Wow... do DID have a bundle of Q's...lol... it's cool atleast you tried searching on the forums which is far more than what most newbies do. Heck you even posted in the correct forum!
You've got a lot of questions and i'll answer some of the basic ones for you.
Re: FAT32 vs. NTFS. A hard drive needs to be formatted in order for it to accept data. Record/write/read etc. MS initially offered FAT16 (or commonly referred to as just FAT for brevity) for smaller hard drives for simple storage means. Later as HDD manufacturers released larger HDDs they came up with FAT32 to accommodate that. NTFS is a another file system that was first introduced with NT 3.0 operating system. There are other file systems used today, but these two (FAT32/NTFS) are the most common ones used today MS OSes. OS like Linux use their own FS. FS=File Systems.
Win9.x based OSes, such as Win98, only support FAT/FAT32. However, NT based OSes support both FAT and NTFS. There are advantages of using NTFS, but for the average home user, FAT32 is fine. One consideration with today's larger hard drives being sold on the market is that when you use FAT32 on a massive HDD like 100 GB for example, there is a great deal of slack space that's created by using an inefficient FS like FAT32. In such a case, using NTFS is an ideal choice (as long as you're running NT/ W2K/ XP) because regardless of the partition size you use, the cluster size remains constant and there's very little slack space.
With NTFS 5.0, you also get the benefit of native encryption and you can lock out unauthorized users from browsing certain folders of your choosing.
Originally posted by project-09
Is there anyway to prevent a memory leak? Or is there free monitoring software? If there is software and its not free how much should i spend on it and whats a good brand?
WinNT/2K/ XP manage resources much better than Win9.x. You will not have the typical problems that plagues Win9.x OS and there is NO NEED for you to install any memory management software. Do not buy into any website that claims that it can 'free up your RAM' - typically they are selling you just snake oil.
Originally posted by project-09
I noticed surfing the web, when i go to some pages it asks me to install some software or product and I click no. But i later find out it made its way into my computer anyway...and changed the Registry. And sometimes Spybot can't do anything to fix it...but maybe I'm not smart enough to use spybot correctly. HOw can I protect my registry?
Well you're not gonna exactly 'protect' your registry by installing any software. Utilities like Spybot & AdAware work by scanning your PC for any nasties AFTER the fact.
All versions of MS OS Win9.x have a registry backup utility or command line that you can use. I assume that you are using WinXP - when you are at your desktop, press F1 for help and type in keywords "Registry". You'll be surprised at how good the Help files are and you'll find directions on how to back up your registry.
After your fresh install of the OS, I would make a ghost image of it. Software utilties like Norton's Ghost/ Acronis True Image are great utiliities you can buy to make a exact clone/replica of your HDD or partition. In case your system becomes really hosed, you can then restore the image and it will save you the headache of doing a fresh install again. I would highly advise you to invest in the $40-$50 bucks for such a program.
Finally, make sure you D/L all your device drivers BEFORE you proceed and burn them onto a CD or put them on a floppy. It will make life easy for you when you proceed w/ your fresh install.