When hard disks were expensive, it was standard practice to erase and reuse your existing hard disk when reinstalling your operating system. This no longer makes sense. When reinstalling your computer’s operating system, get a new hard drive, and set aside the existing one. You get a nice hardware upgrade, and no matter what happens during the installation, you still have your old system exactly as it was.
In fact, whenever you overwrite a hard disk for any reason, consider whether a new, blank disk might be better. It’s so simple and inexpensive. Put the old drive in an external USB hard drive enclosure, and all kinds of great stuff happens:
- You need to back up your files somewhere. Just leave them where they are.
- You can be bold and install however you like. Even if you fail completely, you still have your old system safely set aside. This peace of mind is my favorite reason to get a new hard drive.
- The computer can be instantly returned to its original state by simply reinstalling the old hard drive
- Your computer gets a larger (and maybe faster) hard drive. If you’re going to upgrade your hard drive, this is the time.
- Periodic replacement of mechanical systems like a hard drive is useful preventative maintenance
- When you no longer need the files in the old drive, you can reformat it and use it for any other purpose
This isn’t just win-win. It’s win-win-win-win-win-win. All for about $60.