That’s highly dependent on how you use your system and what you expose it to.
Clearly “reinstalling windows all the time” leaves room for interpretation. I’d say I average about once every two years across my systems. Windows has definitely gotten better over time, but if you frequently install and uninstall software my experience is that sooner or later you’re better off with a clean install than trying to track down a problem.
Here’s my latest. I replaced a Focusrite interface last week with an RME UFX II. First thing I noticed was any time I had the TotalMix FX window open I’d get static while playing. It mostly went away with TotalMix closed, but I’d still get static sporadically. Turned out disabling my network card would make that go away. So the only way to get static free playing was network card off, TotalMix closed.
This was rather frustrating, given that my system ran flawlessly with any of my other four audio interfaces. Only thing that changed was adding the UFX II.
How many hours is worth investing to try to track down the problem?
Four hours in, it was too much for me. I’ve been down this path too many times. Clean install, and two hours later I’m done. Machine working perfectly.
I don’t understand the aversion to reinstalling. It can be a massive time saver.