For experienced users
and those users who wish to become more experienced, I offer some self-help ideas here on this site for preventive maintenance, troubleshooting techniques and corrective measures to employ when Windows is misbehaving. On this site are links to resources common to both Windows XP and Windows 7.
For more advanced users, there are instructions for modifying the Windows installation that can facilitate a more stable environment and alternative reliable backup and recovery.
The advanced techniques are geared toward separating Windows into manageable portions that become simpler to backup and restore using drive images, easier to customize and repair, resulting in increased stability, improved efficiency, and reduced vulnerability to data loss. This can be accomplished in both Windows XP and Windows 7, but the techniques are quite different.
The tools I use are fairly simple, many are already included in Windows XP and Windows 7, and those that aren't are either free, shareware, or very low cost. They are also quite powerful, and should be used with care. I highly recommend a full system backup, preferrably a drive image, before you start modifying your system.
The same caution applies (full system backup) if you are having malware issues, and are attempting repairs. If somtheing goes awry, it's nice to be able to start over at the last place you had success. Also, if you're working on malware issues, it is a good idea to make a drive image at each stage of significant improvement, so that you don't have to start all over again if something goes south on you in the later stages.
It is my hope that this site will become a useful resource for those who can't find what they're looking for on other Windows Help Sites.
My current PC is a Dell Inspiron 580 i3 550 with two 1TB Seagate hard drives and fifteen partitions running Windows 7 Ultimate. It is carved up as described in Set 7 Free in the Windows 7 section. Here is a youtube video (a little fuzzy) of a cold startup and a couple of program launches. I don't have a "before" to illustrate the improvement, but the improvement is there. I use a startup manager, so I didn't video the BIOS screen, just O/S menu.