|In a very broad sense, with computer problems you work in this order (thus preserving what you have):|
1. Fix the problem - sometimes easy, sometimes not.
2. Use System Restore - not usually too much to sort out afterwards (if it works).
3. Reformat and re-install Windows or use Factory Restore (losing everything).
4. Get a new computer (solves all issues).
So you start with the smallest guns. Agreed there are some situations where it is better to move to the next option if you have spent too long on the previous one.
As given in the original post, the best choice is much easier with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.
Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks