How Often Should You Reformat?

How often should you reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system? This is a common question asked by many computer users. Personally, I don’t think there is a set time span which you should follow in terms of how often you should be formatting and reinstalling your operating system.  In fact, I always install my operating system with the mindset of not having to reformat or reinstall unless I get a new hard drive or am upgrading my current operating system.

Some good rules of thumb to keep your operating system running smooth is to run disk cleanup, defrag, separate your data onto different partitions and/or hard drives to keep fragmentation down, occasionally run anti-malware and anti-virus scans, and make sure you have free hard drive space at all times.  If you ever feel your computer is running slow and you do not want to have to deal with reinstalling everything, you might want to consider purchasing more RAM for your computer.

Note: Make sure your motherboard can support the additional RAM.  Check out for information regarding RAM upgrades.  Today’s standard is around 1-2GB of RAM.

Reformatting means you will need to completely reinstall everything so if you decide to reformat and reinstall, make sure you backup all of the data you want to keep!

Do you reformat often?  If so how often and why?  Leave a comment!

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  • Im like you I dont reformat if I dont have too.. but Ive been told every 2 months to every year I think thats kinda excessive both of them I use the os until something breaks or windows just gets so corrupted that I have to which has only happened once.

    — CM

  • Eh I do it every 6 months because I like the snappy feel you get right after you reformat. I have all my stuff off disk so i can get it back up and running with all drivers and updates in an hour and a half.

    (I cheat with a slip streamed disk)

  • Like you I only reformat when I’m replacing hard drives or when I’m upgrading to a new OS. I reformat about once or twice a year depending on when a new version of my OS is released. I sometimes reformat a drive when I’m bored just for the heck of it to try out a new OS:-)

  • Since my distribution of Linux released a new version bi-anually, I reformat every 6 months. It’s possible to do a “distribution upgrade”, where old files are replaced with those that the new distribution has updated, but I like to do a clean install each time. I have all my documents backed up to my ipod. I can get my system up and running with a fresh install within 40 minutes.

  • I reformat twice a year. I do so because I completely reformat the drive, re-partition, and generally do a spring clean. It’s not something I have to do, but I see a marked improvement when I do so. My problem now, is that I just found out my recovery partition is corrupt. Luckily I’m still under warranty, and Dell is supposed to be sending me a new one.

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