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The Mind Tech Podcast: Episode 6


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Bloaty Reinstall

Hosted by Gareth Davies and Joe Ressington

The Mind Tech Podcast is your weekly dose of tech, privacy, security and conspiracy.

Each week we’ll talk about the very latest tech news and the continued threats to internet freedom.

This week we talk about Joe's new phone - The Google Nexus 4

Mind Tech News:

OKCupid says it will accept Bitcoin, as currency falls to recent low

Virtual Bitcoin Mining Is a Real-World Environmental Disaster

Windows 8 Plan: Bring back the Start button, boot to desktop

How to fix your slow, bloated Computer.

Microsoft Says:

"No matter how fast or shiny computers might be when they're new, they all seem to get slower over time. That state-of-the-art PC you bought last year might not feel like such a screamer after you install a dozen programs, load it with antispyware and antivirus tools, and download untold amounts of junk from the Internet. The slowdown might happen so gradually that you hardly notice it, until one day you're trying to open a program or file and wonder, "What happened to my poor PC?"

How to fix your computer - don't throw it away, fix it! We'll talk you through the process of backing up your data, formatting your machine and getting it back up and running like it's brand new.

This assumes that there is nothing wrong with the hardware and that you either have a virus or Windows has just slowed down to the point where it is unusable.

STEP 1 - Backing up

Xubuntu 12.04.2 Live CD (32 bit)

Burn using imgburn (burn image)

Or make a USB drive with Unetbootin

Things to back up:

  • c:\users

  • ProgramData

  • Program Files (if you have time/space)

Find the drivers that you need. Go to your manufacturer’s site and go to support/downloads. The most important is either Wifi (Wlan) or ethernet. There can sometimes be several wifi drivers for different cards. Look in device manager in windows or hardinfo (installed and run by opening a terminal and running sudo apt-get install hardinfo && hardinfo) for your wifi card. Intel, Broadcom, Atheros etc.

Other key drivers are chipset, graphics (VGA) and sound (although sound may work without driver)

Make sure you have a Windows disk and licence before proceeding.

Licence usually on the bottom of laptop or case of PC.

“untouched” is a key word.

STEP 2 - Reformat and install Windows

If you are lucky you will have a recovery partition. Look online for which f key to tap then follow instructions. You might want to remove the bloatware after you are finished then move onto STEP 4

Put disk in and restart. Press any key to boot from CD...

If it boots as normal, go into bios (tap one of the f keys or esc or delete) and set to boot from CD or DVD drive.

If you see a recovery partition, stop and try and use that.

If you see System reserved and local disk, delete them both. Then choose unpartitioned space and follow the instructions.

STEP 3 - Install Drivers

Having saved them on your external drive, copy drivers folder to your desktop. Then install them one by one and restart as prompted.

STEP 4 - Windows Update

Most time consuming part.

Auto updates are a good idea but with a new installation you should manually do the updates using Windows update from the start menu. At this point you will probably have to activate your Windows licence which assuming you used the correct version of Windows should go smoothly.

After it says it has finished and you reboot, run Windows Update again. You will have to do this MANY times before it is genuinely up to date.

STEP 5 - reinstalling your programs

Basics I install are:

Firefox or Chrome



Adobe Reader


AVG or Security Essentials

STEP 6 - Restoring your data

Good idea to scan your backup. Good idea to have another copy of your backup on a separate disk in case the AV deletes something you need.

Then restore your documents and desktop files.

You can restore your program data. Each program puts it in different places so you will have to look on Google for each case. Particularly annoying programs to restore are Outlook and iTunes. To steal a phrase from the excellent Mintcast, “your milage may vary”.

That’s it. Use the money that you saved by not going to a computer shop to subscribe or donate to Mind Set Central.

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