How to erase my hard drive and start over

Erasing the hard drive and reinstalling Windows

How to Wipe a Computer Clean of Personal Data
Installl the older version on a drive partition. Make a Donation Newsletters. For example, if you use Windows 7 you'll need a Windows 7 installation disc. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Once installed and properly running, delete the other OS partition, so as to free up the allocated disk space. Typical keys include F2 , F10 , F11 , or Del. This allows a safe transition between the operating systems, and decreases the likelihood of losing computer functionality due to interrupted installations or data corruption.

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How to Completely Erase Your Hard Drive & Set Your Computer Back to Factory Settings

Choose either Quick or Normal, depending upon your reasons for reformatting. If the computer will be going to a new owner, choose the Thorough or Normal option for higher security. Enable the Root User option in Utilities, accessed through the Finder. Follow the prompts, entering your password as needed. Log out as the current user and log back in as the root user.

Click the Apple icon to switch users. The root user login ID is "root. Hold down the C key during the start-up function. Follow the prompts and select the appropriate options. Select the default "Macintosh HD" volume, then click the Options button in the bottom left corner. Choose the Erase and Install option for a clean reinstallation to erase data and reinstall the operating system.

This is the most efficient method of erasing the contents of your Mac hard drive. You will have to take it to a tech shop to get it unlocked, or you could open the computer and replace the hard drive. However, you will need to reinstall an operating system. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1. How do I find the password to a computer hard drive? Answer this question Flag as Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. This should look familiar if you've set up this computer before. Chromebook users have the easiest time wiping their laptops. Unlike Apple and Windows users, most of their files are already stored online, in Google Drive.

So there's little to back up before you begin the process. To start a factory reset, click on your account photo. Open the Settings menu and scroll down to the Advanced section. From there, find the Powerwash section and click on the icon. This will prompt a restart, which will flush away all your personal information. If you're ready to sell or donate the computer, don't log back in—the next person who logs in becomes the Chromebook's primary user.

It's important to back up all of the files on a Windows computer to an external drive or the cloud before beginning a factory reset. Also, find and save the serial numbers for Office Suite and other software using ProduKey or a similar app. You'll need them to reinstall the applications on your new machine. The process for resetting your PC differs slightly for each version of the operating system.

For Windows 10, go to the Start Menu and click on Settings. Follow the instructions to revert your computer back to when it was first unboxed. I'm an avid photographer and tech nerd with a passion for writing about gadgets and consumer technology. Please call Member Services at Welcome to Consumer Reports.

You now have access to benefits that can help you choose right, be safe and stay informed. Before selling, donating, or recycling your outdated laptop, protect your privacy with this important step.

Sharing is Nice Yes, send me a copy of this email. Once the steps below have been completed, you will not be able to reverse the steps if you want to recover possible lost data. You should back up any personal files you do not want to lose before proceeding with the restore process.

If you only want to erase the hard drive on your computer and not restore the original software, see our page on how to format a hard drive, SSD, or USB flash drive. Windows will be reset, either keeping your personal files intact or erasing everything, depending on the option you selected. To restore a Windows 7 or Vista computer, you must have a set of restore discs for the computer or an original Windows 7 or Vista installation disc.

If you do not have a set of restore discs, you will need to contact the computer manufacturer to order a new set or restore discs.

The Windows installation process will start by creating a new partition, formatting the partition, and installing Windows on the hard drive. The formatting process will erase the hard drive before installing Windows.

Installing earlier versions of Windows and DOS after formatting drive

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On the "Do you want to fully clean your drive" screen, select Just remove my files to do a quick deletion or select Fully clean the drive to have all files erased. On the "Ready to reset your PC" screen, click Reset. To wipe a hard drive means to completely erase the drive of all its information. Deleting everything does not wipe a hard drive and formatting does not [always] wipe a hard drive. You'll need to take an extra step to wipe the hard drive completely. Whenever you want to securely erase your data, follow these steps. 1. Navigate to the files or folders that you want to securely erase. 2. Right-click on the files and/or folders and an Eraser menu will appear. 3. Highlight and click Erase in the Eraser menu. Eraser will automatically create the secure erase task and execute it immediately.