to need to run Windows Update after the install anyway - but if you think of it, having copies of any modem, video, and sound card drivers (even if they aren't the "most recent" although that is preferable) lying around can save you a lot of trouble.
If you are not reformatting your hard drive, you may want to consider copying the Win98 directory off the CD directly on to your hard drive. This will make it MUCH easier to reinstall Windows 98. If you aren't going to copy the directory to your hard drive, or you are reformatting it, make sure you have a startup disk made (with the CD-ROM driver on it) BEFORE continuing. And test it before you go about doing anything else - sometimes they don't work the way they are supposed to and that can cause some serious problems. You can create a startup disk in the Control Panel by choosing Add/Remove Programs, then accessing the Startup Disk tab.