How do I wipe a Laptop completely? (Windows 7)

41
Found 27th Aug 2012
Hi. I've got a Windows 7 laptop that I am looking to reset back to original settings including wiping hard drive so I can sell it.

Can anyone tell me how to do it?

Thanks
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MiscLaptopWindowsWipes
41 Comments
Use Hiren's Boot CD to repeatedly wipe the harddrive using the specialist disk wiping tools, then install Win7 as you would normally.
You could use nukeandboot then reinstall Windows, should clear enough stuff off so that the majority of people wouldn't be able to see what naughty things you've looked at.
Basically I just want my Laptop to appear as If it is being turned on for the first time.

On my iPhone it I can reset back to factory settings and it will appear as new still with the OS. What do I do on Windows 7 to achieve the same thing?

Would a clean install do it?

I dont know what Hirens Boot CD is?
if you do it as dxx said, you will lose the recovery partition with windows.

you will have to perform a clean windows install then.

I use this, when I sell my HDDs: http://how-to-erase-hard-drive.com/bootablecd.htm

http://how-to-erase-hard-drive.com/images/screen/figure4-4.gif

the thing is, if you only reinstall windows (using recovery) most past files can still be retrieved using specialist tools.

in reality it doesn't matter, but if you're paranoid about your data being retrieved, you have to perform complete wipe - when harddrive is being written by 0s.

it's long process, takes about 36 hours on 1TB drive for 2 passes with verification at the end.



Edited by: "kunyk" 27th Aug 2012
kunyk

if you do it as dxx said, you will lose the recovery partition with … if you do it as dxx said, you will lose the recovery partition with windows.you will have to perform a clean windows install then.I use this, when I sell my HDDs: http://how-to-erase-hard-drive.com/bootablecd.htmthe thing is, if you only reinstall windows (using recovery) most past files can still be retrieved using specialist tools.in reality it doesn't matter, but if you're paranoid about your data being retrieved, you have to perform complete wipe - when harddrive is being written by 0s.



Thanks for your help, but that means nothing to me, i really don't understand it. If I use your method it will wipe my hard drive but keep windows?

I dont have a Windows disk, is that the only way to do a Windows install?

Restore windows from the restore sector ( google for how) and the use file erasing software such as Eraser to erase " free space only"
Alistair1234

Thanks for your help, but that means nothing to me, i really don't … Thanks for your help, but that means nothing to me, i really don't understand it. If I use your method it will wipe my hard drive but keep windows?I dont have a Windows disk, is that the only way to do a Windows install?



if you're not too bothered, just use windows recovery. you have to keep pressing F9 or similar button depending on your laptop, at start up. that will bring up a screen with recovery options. you will just follow prompts for windows reinstall. in the end, you're computer will appear as on day 1.

the second option is - wiping HDD completely. you will have to download Windows 7 ISO a burn it on DVD or make a bootable USB stick. then download necessary drivers to have them ready. you will then wipe the HDD completely, so there won't be anything left. You will then use your newly created windows 7 DVD to install windows. in the end, your computer will appear as on day 1, but the recovery will not work anymore - which you don't care about, as the laptop will be sold.


Edited by: "kunyk" 27th Aug 2012
Clean cloth can get them from all good shops
If your real paranoid just get a new hdd reinstall windows then sell and keep hdd with all your stuff on it.
You will probably get more if you mention a new hdd as it would save others the hard work of changing an old hdd + installing + installing windows 7
Edited by: "gpawan" 27th Aug 2012
I'm not paranoid at all.

I just want to wipe my disk so that there is nothing on there on than would have come with the computer.
then just use the recovery.
I keep pressing F9 but I'm not sure what i'm supposed to be looking for?!
Alistair1234

I keep pressing F9 but I'm not sure what i'm supposed to be looking for?!



good lord.

I said that the recovery button is dependent on the laptop make.
I normally use killdisk
I take a cloth & work from left to right, ensuring I cover all areas of the laptop.

Usually cleans it up good.
unquestioned

I take a cloth & work from left to right, ensuring I cover all areas of … I take a cloth & work from left to right, ensuring I cover all areas of the laptop.Usually cleans it up good.


omg I just come back to this thread to post something like that!
sherg

I normally use killdisk



But I dont want to erase the whole disk do I, as that would erase windows also?!
doing a full recovery will onlly put your laptop back to factory settings (if that's what you want to call it) but other files will still not be overwritten completely and can be recovered by certain software.

To make life easy for you can I suggest - do the full recovery - download CCleaner - in there is a tool to secure wipe free space Tools / Drive Wiper - select free space and drive and how many passes

Edited by: "philphil61" 27th Aug 2012
I think the people need to step back here and read what the OP is on about, clearly they do not know much about this sort of thing, no where have they said they need the files deleting to a secure standard, they just want to restore it back to factory!!

OP, what is the make and year of the laptop?
philphil61

doing a full recovery will onlly put your laptop back to factory settings … doing a full recovery will onlly put your laptop back to factory settings (if that's what you want to call it) but other files will still not be overwritten completely and can be recovered by certain software. To make life easy for you can I suggest - do the full recovery - download CCleaner - in there is a tool to secure wipe free space Tools / Drive Wiper - select free space and drive and how many passes



Isnt that going to wipe windows though?
aircanman

I think the people need to step back here and read what the OP is on … I think the people need to step back here and read what the OP is on about, clearly they do not know much about this sort of thing, no where have they said they need the files deleting to a secure standard, they just want to restore it back to factory!! OP, what is the make and year of the laptop?



2010 Dell.
Alistair1234

2010 Dell.



Ok, did the dell come with a CD?
I assume it is Windows 7, if so, here is a copy of the procedure.

Basically, shut it down, then turn it on while tapping the F8 key, there will be an option to do a factory reset. Instructions are in this link from Dell. Link
I cant find the box so I cant say unfortunately.
I've done that but I dont get that option.

The only things I get are:

Launch Startup Repair (recommend)
Start Windows Normally


Alistair1234

I've done that but I dont get that option.The only things I get … I've done that but I dont get that option.The only things I get are:Launch Startup Repair (recommend)Start Windows Normally



Launch startup repair.... the option will be in there. Geesh.

Do you have like a 5 year old there who could help you?
Edited by: "aircanman" 27th Aug 2012
Once i click that, it just searches for problems then starts normally?! I tried that before.
It's now asking me "Do you want to restore your computer using System Restore"?
When I choose Yes, it just gives me recent options, no option to back up from scratch?!
Now it is "Attempting repairs" I havent clicked on anything since I clicked Yes to the last option
This is what should come up when you press F8

http://www.windows7password.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/safemodewindows72.jpg

Option you are looking for is 'repair your computer'
this is how you do it: youtube.com/wat…di0
Edited by: "spaceinvader" 27th Aug 2012
I'm not getting that at all.
Mine says Windows Error Recovery at the top, not Advance Boot Options.
Alistair1234

I'm not getting that at all.



I'm pretty sure this is the right way to restore a Windows 7 machine, it used to be press Alt + F11 on boot but I think that was for XP and Vista.
Give me the model of it, Dell **** ..... etc.
Dell Studio 1558
Ok, just tried it again, it's working now.

But when I follow the instructions on the link your provided they are incorrect.
aircanman

Give me the model of it, Dell **** ..... etc.



Thanks for your help! I dont know why it wasnt working. I was definately pressing F8 but getting a different screen.

I found Dell Factory Image Restore in a different location and it is currently 11% complete.
This is the manual for your computer - Page 69 is what you want to look at - Dell Website Manual
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