I guess some things in life can bring grown men to their knees and tears to their eyes. This afternoon I was reading an article in the May 2011 issue of PC World magazine in which the procedure was described on how to reinstall Windows without losing data. Several thoughts flashed through my mind when I read the title. I thought to myself, is this like comparing having sex without getting pregnant? Can reinstalling Windows plus all of your data really be done in one day? What would hurt worse: reinstalling Windows or having bamboo shoved under your fingernails?

It has been about a year since I did a clean install of Windows on a computer system. It was an old Gateway laptop system that I formatted and did a clean install on. I didn’t need to restore data because I was selling the system. The system was running Windows XP and the restore process took the entire day. No, I wasn’t sitting watching the screen for the entire day. Most of what I needed to reinstall was either service packs, updates and revised hardware drivers.

The following day I reinstalled anti-virus software and an old copy of Microsoft Office that I was including in the sale price. I would say the entire process took about eight hours of my time. I would venture a guess that had I needed to reinstall my data the time would have taken at least double, or about 16 hours. However, my experience in reinstalling Windows usually takes me from four to five days for my own personal computer system. I have a lot of software on my system plus a ton of data, pictures, and other various things. Plus I take my time when I do a reinstall. I want my system to be 100% perfect when I am done.

Yet there was something that struck me as I read the article. Outside of the system I sold, I have not had to do a reinstall of any of my personal systems for at least five years or more. The computer gods have blessed me with a sound operating system, no viruses, and unblemished hardware. I guess I completely forgot about reinstalls until I read the article mentioned above. But just because I haven’t done a reinstall for many years does not mean I have forgotten the aggravation of past experiences.

So what has your experience been?

Comments welcome.