Reformatting previously-owned computer

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JosieM

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I was given a Dell computer with Vista OS. I would like to reformat (I guess) to remove the previous owners info, etc. Is reformatting the HD the best route to take? If so, how do I do that? Any recommendations will be appreciated. Thanks!!
 

cwwozniak

Chuck
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Reformatting the hard drive will remove the previous owner's info, files, and installed programs, BUT it will also remove the operating system. Do you have a way of re-installing Vista or some other operating system?

You could check if that particular model of Dell computer has a hidden factory recovery partition on the hard drive. If it has it, then it would be able to restore the remainder of the hard drive to factory fresh conditions. It would be missing all updates to Vista since the day it was made.
 

flavallee

Frank
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JosieM:

What is the model name and exact model number and exact 7-character "service tag" number on that Dell?
What is the exact Windows version on its Certificate-Of-Authenticity sticker?
Were you provided with any discs that originally came with it?

If you plan to do a clean re-install of Windows Vista SP2 in that Dell, this install and update guide will be very helpful to you.
https://forums.techguy.org/threads/updated-steps-for-installing-updating-windows-vista-sp2.1224605/
It was last tested and successfully used in December 2020.

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JosieM

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I will have to dig through some boxes to see if I can locate any discs for this computer. But I am not comfortable installing an OS. Here are some pics with info you asked about. Note the Recovery drive is full! Last pic is contents of the Rec drive. Maybe I should manually delete/uninstall data?? Or bring it to IT person! I appreciate your help!
 

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texasbullet

Ramon
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I see you have a recovery partition available. Try to see if you can make a recovery disc before reformatting HDD.
 

Couriant

James
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Hello! I removed one of your pictures that had your product key/CoA on it. This key is meant to be used for your computer only and can be used elsewhere without permission.

The recovery partition is usually close to full capacity from memory serves so that should be normal.

Depending on the Dell, there may be a way to create a USB recovery key. If you can, check the bottom of the machine for a Service Tag. If you do not see it, go to Start > Run > type cmd and press enter. Next type wmic bios get serialnumber and press enter. That should give you your Service Tag.
 

flavallee

Frank
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What is the model name and exact model number and exact 7-character "service tag" number on that Dell?
JosieM:
Please answer the above question that I asked you in post #3.
Your images do not help at all with describing your Dell and trying to locate its support site.
I removed one of your pictures that had your product key/CoA on it.
James:
Do you remember what the exact Windows version is on that C-O-A sticker?

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Couriant

James
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It was a little small and I did not fully checked it. I'm sorry.
 

flavallee

Frank
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No problem, James.
I doubt anyway that it will be resurrected and brought up-to-date.

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JosieM

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Sorry, Guys! I was not getting notifications of replies on this thread. And I had put this project away for awhile while setting up my new computer. So I'm back to "cleaning up" this old Dell Vista.
The Service Tag is G665TJ1
Windows Vista Home Basic
Mfg. Date: 042809
Dell Inspiron 530
So the plan is to "reformat" and reinstall Vista from the Recovery drive (or other source)?

I do appreciate the help here! :)
 

flavallee

Frank
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The Service Tag is G665TJ1
Windows Vista Home Basic
Mfg. Date: 042809
Dell Inspiron 530
You have THIS Dell Inspiron 530 Desktop PC

It was purchased in April 2009 in the U.S. and came with Windows Vista Home Basic SP1 32-bit.

It also came with these specs:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.80 GHz dual core processor
3 GB (1 GB + 1 GB + 512 MB + 512 MB) DDR2-800 MHz RAM
320 GB SATA hard disk drive
DVD+/-RW SATA disc drive
TEAC CA-200 19-in-1 memory card reader
Intel G31/G33/Q33/Q35 integrated graphics
Realtek ALC888 high definition audio
Intel 82562V 10/100 Mbps ethernet
300W power supply

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If you plan to use that desktop's recovery disc kit to revert it back to its original new condition, if the recovery process is successful, it will revert that desktop back to the condition it was in when it was manufactured in 2009.

Because "end of life" did not end for Windows Vista until April 2017, it will be about 8 years out of date.

Even if you had a good amount of computer knowledge, you will have a difficult time getting it up to date.

THIS is the guide for 64-bit and is the update process you will need to follow - after the SP2 upgrade is installed first.

Even if you manage to get that far, you will discover that most third-party apps no longer install and work with Windows Vista.

That is why I said what I did in post #9.

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JosieM

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Ok! I see the handwriting on the wall. Way too much for me to tackle. :censored: I will probably reformat and sell/donate somewhere. Me and my new Windows 10 seem to be doing good. I've had to research how to get around the aggravations of Micro Edge and One Drive. But it's coming together. Thanks again for your valuable info!
 

flavallee

Frank
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I'm sorry that I couldn't be more positive in my comments.
I know from personal experience what you'd have to go through because I run Windows Vista Business SP2 64-bit in my test laptop.
Getting it up to date after it was installed was a real challenge for me, even with being as computer knowledgeable as I am.
I think you'll be wasting your time with formatting its hard drive and donating it, but that's your decision.
And you're welcome.
:)

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JosieM

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Ok. One more thing then .... my objective in "reformatting" is to wipe out all personal data on the pc. Should I just take the HD out and destroy it?
 

flavallee

Frank
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If you plan to dispose of that Dell desktop and not donate it, removing its hard drive first and destroying it is what I recommend you do.
Giving it several hard blows with a hammer or drilling a few holes through it will do the job.

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