Need to format (clean off?) hard drive but keep XP on it

By kbmoose1 ·
My daughter has a fairly new desktop which has XP Home installed. She can't find her OS install disk or her key. She want to sell the desktop since she now has a new laptop. I want to clean all the personal stuff off to avoid ID theft issues, but can't format the Hard Drive because I can't reinstall XP unless she finds the disk and key.

Is there a way to do this? Any help would be appreciated.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Answers

Collapse -

Well the Product Key is the Easy Thing

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Need to format (clean off ...

It is printed on a Sticker stuck to the Case and is a 25 Digit Alpha Numeric String consisting or 5 lots of 5 characters. But even then it may not be required if you have a Name Brand Computer as the Product Key is normally slipstreamed to the Install Disc.

If you have another computer from the same maker with XP Home loaded you can use that Install Disc to perform the initial Install though you may have to visit the Makers Web Site and download any necessary Drivers which are not included in the Recovery Disc.

Besides just Formatting the HDD you need to use a Military Spec Wiping Utility like Boot & Nuke to Destroy any Data already on the HDD. If you just run the Format Option someone with a Data Recovery Utility could recover data off the HDD so use something like Boot & Nuke available to download free from here


Though to do it properly it should take several hours to Wipe the HDD completely. Depending on the Hardware itself 4 Hours isn't uncommon.

Filing that you can either load a Linux which is free to download and use or contact the System Maker and buy a Recovery Set for this Model Computer.

If you want to try a Linux Install I would suggest either Ubuntu


Or Mandriva



Collapse -

No, there is not......

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Need to format (clean off ...

It's not possible to wipe just part of the drive.

It's better to wipe the entire HDD (be sure to zero out) and sell it without an OS than it is to try and leave the OS on it. The registry of the current OS will still have entries made while she was using it. You don't want to leave anything behind.

Collapse -

Recovery Partition?

by Bizzo In reply to Need to format (clean off ...

Some machines come with a recovery partition, rather than an installation disk.

Maybe the desktop has a recovery partition that you can do a fresh install from.

Related Discussions

Related Forums