I know I need to wipe the hard drive. I am guessing I can find free software for that or buy something. I have the original disks for the PC. Here is my question. After installing XP again will I be able to update it? And if the updates are still available will it takes hours to install? This PC has all kinds of malware etc. It will only used for online solitaire so I thought it was worth the trouble to wipe and reinstall. I am not PC “smart” – is wipe and reinstall as simple as it sounds or am I missing some details? I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. I know it is time consuming but is it really simple?
The installation process takes care of formatting the drive and you get the chance to select Quick Format which gives you a chance of recovering data afterwards.
If your original disks are a few years old, you'll need to update to Service Pack 3 as soon as installation completes, then put in Microsoft Security Essentials - a good free anti-virus - while about 130 updates come through. That assumes those original disks have all the drivers you need - if you don't have those, take the details of the ethernet Network Adapter from Device Manager before reinstalling so you can find the driver and get online as soon as possible.
You can be up and done in under two hours and don't need to watch it all the time. One of the updates will be Browser Choice - I usually untick that one then tick not to be told about it again.