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I am giving my computer away and want to wipe the hard drive but leave windows 7

I don't have the original CD to reinstall windows 7, but I need to wipe the hard drive. I've tried to do a "Factory Rest" but the option to restore to factory settings is NOT available. How do I remove everything except Windows 7 from it?
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  1. You can simply delete all of your files and programs, however data can be accessed even if deleted or factory reset if the new user is knowledgeable and determined. So it really depends on the sensitivity of the data and who is getting the computer.

    If it is sensitive data and you are concerned, then I would use DBAN or a Live Linux Ubuntu USB stick to boot and run a shred. This will delete the OS though.
  2. Thanks. I was afraid of that. I am in the process of uninstalling all the software I had, I've already done a complete backup of my data and deleted all my files, and of course emptied the recycle bin. Will defragging the hard drive when I'm done help prevent him from being able to restore my old files? He's not knowledgeable about computers at all, so I'm not too concerned. However, you never know if he knows someone who could do a restore for him. Oh, which makes me wonder, is there a way to clear all the old restore points out of the windows restore function? I would feel much better if I can wipe out all the old restore points.
  3. No, defragging the hard drive will not prevent restoring files. Was Windows 7 installed on the computer when you purchased it or did you install it from a downloaded iso file. If the latter and you have the product key, you can download the Windows 7 iso file (same version as you now have home, professional etc.) and reinstall windows 7, which will wipe everything (well, maybe the CIA could recover files, but not your average user).

    If Windows 7 came pre-installed, you could contact the manufacturer and tell them you want to do a clean install of Windows. They may be able to give you a product key.
  4. Best answer
    While you need to wipe the entire drive with a program like DBAN or something that writes over every bit, it is simple to wipe the restore points.

    Just open the system control panel, click on system protection, select the system protection tab, then select the drive and turn off the restore points using the configure button and click OK or save all the way out.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft took down the downloadable ISO images of Windows 7 some time ago, so if you don't have one you cannot do a clean installation. The product key is no problem, if it is not printed on the label on your machine you can easily recover it using a free tool like Belarc Advisor, but you would still need an installer disk. If the data is not sensitive, it is likely not worth the money for an installer disk.
  5. Thanks for all the info. I'd actually done a bunch of searching for ways to wipe the hard drive without having to re-install the software. We upgraded from Windows Vista years ago, so while I have the product Key for Windows Vista, I don't have one for Windows 7. Yes, the laptop is THAT old! However, it is one of the last "Compaq's" made as they switched over to HP, and it has worked, and worked and worked, but no longer has enough memory or graphic capabilities for my use. My friend on the other hand, needs it for his daughter to do word processing on (I live in Belize, so giving my old laptop to someone who really needs it is much better than nothing, even though it is old!)

    Needless to say, I just wanted to get ALL of my files off of there before giving it to him. I am STILL in the process of uninstalling all my programs (which I do have the CD's for so I can and have re-installed on my new laptop.) It just goes to show how well made that old Compaq is. I hope my current HP lasts even half as long!

    Thanks for letting me know how to remove the restore points. I was wondering though - once I remove them - if he wants to set up restore points (or I'll probably end up doing it for him) will that 'bring back' my old restore points? Ugh! Pardon all the questions please, I normally would have had my husband do all this for our friend, but he passed away, and I am learning how to do all of this for myself.

    Thanks for all the info and help, it is appreciated.
  6. Uninstalling applications, deleting restore points...there will still be some bits of 'you' in there.
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