Format vs. Wipe

How to Erase Everything From Your Windows Computer
Was this page useful? First since time spent and security are issues not to mention that when done it's still going to have a 10 yr old OS on it I would personally consider two things assuming there isn't a really easy way like the restore partition. NT NT This looks like analysis paralysis. If you need to make repair disks - these help repair Windows not re-install. Sign up using Email and Password. Please enter a valid email.

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How to erase my hard drive and start over

It sounds like you want to maximize your money earned rather than spend money to sell the machine with a clean Windows XP install. That's totally fine and it makes sense. I'd say, your best bet is to look for a recovery disc from the manufacturer and try reinstalling Windows that way.

If you can't find it, you may have to manually remove all the software. So, what's the best and quickest way to remove and unstall everything from the PC without reinstalling it? But it's looking like that may or may not be an option. If the computer is a brand name machine, hunt down the manufacturer's website for any hint of a recovery CD and see if that'll do the trick. If not, it looks like your only option is to manually remove everything.

First since time spent and security are issues not to mention that when done it's still going to have a 10 yr old OS on it I would personally consider two things assuming there isn't a really easy way like the restore partition. First if everything went wrong I would be willing to just scrub the disk and sell it as is. Clone the disk if possible to some old drive laying around using Clonezilla. Or at least the back up the Program Files.

Then I would just start deleting directories out of the Program Files directory. Then run a couple decent registry cleaners that would scan for useless and unreferenced keys as well as shortcuts that don't point anywhere. Finally with regard to personal data, not knowing where and how you organize things, it's just a matter of tracking it all down, deleting it, and defraging, or to be really safe delete it with a file scrubbing software of which plenty of free ones are available. Which is why if you don't have a restore partition, and don't want to track down a CD, I would personally consider selling a blank box.

Be aware that tools like Eraser can only wipe the 'cluster tips' the slack space at the end of any file smaller than a multiple of the cluster size of files that are not in use or protected. This means that a small amount of personal information can remain behind.

To mitigate this, you can boot from a CD, so that those files are not in use. Note also that Eraser also handles alternate data streams , and so does CCleaner. By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service , privacy policy and cookie policy , and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. What's the best way to completely remove everything from a computer, without re-installing?

Thanks for all the help so far! Connor W 2, 10 25 But you want to keep windows. So in no way do you want to "remove and uninstall everything". So perhaps you actually want to just remove any personal data?

If he knows where it is then he can just move it to a usb key! Yes, I want to keep Windows, I worded that badly. I want to know where all the personal data is likely to be and how is best to remove it. I will do a backup of all the important data and files first obviously to transfer to their new computer.

This is what I have done in the past before donating an old computer to a friend or a relative. Uninstall everything that isn't shipped with windows using an uninstall tool that also cleans the registry and deletes leftover files. I like Revo Uninstaller Free Delete all bookmarks in IE Use a tool to remove private data from the computer browser history, cookies, recently opened files..

Do a full computer search for media files and documents to see if you missed anything interesting and delete those Get a "free space" scrubber and run that to make undeleting files impossible I use Eraser After this the computer should be safe to sell.

I'm currently prepping to sell my laptop, this will come in handy. Don't forget the index. Get hold of a copy on CD of the version of Windows your friend is using. Download and run Double Driver. Use it to back up your drivers onto a USB stick.

Once you've done all that, then you're ready to go: Run Dariks Boot and Nuke to erase the hard-drive. As noted by M.

When the keyboard layout menu appears, choose the type of keyboard that you have with the arrow keys and press the Enter key. Select "System Restore" to restore your computer's state at an earlier part of time, without affecting your existing files.

Select "System Image Recovery" to restore your computer from an earlier backup. If Windows isn't working properly, you can reach the same recovery mode screens by pressing a certain key or combination of keys during the boot process. Follow the onscreen directions to wipe and restore your machine. Most computers no longer ship with installation discs, but you can create recovery discs through Windows when you initially set up your machine, or you can sometimes order them from your computer manufacturer's website.

If you have a set of these discs, you can use them to enter recovery mode through the boot menu. To use the discs, power down your machine and then power it back on. Once in the boot menu, choose to boot from your optical drive and insert the first recovery disc to start the process. Jane Williams began her writing career in as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. If you find yourself in this situation, you'll be glad to know that you can create your own Windows 10 installation media using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft.

Using Reset This PC with the Remove Everything option will take some time to complete, but in the end, you'll find that it is a straightforward operation. To begin, boot your system using your Recovery Drive. Now you'll be prompted to choose the target operating system, as shown in Figure B. Just select the Windows 10 tile. The Reset This PC tool will then perform some preliminary work and will momentarily display a message telling you that it is getting things ready.

After you choose a target operating system, you'll see the screen shown in Figure C , which prompts you to choose how thoroughly you want to clean your drive. You can remove just your files or fully clean your drive. The option you choose will depend on the reason you're resetting your PC. For example, if you are resetting it to give yourself a completely new start, you'll probably want to select Just Remove My Files. On the other hand, if you're going to be passing your PC on to someone else, you may want to choose Fully Clean The Drive.

Let's take a closer look at these two options. This procedure deletes the file table that contains pointers to the data files. It doesn't actually delete the data or modify the disk sectors containing the data in any way. As such, you could recover some or all of the data files using an appropriate data recovery tool if you were so inclined. If you choose the Fully Clean The Drive option, the Reset This PC tool will perform a full format of the hard disk that will involve a much more methodical and secure erasure of your data.

This includes several passes over the hard disk writing 0's and then other random numbers to every sector on the hard disk. This almost ensures that you'll never be able to recover any of the data files.

Erasing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows

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