Just like new?
July 19, 2007 10:42 AM   Subscribe

How can I make my computer like-new without a CD drive? I sold my computer, which has Windows XP Pro on it. I want to make it look like a fresh install but don't have a CD drive. Besides, making a new user and deleting mine, what can I do to restore the start menus, default applications, installed programs, registry, etc.? I've modified quite a bit of everything.
posted by lpctstr; to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One option is to boot from USB instead of a CD. You'd need a BIOS which supports this, and a flash drive large enough to hold the XP install.
posted by poppo at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2007

You really should wipe the machine before allowing anyone else access to it, but your best bet is a USB CD drive, which are fairly well supported.
posted by iamabot at 10:54 AM on July 19, 2007

Uninstall everything, run CCleaner, use TweakUI to delete all your settings. Defrag your hard drive. Delete all the users except the Administrator.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2007

Put the drive in something else, copy the cd to the drive, put it back?

Or a USB cd drive?
posted by thilmony at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2007

since you need a cdrom drive that has boot-level access, this is a tough one. You could try to put a cdrom into a usb-enclosure, and hope that your laptop recognizes usb devices as boot devices (you may be able to change a setting for that in the BIOS). For this you'll need a usb enclosure as well as a cdrom drive. But taht might be the cheapest way to go. (neither is that expensive on ebay, for instance).
If your laptop doesnt recognize usb boot devices, then it becomes harder, cuz you'll need a pcmcia cdrom drive (a bit more expensive, even if you buy it used on ebay), and/or you may need to buy the original cdrom drive add-on or accessory (either from the manufacturer or from ebay), which would be the priciest option (but would definitely work).
posted by jak68 at 12:06 PM on July 19, 2007

Obviously, uninstall everything. After you delete your profile I want you to run sdelete so you can securely delete all your data. Its trivial to run an undeleter and get all your old data back.

With admin rights do this:

1. Download sdelete
2. extract it to c:\windows
3. Start > Run
4. type in sdelete -z

Let it run for a couple hours. It will overwrite your old data so your buyer cant perform an undelete operation.

Oh, its probably smart to do a disk defrag before running this. Lastly, theres a popular program called "the eraser" that does this but its buggy as hell. Stay away from it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:11 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

If your computer can boot off USB devices, I'd suggest (borrowing?) an external CD/DVD drive. Or possibly a flash drive carefully made bootable. These are both good options for wiping old data off.
You could copy the Windows install CD to your computer from another computer, using the network or a flash drive, & run the install from the copy.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2007

You can pick up an internal CD drive for $30 bucks these days. In fact, if you look on craigslist, you'll probably find a few for $10.
posted by davejay at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2007

Oh. For some reason I was under the impression that the computer in question is a laptop. Is this a desktop machine or a laptop?
posted by Pronoiac at 4:41 PM on July 19, 2007

It's a laptop, but buying extra stuff is out of the question. I'll follow the above posters' advice of secure wiping the data.
posted by lpctstr; at 8:17 PM on July 19, 2007

I've had good experiences using DBAN to erase old machines. Of course, then you'd need to reinstall an OS, or let your buyer do it. but at least you wouldn't have to worry about old data being left behind.
posted by jarsyl at 8:44 PM on July 20, 2007

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