Clean start. OS reset. Nuke and pave. Whatever you call it, no matter how good a personal system administrator you are, there’s a time to take your OS install out behind the shed and put two in its head.
When would you need to take such extreme measures? If the networking stack is splayed out on the floor and no amount of patching, registry editing, or Winsock repair tools can fix it. If you can’t get hibernate or standby to work anymore. Or if you’ve had a horrible malware or rootkit breakout. Sure, you may have reclaimed control of your PC after an epic five-day battle with the beast, but can you really trust your OS anymore? You don’t want to reenact the final sequence from The Thing, you and your PC eyeing one another wondering if the other is not what he seems to be.
A clean start is the only way to relieve your paranoia. Read on to find out how to do it properly.