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how to erase all on hard drive, but the OS


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#1
angel_lady

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I received a computer from a friend's friend for free. It has XP Professional on it. I would like to erase all that she has on her hard drive, but still have the XP on it, of course. She has 6.0 GB space on the C: , with 320 MB of RAM. Unfortunately, she seems to have nearly the entire 6.0 GB space used on local drive C: ---there is only 93.5 MB free space on it. I've performed Disk Cleanup, removed all un-needed programs that I can find under the Add/Remove Programs option, but it still is full. (I installed AVG on it after I first got it, which seems to have taken up the last bit of room on it....and that's not even big in size. It didn't have any other anti-virus program on it.

I have purchased a 250 GB external hard drive, but I would first like to take everything off of the C: before using it. I don't know how to do that, though, without having an the original XP cd----my friend's friend moved to another country, and has yet to come across it. She actually thinks that somehow it got discarded during the move. :-(

Help??
Thanks.
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#2
John Hook

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Angel Lady,

If you know an administrator username/password on your friends old PC, you could log in, then manually remove her documents and uninstall (via Control Panel / Add Remove Programs) any programs that you don't want. This would preserve Windows XP on that drive while eliminating your friends old data and/or applications that you no longer want/need.


HOWEVER....

I would reconsider the hard drive size and installed RAM on this PC. 6GB is pretty small - even for JUST the XP operating system. Chances are it's an old drive so it's probably at least 3-4 generations behind the latest technology. 320MB of RAM will run Windows XP - but JUST BARELY! I wouldn't run XP on anything less than 512MB of RAM - 1-2GB is preferrable.

I'm thinking, based on the 6GB hard drive and the 320MB RAM - that this is a fairly old PC - probably not very upgradeable. If you're just looking for a "bare-bones" system to get you on the Internet, do email and some light applications - then you can keep it as-is - just don't expect it to respond or run very fast - especially if you're used to a newer generation PC.

I'm not sure that hooking up your 250Gb external drive to this old system is going to give you more than a LOT of space to work with on an old, slow PC. It really depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you give me more information about your friend's old PC - i.e. make, model, processor, processor speed - I could give you better advice.

Yes - you can remove your friend's data and programs from this old PC - but I'm guessing that even with a large external drive attached - you're going to find the performance of this old PC to be unacceptable.

Hope this helps.

- John
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#3
123Runner

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John, She has already uninstalled what she could.

Angel Lady,

John Hook is correct in what he is saying about size and speed.

What is the size of the hard drive? I would bet very small if it is filled up. You could probably install a slave drive and push as many programs and your data to that drive so you can get better use of the OS and drive size. Keep in mind that some programs require themselves to be installed on the main C drive.

If there are any programs that are not in add/ remove, they may have their own uninstallers thru start/ programs. You said you ran disk cleanup. Have you defragged it?

I would not use the 250gb as a drive to "install" any new programs though.
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#4
happyrock

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the best bet is to copy the drive you have to the other larger drive...

HDClone Free Edition enables you to move the content from an entire ATA/SATA hard drive to another, larger one. The program installs itself on a bootable floppy or CD, and include it`s own operating system, so it runs completely independent from Windows. Once HDClone has created the bootable floppy or CD for you, you can use it to boot your computer and copy the drive content to the new (installed) drive, using a graphical interface. The free version is perfectly suitable to upgrade your existing drive to a larger one. It supports IDE/ATA/SATA hard disks and is able to copy up to 300 MB/min. The latest version now supports USB mouse and keyboard as well as USB 1.1 drives.
once this is done you can disconnect the old tiny drive and set the jumpers on the new drive as master or CS connect the cables so the new bigger drive is at the end connector and boot from it...
want to get fancy ...get a linux live cd like unbuntu ...knoppix or GPARTED-LiveCD..and boot from the cd drive ...use Gparted to partition the drive into 2 or 3 partitions..(looks and works just like partition magic)

get it here..
instructions are here..

Edited by happyrck, 30 March 2008 - 09:58 AM.

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#5
angel_lady

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Yes, John, 123Runner is correct. I have uninstalled everything that I can, it seems. I will include some info on the comp, along with what I can see that it is installed on it at Add/Remove Programs below:

I didn't really seem to need an Administrator username/password. There is only one desktop that was being used on this---(it wasn't set up for separate Users). I deleted all Documents, music and pictures. Under Add/Remove programs, I deleted a few programs (though I can't remember them all at this time, but there were only about 3-4---including Flash--- that I didn't really need for the purpose that I need this comp for at the time. I have another comp that serves most of my needs. I am just needing the Windows XP at this time, at least thru May, to access a particular program/lessons online that a few of my students need.

FYI, I did try to defrag the comp, after using the Disk Cleanup feature. However, it turns out that ideally the comp should have 15% free, and at this point only has 4% free. I did it anyway, but it ended up only taking a few minutes or so (and I'm used to Defrag taking longer than that, so I don't really think it did much, nor perhaps worked in the correct fashion, with the free space being that lower percentage), and then told me that there were areas it couldn't defrag.

