Back up your data first before using restore disk


Plugged In

November 15, 2007|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I have a Compaq computer that is almost eight years old now, and it is doing strange things. For instance, it will freeze up and refuse to shut down unless I turn off the power. I have a quick restore CD and floppy disk from Compaq. So my question is, do you think that this will solve my problem or should I just buy a new computer?

- Clarence Rice

Returning your hard disk to original condition may well solve your problem. It often does. The only way to find out, of course, is to try it.

But keep in mind that a restore disk is not the same thing as an installation copy of Windows. It basically contains all the programs - including Windows - that your computer had when it came out of the box. But using it, at least the ones I've seen, will remove any data you've created and any programs you've installed.

So back up any data you've created if you use it.

Now, if you have a Windows installation disk, you can do an overinstall without losing programs and data.

Unfortunately, even with a Windows install disk, it is sometimes necessary to do a clean installation, formatting the hard disk before installing and losing all data, to fix nagging problems.

I recently bought my 91-year-old stepmother an HDTV at a big-box store. Although she currently has excellent reception via an attic antenna, the store was encouraging her to get cable or satellite service, too. We said no.

Our question is whether an antenna will still be able to deliver TV reception after the change to digital TV.

- Kathleen Gruenhagen

Yes, all broadcast stations will send digital signals over the air, and her current antenna should pick them up.

Of course, without satellite or cable she will be limited to whatever the local broadcast lineup is.

One nice thing: HDTV is actually technically better (picture is crisper) when received over the air. The satellite and cable folks compress the data so that they can offer more channels. While broadcast digital is also compressed, the ratio is much lower, so the picture is much better.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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