...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:
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.
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)?