Windows XP reinstallation

So, I've decided it's time to reinstall Windows entirely, but I can't reformat my harddrive. I've got no place to back up all my crap. I got to thinking and was wondering, if I move all the stuff I want to keep into one directory on the C drive, then use a DOS bootdisk and manually delete everything else, will that accomplish basically the same thing as a reformat, or will I still have hidden crap floating around my system? Also, if things are designated 'hidden' in Windows, will DOS also not be able to see them? Hopefully that was clear, thanks for reading.
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  1. Manually deleting all directories except for your personal files is something I would not recommend doing.

    Exactly why do you need to reformat and reinstall Windows XP? If it's to restore certain system files, you could install Windows XP over the current installation. Your personal files should remain intact since they are not located within the Windows folder. You will find them under the Documents and Settings folder.

    On the other hand, if it just seems that the registry has become bloated or you're trying to recover from a virus infection or uncontrollable adware & spyware, then repartitioning and reformatting the hard drive would certainly help.

    There are many ways you can back up your files:
    1. External hard drive
    2. Slave drive
    3. Another partition on the hard drive
    4. CD
    5. USB Flash Drive (only a very temporary solution)
    6. File Server
    7. Another machine on the network
    8. Floppies (Heaven forbid!)
    9. Hard Copy (printable docs)
    10. ZIP drive
    11. Tape drive
    12. Online storage service (best with Broadband connection)

    So, take your pick, depending upon available resources and your budget.

    <i>There are 10 kinds of people in the world - those who understand binary
    and those who don't</i>
  2. All well and good suggestions. Problem is, I've got about 80gb of stuff to backup, so most of your suggestions aren't really feasible, unless you know of a place that'll let me back that much up online.

    What problems would deleting the stuff manually cause?

    Thanks for your post.
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