I’m using a computer that we purchased new in 2001. We’ve taken good care to protect it from viruses and such, but over the last couple of years it has gotten quite slow. For some time we entertained the idea of reinstalling – or reformatting- the operating system.

We decided to go ahead and take the plunge. The computer was getting so painfully slow that we were ready to repair it or – if that didn’t work – let it go.

Last week I spent time culling things off the computer. Then I backed up everything I wanted to keep.

We purchased our computer with Windows ME (Melinnium) installed on it and were sent an upgrade when Windows XP was released a month later.

So, to reformat this particular computer, we had to reformat with ME, then install the XP upgrade. The process wasn’t as painstaking as I had feared.

I’m so pleased with the results! I spent much of yesterday loading old documents on the computer again, setting up the printer, scanner, and getting webmail set up. I didn’t reload the peripheral programs (“bloatware” some people call it), so the computer is slim, trim, and fast!

I decided to try the google pack – a group of programs google recommends and offers free (of course) – most of which I was already familiar with: Picassa, Mozilla, Norton Security… A new program to me is Star Open Office, which contains word documents, spreadsheets, etc. It can read .doc, .xl., and .xls files, etc. I’m hoping it will save me from the headache of using Microsoft Word. MS Word was a great program when it’s up and running. But it took forever to load and even longer to close.

I’ve decided to not use outlook express but google’s gmail as my email client. Their archiving system seems too good to be true. There is no filing into folders as with outlook. When you want to save an email, you just click “archive.” Any time you want to retrieve it, you search for it. And we all know how great google’s search is…

So, here’s to my snappy, “new” computer!