empty out all but OS files

Posted on 2011-11-01
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
is there a easy way to clean out a PC before giving it to someone as gift.. i'd rather not go through the time consuming OS refresh again.. there is no clones)

i just want to clean out any user profiles and any user data, regardless of what file or program it is
Question by:25112
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    No single easy way to remove everything. You can delete profiles using the control panel system tool,  (advanced for Win 7), User Profiles settings. You can uninstall programs using the Control Panel, Programs  (or add/remove programs in XP. But when you are done, the machine may have lots of stuff in nonstandard places and a registry full of references that you really don't want.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    These are the places you'll need to clean :

    1. create a temp admin user and login using that:
    2. go to : "c:\documents and settings\" and delete all folders (These will be the desktop, my docs, favorites etc. for all users)
    3. Except for the drive having the OS installed (Mostly c:) delete the files in all other folders.
    4. Uninstall the programs you may have installed using start->run->appwiz.cpl
    5. Delete any folders you may have created in the root directory containing the OS.

    Thats it. There would rarely be any othere place you may have user files.

    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    also make sure you delete all the users that you may have created on the system.

    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    after the above - i would run ccleaner to clean up all temp files and cleanup leftovers in the registry.
    it may pay to do a disk wipe if there was confidential info on it.
    personally - a clean install of the OS will be faster - provided you have access to any hardware drivers - particularly if it is XP or Vista.
    also - manually delete printers.
    LVL 91

    Assisted Solution

    not to mention that not all pc's are stup the same way - 1 partition or disk -or multiple ones
    programs can install their data in their subfolders as well
    you'll need to clean out cookies, inter net history, mail and contacts as well

    the best way to do it is : when the pc is new and fully workable (= all needed programs installed and configured) make an image
    if you restore that - without documents of course, you have a clean pc
    But i figure it's a bit too late for that now..

    so yes a fresh install is best - if you have all program cd's and keys

    years a go i came across a description of a cleanup - can't remeber from where :
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    will follow the idea.

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