The new PC (who am I kidding – it’s 6 months old and out of date) was struggling with Windows. Seemed to have a lag at the start where no matter what program I selected it would wait for a couple of minutes before launching. After that it was fine. Shutdown also had the odd blue screen. I spent the last 2 or 3 weeks trying to find the problem but gave in at the weekend and formatted it again.

I’ve always been against re-installing everything every 6 months or so but the results have been dramatic. No startup lag, no shutdown problems and I’ve got most of the programs I use re-installed. Only snag was that I forgot a couple of things before formatting. I had an electronic download of Half-Life 2 via Steam. 3 gig download later and it was sorted (apart from the game save – swine). Also, I was sure I had moved my Outlook folder to My Documents (which is backed up and on a separate drive). Nope – looks like I hadn’t. SWINE. I still don’t understand why something like Outlook keeps the main pst file outside My Documents but that’s an excuse really for my fools rush in attitude. Got all important e-mails re-sent though so nothing lost. One utility that is a nice find is Startup Control Panel. It’s a small download and install which allows you to easily control what will be automatically started the next time XP boots. Accessible via Control Panel it’s and essential app.

So I thoroughly recommend that you do a proper (format the drive and re-install) refresh of Windows and applications at least once a year. Also – sort out a good backup regime. I’m trialling Norton Ghost with a main backup and incremental’s (weekly) onto my old pc. So far so good. End of public service announcement.