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How do I wipe my hard drive clean (back to factory setting)?

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:03 AM   #1
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OS: xp

In the past few months my computer has been slower, when I try and have it go to sleep (Stand By) it wonít, and programs are not opening (specifically itunes and eBook, for Sony Reader).

I decided to try and reboot/reformat my hard drive. I have Windows Vista (32-bit CD and license key. How do I wipe my hard drive clean and start over (as if new from factory)?

System and other info:
Windows XP Professional
version 5.1.2600, Service Pack 3 build 2600
System: Gateway
Model: MX6453
System Type: x86-based PC

Security Software: CA Security Center

I have the CD for Office, and my printer. I should be able to get all other programs I need (itunes, eBook for Sony Reader, AIM, Skype, etc).

Iíve tried defragging, scan disk, uninstalling programs, etc.

Thanks for your help,
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:20 AM   #2
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Posts: 25,111
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I always use one of the two following programs for this purpose. Both are excellent:

Low Level Format = Writing Zeros



To completely erase all data on the drive(s), download DBAN and create a floppy disk to use.

Enter the BIOS setup menu and set the boot order to 'floppy first', then reboot with the DBAN floppy inserted in the drive.

It will completely and securely wipe everything off your hard drive.

Precautionary Note: Anytime you use one of these programs, it is a good idea to unhook other hard drives, because some of these programs can wipe more than one drive at a time.
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:29 AM   #3
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Location: Michigan
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OS: xp sp3, vista sp2, Windows 95

If you wipe your hard drive and reinstall from the Windows CD it will not be like the factory default, not like when you bought it. You will be missing some very important drivers. i.e. NIC= no internet access, Video and sound as well and most likely your chipset driver will be missing. You will have to get these from the manufacturer's website, most likely before you wipe the HDD, because once you wipe it you won't have any internet access.

if you want to restore to factory default, as it was when you bought it. You will need a recovery CD or recovery partition on your HDD. Your system may have a built in recovery partition which will allow you to restore the factory default without a CD. Try typing ALT+F10, CTRL+F11, F8 or F12 when the system first boots to the BIOS screen, the first screen you see when the monitor comes on. or go to the MFG website and look for recovery options, owner's manual, etc. for the proper procedure.
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:11 AM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 6,641
OS: XP Home SP3 / Ubuntu / Win 7

My System

Gateway MX6453 Notebook

rwc1969 is right, you'd better use the recovery partition or the recovery CD to restore the system back to the factory settings and keep all the drivers you need. Read this starting at page 25 :

More information :

Gateway System Recovery
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