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NoobC

@rogers.com

Bought a used computer. How do I start over?

I bought a used computer and I don't know what kind of viruses, spyware, ect. could be hidden on it so I want to start over fresh. The computer originally ran Windows XP but the people that last had it put Windows 7 Professional on it... I don't have the disc for either version so I'm thinking I'll have to just use Linux (I'm leaning towards Mint) or something when I start over. Unless someone knows how I could reuse the version of Windows 7 that's on it now?

Alright, so what do I have to do to start over? I've never had to do it as the only computer I had previously was bought new.


Pjr
Don't Panic

join:2005-12-11
UK
Can you find an online manual for the computer? It may have a partition you can restore XP from if the installation of Win 7 didn't delete it.

If you do decide to install Linux I would recommend Mint.
--
Overflow error in /dev/null


norwegian
Premium
join:2005-02-15
Outback
kudos:1
reply to NoobC

List details of the computer for us to work with or goto the site of the maker, check the serial number out if OEM to find specifics from the maker, find out as Pjr See Profile mentions if there might be a recovery partition first. Otherwise find a friend with an XP install disk that matches the key on the computer, or use Linux, but Dban the HDD and start clean and fresh and enjoy happy times.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to NoobC
Most name brand computers are sold with an operating system, and until recently all have a sticker on it telling you what the operating system that it is licensed for. Then it is just a matter of recovering the OS from recovery partition (if possible) or using a recovery DVD or set of recovery DVDs. If you don't have those DVDs, they can usually be purchased from the manufacturer for a nominal fee. Maybe $20-30, but not much more. If it is a Dell, it is often easier, but you haven't mentioning anything about brand name. You might consider a new hard drive depending on the age of the computer, but you can use the old one if it is healthy.


therube

join:2004-11-11
Randallstown, MD
Order Backup Disks from Dell - for Free?

(Dell) link is still there.
I've used it in the past without issues.
Suppose it is still free?


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
The cost for the Dell disks is $10...which covers shipping and handling.

Just went through this...


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
reply to NoobC
Usually with this you wipe the drive, then use the OEM certificate key on the sticker affixed to the body of the machine to reinstall that version of Windows, for which you need to acquire the proper layout of OEM install media, which is not hard to do.

There are ways to pull the Windows 7 certificate key from the existing installation before you wipe it, however, if it was a retail box as opposed to OEM, the way the seller sold it to you probably does not mean the transfer of the license in the legal sense and the license does not follow the hardware like OEM does, it follows the box / original purchaser (as I understand anyway, someone correct me if I'm wrong). So if you did pull the certificate key for reuse you'd be breaking the law. If you care.
--
Scott Brown Consulting


NoobC

@rogers.com
reply to NoobC
Thanks for the help, everyone! I actually have no interest in going back to Windows XP, I was only thinking of trying to save W7 but if I can't then I think I'd rather just go forward with a newer OS like Linux Mint. The sticker for XP on the computer was pealed off so I don't even have the serial number for it anyways.

So all I have to do in order to start over is erase the hard drive, correct? Then install Linux Mint and I'm all good? The hard drive is quite small - about 30GB I think - any idea how long the whole process will take?


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
Do it with DBAN in zero-only mode. It'll take like an hour with a small drive like that, less maybe.


norwegian
Premium
join:2005-02-15
Outback
kudos:1
reply to NoobC
In that case use a tool like MagicJellyBean and pull down the key off the install for Win 7. You can use Ultimate, Pro etc and wipe 1 file to obtain every version of Win 7 off the 1 disk to match what you have installed, only x64 and x32 need to be sourced specific to what is on this computer.

»www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfind ··· yfinder/

I'm sure if you looked or inquired, someone would be able to source an image of Win 7 for you, then wipe the HDD and start again.

Otherwise use Linux.
--
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke



norwegian
Premium
join:2005-02-15
Outback
kudos:1
reply to NoobC
On Win 7, where did the last users get it from, and if they sold it with it on, can you check if they intend to use it again on their next computer.

If it is all legit, fine, but something tells me you might need to ask more and if they can source the disk of Win 7 they used and the key just to check if they are being totally honest with you.

OZO
Premium
join:2003-01-17
kudos:2
reply to NoobC
There are plenty of tools to find out the key, used to activate the Windows OS on your computer. You may want to use one of those before you wipe out the OS. Or, just go with Linux instead...
--
Keep it simple, it'll become complex by itself...


NoobC

@rogers.com
reply to norwegian
I have no idea where they got Windows 7. I actually bought the computer a couple years ago but it's been sitting in a closet since then because I didn't have an use for it until recently. I bought a new TV with PC inputs so I want to set this one up to it and make myself a little media center.

I've got no way of contacting the original owners to see how (if?) they bought it new. I've got a friend with the Windows 7 discs, could I use them to reinstall it if I pulled the key off my computer? Can you foresee in any issues there?

I don't mind going with Linux but I would much rather keep W7. Since I know there can be some issues with certain programs in Linux. Which I've never used, just heard a lot about.


norwegian
Premium
join:2005-02-15
Outback
kudos:1
said by NoobC :

I've got no way of contacting the original owners to see how (if?) they bought it new. I've got a friend with the Windows 7 discs, could I use them to reinstall it if I pulled the key off my computer? Can you foresee in any issues there?

I can't forsee a problem, to create an image with every version of Win 7 to work with see the link below, so that you can install your specific version.
Your CD will need to be specific to x32 or x64.
Check it now while you have chance - look under SYSTEM in CONTROL PANEL to see if it is a x32 or x64 O/S. This is the only concerns using someone else's DVD image of Win 7

»www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/85 ··· ate.html

--
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke



sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
reply to NoobC
The tool that was recommended above will tell you the exact layout along with the certificate key, that tells you which media you need.


NoobC

@rogers.com
Thanks a lot for the help! It's very much appreciated!

My version is x32 and it's the Professional version. However, I completely forgot that the computer's CD drive does not work. I knew it wouldn't be easy. Haha.


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
Inexpensive to replace.


NoobC

@rogers.com
Yeah, there actually a lot cheaper than the last time I was looking for one. Probably the last question I'll have... I used Jellybean (awesome free program, btw!) and it says my copy of Windows 7 was "installed from 'OEM' media" Does that tell you anything? Should I be all set?


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
That means you want Windows 7 Professional SP1 x86 OEM DVD installation media.

If the hardware will support it, though, do x64 (64-bit). The entitlement is the same / does not discriminate.

You can install with the Retail media too, but you'll have to do phone activation. But it'll pass.