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How do I restore factory settings?

by lorraine1306 / November 22, 2012 8:22 PM PST

I have an old laptop running Vista which I would like to give to a friend. Is there an easy way to wipe off all my personal files and folders and programs and leave the computer in the condition I bought it in, without having to reinstall the operating system?

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Best Answer chosen by lorraine1306

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Re: restore factory settings
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 22, 2012 8:27 PM PST

Either by booting from the recovery partition or by booting from the recovery disks that came with the laptop or by booting from the recovery disks you made yourself.

Alas, none of this is standard. So you'll have to find the user manual to see how to it on your laptop.


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by lorraine1306 / November 22, 2012 8:32 PM PST

I dont have any disks - I've lost them (the laptop is pretty old!).
I'm also not great at computers, so be patient if this is a stupid question - but what is the recovery partition?

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by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 22, 2012 8:53 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks

If there is none at your laptop (only you can know) and you don't have any disks, you can:
a. Erase the hard disk using DBAN. It's empty then so somebody (your friend) should install an OS
b. Install Linux in stead of Windows
c. Buy a Windows install disk
Options a and b are free, option c isn't.

But - for normal use, and if you trust your friend, it suffices to make a new Windows account for him/her (with administrator capability), login to that and delete all your existing Windows accounts. All programs will stay, you'll have to delete them separately if you don't want your friend to use them.

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