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Anyone reinstalling Windows soon? I just did, and this method worked wonders.
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Doesn't backing up all the things you've messed up in your windows and program settings kind of defeat the purpose of a fresh install?
Yeah that's what I always thought.  I do backup My Documents and anything else I don't want to lose, but I always do a clean install of Windows.
Sean M
+Mark Behrendt it can... But, if the symptoms are system wide, and not application specific, then you might be safe.

Backing up just the files then redoing the settings and tweaks would be more ideal... 
Not really. Using the built in Windows Easy Transfer wizard will make it perfectly safe. 
+Mark Behrendt That depends on how blindly and how completely you do it.  If you follow this process, I think you're going to miss all the spyware / malware (and other crapware) that intentionally hides itself and slows down your system.

If you're deliberate about only backing up and saving the stuff you use, then you'll gain a lot of the benefit from the reinstall.  The above isn't quite as deliberate as I'd usually like a user to be, but it's maybe a 30%-40% solution and is probably as 'automated' as you can make it.  I know people that take days to reinstall every little thing.

As a Linux user, I keep a file in /home (which is a separate partition) that has my 'reinstallation script'.  Every time I install something I think I'll need to come back to, I put the line(s) in my reinstallation script.  Its about an 80-90% solution and as long as I stay within a distro family (I pretty much stay inside Debian, somewhere) I can just re-run my script and have most, if not all of my software back without an issue.
Often the reason you need to re-install the O/S is that you out-foxed yourself with too many tweaks.

I keep my docs in a separate partition along with my installation files and a rock solid (patched up) base install image I captured with Macrium.

It's a 15 minute resuscitation.
Clouds can evaporate.  Keep everything at home and in the cloud.
Ahhhhh I just reinstalled 7 yesterday! Like ^ said, where was this!? But yesterday!
I never ever re-install an OS, without first checking for files that need to be backed up. Linux live flash drives are great for the backup, as most people don't encrypt anything. Always have a backup, and don't trust that the installer says your files should be fine. Free software or not I prefer the manual piece of mind of having visually verified copy/paste of all possibly necessaary files. I would suggest NEVER backing up critical files to a seperate partition on the same physical drive just on that slim chance of a mistake. I always reccomend critical backups go to a personal external disk drive, and the cloud.
I have everything important on ubuntu one cloud and on cd's. The nice thing about clouds is that they automatically transfer files to new OS.
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