I have a computer that is full of crap I barely use, and I've noticed that it runs slower now then what it did when i first got it. I don't really want to reformate it just like that, since I've lost some of the program boxes, meaning I couldn't reinstall the programs.

My question is: Could I copy the computer to an external hard disk, and reformate the original hard disk, and then, if I wanted to use one of the old programs, just plug the external disk into the computer and run the program?

OS: Windows 7
Brand: HP (hewlett packard)
Name of external hard disk: Seagate GoFlex

Thanks for your help

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To do that you would need disk imaging software which generally isn't free.

Not as such Rik,
'To do that you would need disk imaging software which generally isn't free.'

There are various free open source programs that could burn images for any system.
this isnt the case.

first of instead of a full format, you could actualy put some effort into cleaning up your computer by:


A Registry cleaner
A uninstaller cleaner
A unused file cleaner
Disk Defrag

if a file wont go, run safe mode, general key is function 8 (F8) which can be pressed after the bios sequence.

as to your question its not worth copying everything you have on your harddrive to put it back as it would take to long, formats are only really used for full harddrives or a corupt one.

Maintenace programs

Comodo Recure
Norton ghost

these programs restore a computer to a image file with the exact binary NO matter whats on your computer.

World Hack.

ok, but for his question..

if you did say an xcopy to the external drive, formated your machine and installed from scratch

would your programs run for the external?
more than likely: NO.

Some may run, if they are independent files.
but for most programs, they are not independent. MP3s etc. would be fine, but lets say you have microsoft office on your external drive. There is no way it is going load.

you will have to find the setup files, and rerun each programs setup to have them work on your new machine. Most programs have files you can copy that will restore the settings that they were on your previous setup. but lets say again you tried to load photoshop, and it tried to look into the registry for some information, but that information is not on your new copy of windows, it is just going to tell you good day and good bye.

i think formating your machine is a great idea - as I tend to like fresh starts.

but if reformating is not an option, check into programs like CCleaner, run the windows disk clean up, windows disk defragment, programs and features and remove the shit you dont need, and then open up a command prompt and type chkdsk C: /F /R hit Y then restart.

you may also want to add some RAM to the system to increase performance. But I like the reformat idea.

you can save your data, by making a back up, put your HDD to other PC then copy all your data their,, transfer to external HDD... then format your pc... hope it works..

Just mirror your HDD with external HDD then format the original that way you can get back the programs you want.

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