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Cleaning up a used computer

by morph / October 31, 2006 7:54 AM PST

Running: Windows XPSP2, IE
I'm sure this issue has been addressed, I just haven't found it. A friend has recently given me his old computer. How do I purge the hard drive of all of his accumulated stuff, including software, documents, Favorites, emails, files, folders, etc., leaving me with, basically, the operating system (XP)?
Thank you

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Best Is To Reformat And Reinstall...But....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 31, 2006 8:44 AM PST

...it depends on what software CD's came with the computer.. If you've got the Windows XP CD AND the legal keycode, then place the CD in the CD drive, restart the computer and reinstall XP using the instructions in the link below:

http://www.windowsreinstall.com/winxphome/sp2installxpcdoldhdd/indexfullpage.htm

AFter XP is installed, then install all of the program software of your choice, antivirus and other security software, word processing utilities, etc. Once that's done, enable your firewall, then get on the internet and IMMEDIATELY go to the Windows Update site and install all updates EXCEPT for the Windows "Genuine Advantage Notification" tool.. The "Windows Genuine Advantage Validation" is required for using Windows Update and when first using the site but the "Notification Tool" part is not.
______________________

If you don't have a Windows XP CD or the computer "Recovery CD", then you'll need to remove files manually by searching the folders you have listed and uninstalling unwanted programs in the "Add/Remove Programs" section of the Control Panel. It would also be a good idea to purchase a copy of Windows XP or create a Recovery CD, just in case the computer crashes.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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KillDisk or DBAN
by Willy / October 31, 2006 11:31 PM PST

Follow Grif's advice will do fine for most new OS installs. However, since OEM systems do have hidden partitons or the install procedure maybe alittle different at first, use a "wipeout" pgm. to truly delete every dang thing on the HD. The most common such pgms. are DBAN(Dans Boot&Nuke) and KillDisk. Google for them and do 1 pass or repeat if you like. Those pgms. really can do the job, then proceed to install whatever OS you like though a full version is best to do so.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Cleaning up used computer
by toonie1948 / November 10, 2006 6:43 AM PST
In reply to: KillDisk or DBAN

Thanks for the advice. This is first day using any forum and as I am thinking about passing my computer on and getting a new one, I was a bit worried about what to do with my present hard disc i.e. keep it and install new one before getting rid of computer or trying to wipe it clean. Heard a lot of scary stories about people being able to recover personal data from "cleaned" drives.

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If you don't care about System usability
by kobi33 / November 14, 2006 1:50 AM PST

If you really want to protect yourself and don't care about the individual getting the system then wipe the desk. Search the web for disk wipe......small program, fits on a floppy. It will overwrite the desk 1, 2, or 3 times (if a full version IAW DoD standards)

But if you don't have the OS, you now gave away a BRICK, useless piece of hardware.

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Alternative
by Seaspray0 / November 14, 2006 7:00 AM PST

Other than reinstalling the operating system, you can delete most of the stuff that a previous user has done. Create a new user for yourself. Also create a seperate user account with administrative priviledges to make sure you have the permissions to perform later steps. With the administrative account, delete the previous users. Look in C:\documents and settings and make sure their profile is deleted. The profile contains the bulk of what a user does, their settings, etc. Now uninstall all the programs the previous users have installed. It's not as clean as a fresh installation, but it will serve the majority of what you want without reinstalling. If you have the option, reinstalling the operating system is by far the best way to clean out what another person has done to it.

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