Store and Restore Your System with a 'Gut Box'

Dennis Faas's picture

Today's article was submitted by Bill Hudgins and is the 1st Place Winner of our Editorial Contest.

The original article was put forward by one of our contributors (Sheila Foss), only a few days before the contest began. With Sheila's permission, I edited the article to include erroneous mistakes and later used the composition as the inspiration for the contest.

If you would like to compare the contest article before reviewing the winning submission [below], you can do so by clicking here (recommended).

Without further adieu, here is the Bill Hudgins' version of the article, "Make it a Gut Box":


It seems simple enough.

Your new computer comes with a Windows CD, program CD, printer installation CD and so on. Over time, you add a digital camera, a scanner and various other devices, and each one has its own software CD. You put them on the shelf for "later use."

At some point Murphy's Law pays a visit: full of Spyware, infested with viruses or harboring malicious programs, your operating system ("OS") slows to a crawl or crashes. Restoring the system to its original condition will help you solve that problem. On the other hand, you may have decided to ready the system for sale or donation.

Now where did all those CDs go?

At times like these, you need a "gut box". It contains everything you need to restore your system; a shoebox or a printer paper box will do just fine (and it will work equally well at home and at the office). Label it "Gut Box", sign it, and store it in a safe, convenient place.

Let's take the lid off and look inside.

Your gut box contains:

  • All OS CDs
  • Burned CDs of any purchased or downloaded software
  • Emergency disks
  • Multimedia files
  • Backup and/or image CDs
  • Manuals and guides

Your gut box does NOT contain:

  • The original CD that came with the printer you recently gave away.
  • Anything else that does not belong with the system.

As long as you know where the gut box is, you know where to find exactly what you need to restore your machine.

A final hint: use a felt tip pen to label each CD with key codes and dates required for installation. The software package may at some point migrate to the attic, but the code you need will always be on the CD in the gut box!

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