Selling computer and need to know how to delete everything?

13 replies
Found 13th Jan 2011
Basically im selling this laptop but i can't reinstall windows, i've uninstalled all my programs and deleted all files i can find but theres still like 50gb in use somewhere! How do i delete like settings and basically everything?


As far as i know in control panel you can restore factory settings or depending how long you have had it use the restore point to restore it to the date you first got it.

Original Poster

I have no restore points and can't see the factory settings bit?


Just lifted this from Yahoo Answers...

Answerer 1
Over time hard drives can become cluttered and full of data that you no longer want or need. Sometimes errors and system corruptions occur, causing your computer to run slower and less efficiently. When this happens, the best way to correct the problem is to reformat the hard drive. Reformatting the hard drive deletes everything on the drive, including the operating system. There are several ways to reformat your hard drive, including using third party programs. Some programs erase the data many times to ensure the information on the disk can never be retrieved. But typically a basic formatting is suitable for most hard drive content. Here's how to delete everything on your hard drive.

Things You'll Need:
Computer owner's manual
Operating system disks
Storage media
Step 1Back up your data. If the hard drive contains any data or files that you want to keep, back them up on external storage media such as a CD or DVD disk. Remember, formatting will delete everything on the drive.

Step 2While logged into Windows, click on "Start" then "Shut Down."

Step 3Select “Restart in MS-DOS mode” from the drop-down list then click on “OK.” After your computer restarts, the command prompt C:\Windows> will appear.

Step 4At the command prompt, type "CD\" then hit "Enter" on your keyboard. The command prompt will change to C:\>.

Step 5Type "format c:" and then hit "Enter." Hit the “Y” key to begin formatting your hard drive.

Step 6Enter a volume label when prompted. You can enter up to 11 characters to name your hard drive, or simply hit "Enter" to assign the default name.

Step 7Install the operating system of your choice if you plan to keep the hard drive. Load your personal data and files back on the hard drive after the operating system is installed.

Tips & Warnings
As an alternative, you can use a bootable floppy, CD or DVD which is loaded with a third party disk eraser program, or your original Windows or Linux operating system disks. Boot from the media, then follow the prompts to reformat your hard drive.When booting from a floppy or CD/DVD drive, make sure your BIOS is set to boot from that particular drive first. Refer to your computer owner's manual if necessary.
computer smart
2 years ago Report Abuse Answerer 2
If you reformat everything will be "gone" and like new, but data can still be recovered. If you are selling your computer it would be wise to wipe the information permanently.

I recommend DBAN. Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

Please note: It is possible (though extremely unlikely) to recover data even if it has been erased and written over many times. The only true way to ensure data is never recovered is to physically destroy the drive.

Personally I would take the hard drive out and throw it away. Or other people can quite easily with some readily available software see what used to be stored on there.

when it starts do you not have a menu for startup options? You would normally have a recovery partition on your drive that can only be accessed from here. This will wipe the drive and re-install the licensed OS. Post the make and model and someone maybe able to give you the key presses that you may need

Not sure if you can if you intend selling it with windows installed. If windows is not a condition of the sale then there is plenty of free software that will erase all the data on your hard drive. I too recommend DBAN as mentioned above.

If the laptop has a recovery partition or CD/DVD you could just use that to restore the laptop to factory defaults. Most of the HDD will be over written most likely and so recovering anything private is unlikely.

Original Poster

I intend on selling it with windows. However I don't have any windows discs except windows XP which bluescreens everytime i try install. Would Dban wipe the operating system or just the files? I wiped the recovery parition ages ago to use for movies lol


I intend on selling it with windows. However I don't have any windows … I intend on selling it with windows. However I don't have any windows discs except windows XP which bluescreens everytime i try install. Would Dban wipe the operating system or just the files? I wiped the recovery parition ages ago to use for movies lol

It will completely erase everything on the drive. Even if you had kept the recovery partition, all your stuff would have still been recoverable. I don't think what you want to do is possible if you don't have windows or recovery discs.
(Sorry badass, just repeated what you said basically)


just borrow a windows disk and use existing key to reinstall

Isn't there a program that can get you your windows key in the registry, it was while ago when i used to delve into these things

Original Poster

Ok i just tried using dban and it wont work! it says "dban error process crash". Any other tools i can use to delete the hard drive? they dont need an operating system now. Cheers..

do you know how to do format c
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