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What's the best way to completely remove everything from a computer, without re-installing?

I have to return my company laptop. It has windows 7 on it. I want a way so that i can erase all data, settings,programs, everything other than the OS. Any suggestions ?

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marked as duplicate by Sathya, BinaryMisfit Dec 27 '10 at 6:58

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

As someone who has done work in corporate IT before, I would expect them to just reimage the machine after you return it anyway. Is there any particular reason why you don't want to wipe it clean?

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All I can add to the link Sathya posted is to also delete your index.dat files, these index.dat files contain tons of usage tracks. They are safe to delete but are protected OS files, you will need software to delete them.



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Im not actually sure whether there is a way without doing everything manually..
reformatting and reinstalling is much faster.

You could try to set back the system restore to as far back as possible, but even that wont get rid of everything.

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There's not an automated process for this, but if you have administrator access to the machine it's not that hard:

  1. Create a new user account
  2. Log in to the new user account and use it to delete your old profile. This should clear off pretty much all your old data.
  3. Use the control panel's add/remove programs option to remove any software that looks like it's not company issue.
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Have u tried system restore ? Laptops usually come with a feature to reset everything to the conditions in which they were shipped .If u can do this it should get rid of all your applications that you may have installed .

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