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Prepare Dell laptop for sale

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Hi,
I've got a Dell Inspiron 510m laptop with Windows XP. It's now over 4 years old and I've replaced it with a new laptop. I'd like to sell it, but don't have the XP disks as Dell didn't supply them. Please can you suggest a quick and secure way to wipe everything off it apart from the operating system and Dell software?
Thanks
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Question by:StuartOrd
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by:uucknaaa
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Hi

When you boot the computer, do you see a blue line at the top of one of the initial screens.  There's a key sequence you can push at that point, I believe it's CTRL-SHFT-F11, that will start a process to return your machine to the factory default settings.

For this to work, the Factory Restore option needs to come with the computer.  If it does, sometimes they don't send disks.

Check it out.
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by:BrianMilnes
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Also, Dell PCs were supplied with a utility to write a recovery CD, which would, (one off) create a system disk that would do the same thing - restore to original specification. It would be in your Programs list.
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by:StuartOrd
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Thanks for your comments.
No, there's no blue line. I've tried Ctrl-Shft-F11 on bootup just in case, but Windows strated normally.
I can't find a recovery program. The only Dell entry in Programs list is "Resource CD", clicking which does nothing.
The only Dell disks I've got are for re-installing antivirus, ISP, and DVD software.
If necessary I can uninstall the programs by hand and delete all my work, but it needs to be secure deletion and last time I tried that it led to tears...
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by:BrianMilnes
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by:StuartOrd
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Thanks, but this refers to the Dell recovery software. It doesn't appear to be on this PC. Apparently they only installed it in systems shipped at a certain time, which mine wasn't.
I remember now I had difficulty a couple of years ago when I hit some problems and tried to restore an image using Acronis True Image. I can't remember now exactly what happened but it wouldn't restore, and it needed a technician to visit (it was under extended warranty then). He installed XP from his CDs and it still wouldn't work. He had to instal more files from other (Dell) CDs before it would work. So maybe a re-install isn't best anyway.
Perhaps you could recommend a way to just securely empty My DOcuments etc?
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uucknaaa earned 500 total points
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Well ..

There's a ton of software out there that can be used to securely delete files.  Here's a link to some free ones:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-secure-erase-utility.htm

Check these out and see if they'll accomplish your needed task.
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by:StuartOrd
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The Eraser one seems OK. It threw some error during installation but I ignored and it seems to run OK. It's very slow but it is overwriting each file 25 times.
...  It took 24 hours! No matter, job done. Thanks
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