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How to delete a WIndows XP user account that is the administrator account

Posted on 2014-10-04
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Last Modified: 2014-10-06
Dear Experts,
I want to transfer a laptop to another person without doing a system re-install of the operating system.

I have deleted all the software.

As a security measure I would like to delete my own Windows XP user account and then create a new one of the new owner.

The trick is that my own user account is the administrator Windows XP account. Can I delete it?

Is there a piece of free software I can install to "sanitize" my laptop before handing it over?
Best Wishes,
Phil
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Question by:Philip-David Truscott
7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40361752
You cannot delete the Windows XP administrator account without damage, and it should never have been used in the first instance.  Also the new owner will want "administrator" to be there.

Start in your admin account and delete documents, email, favourites, cookies, temp files and anything else you can think of.  Change the password to the admin account (you will give this to the new owner).

Set up a new userid for the owner as well.

Then defrag the hard drive to mostly write over top of what you deleted.

Truly, it is better to format and reinstall windows.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40361781
Not only is it far better to format and reinstall windows, it's actually pretty simple with XP.

In addition, if you just rename the user account, the folder on disk will still have the old name.
e.g. if the user name is "Jim", then under Documents and Settings there will be a Jim folder.    If you change the name of the account to "Bob", then "Bob" will show as the logged on user, etc. -- but the folder under Documents and Settings will still be "Jim".    Not a big deal as long as you've cleaned it all up ... but it's much better to simply wipe the system and reinstall XP.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40361838
on most laptops you can do a factory reset from the factory restore partition
what model is this laptop?  
then all data is erased
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Author Comment

by:Philip-David Truscott
ID: 40362113
Dear Garycase,
Can I re-install Windows XP without the install disk?

So far I have created a new admin account and deleted the old one.  I chose the option to delete the files.  Do I need to do any more than that?  I have also done a defrag.  I would love to reinstall Windows but do not have a disk.
Best Wishes,
Phil
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LVL 91

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40362178
Philip -  do you have a restore partition?  if yes, you can!
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 40362531
I chose the option to delete the files.  Do I need to do any more than that?  I have also done a defrag

A defrag will overwrite files and file areas. If your data is not super sensitive, you have probably done enough. Normal users will not be able to dig into overwritten data very easily.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40363470
@Philip-David Truscott  - Thank you and I was happy to help.
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