Under Add/Remove Programs, I see these:

Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 (no size indicated here)
Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 (no size indicated here)
Viewpoint Manager (remove only) 1.42 MB
Viewpoint Media Player .70 MB
Viewpoint Toolbar V35 (remove only) 3.47 MB
Windows Installer 3.1 (KB893803) (no size indicated here)
Windows Media Connect 8.48 MB

That is all that is listed there. As I'd mentioned, I had installed AVG on it, before discovering the 'very full' problem of the comp. I uninstalled that to free up somewhere of about 65-80 MB (I forget right now). However, according to a size of 6.0 Space, under the My Comp/Local Disk(C:)/properties feature, I would need to have 900 MB (this would be the min. 15% that Defrag says that it would require in order to run properly) free space, and at this point I only have 233 MB free space available. As you can see under the Add/Remove Programs that I've listed above, I can't even find that much to make available. I suspect, yes, that the XP is probably requiring much of the Space then. (I have heard before that the 320 MB Ram and 6.0 Space on the C: is probably much too low to properly run XP. As an 'amateur in the details of computer-kingdom', I was hoping that adding more MB ram would help. However, I have discovered that though a MB Ram internal card might make a difference in the space available on C:, an external hard drive can do nothing for that. Is that a correct assumption?

As for the computer, it is one that I'm not really very familiar with---a Gateway....as I have always had Compaq computers. Since it was free, it probably is, as you say, a sort of a dinosaur in the modern-day computer world. This is the specs of it:
Intel Pentium III processor
448 Mhz, with 320 MB of Ram

When I first logged onto the computer, it appears that my friend's friend had perhaps an illegal copy of XP on it, as it kept telling me that 'perhaps this program was not genuine.' I went to Windows, verified that, and then made it genuine thru their opportunity to purchase it for about 1/2 the price of the retail product. I did so, but I will not be receiving my very own CD of it until about 2-4 wks, according to Media mail time. That is why I was wondering if there was a way to reinstall the XP w/o having to have the CD. I sorta need the access to those school lessons/programs now, not 2-4 wks. from now. I do have another source that may be able to at least loan me his Windows XP Professional cd, if it would enable me to reinstall the program on my comp. I'm not sure, though, if this will mess up my 'now genuine' license # that I have. Perhaps someone could clue me in on that option???

Well, any other info that you all could provide about my current situation, especially now that you have some more info on my comp specs and also on the Programs that I see on there, would be greatly appreciated. BTW, would it help at all to download the Highjack program, work it on my comp (pls send directions again with a link, if that would help, though....I've done it before several times on other comps, but only with the advice and help from sites such as this one. So, I'm capable,....I just need to be prompted how to do it again. LOL.), and then post the results here. I'm wondering if it might help you all to see what else be on this comp, that I can't seem to find out about elsewhere.

As for copying the entire drive to my new separate external 250 GB hard drive, Hppyrck, I'd like to hold off of that as a last resort right now------at least until I get some other info that I've asked for this time. I'm only using this comp, for certain, thru May----unless I can get it operating just fine as a permanent 2nd useful comp-----and I don't really want to use my newly purchased Hard drive for it if I don't have to. I hope that that's not offensive to your advice/help that you so generously provided me. I am still greatly appreciative of your help and time.

Ok....well, awaiting some other news and help......thanks, all! :-)
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#6
angel_lady

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oh, and one other thing--------since the separate hard drive doesn't really make a difference in the RAM now available on the local disk (C:), since it becomes (E:), do I have the option of adding internal memory card(s) to this computer? Assuming that there's slots available, I realize. As I said, I've had Compaq computers, not Gateways, and I'm not certain that there ARE memory slots available on Gateways. I'm guessing so.....just not certain. If so, how much RAM will this particular comp take, given the specs of it that I gave in my last post? thanks, again..... ;-)
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#7
123Runner

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For added memory, you can go to www.crucial.com and run there memory checker. Do not buy memory from there. It is more expensive.
Your basic problem right now is your hard drive is small.
For defrag, try "JKdefrag" in my signature. I do not know how much empty hard disk space it requires.

It doesn't look like there is much you can un install that would give you any more free disk space.

You can run Everest (in my signature) and this will tell you everything you want about the computer, provided there is enough space to install.
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#8
John Hook

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Angel Lady,

Based on your description of that PC - Pentium III, I'm guessing that it probably will only support up tp 512MB of RAM (although I could be wrong about this). You'd have to find the owner's manual or download it from the manufacturer's site on the Web. If it's got 2 memory slots, you'd have to populate them both with 256MB SIMMs (Probably the old PC100 or PC133 DRAM which tends to be more expensive than the new DDR memory as it's legacy memory and new systems don't use it).

I say all of this because even if you spend the money to upgrade the PC to 512MB RAM - don't expect much performance running XP on it. Memory, or than hard disk space affects the speed of Windows on legacy systems like this - but if you're restricted to 512MB, it's going to run pretty slow. YES, it will be usable - but I won't try running lots of apps at the same time.

I have a bunch of old Dell Optiplex Pentium III systems from our old office that I've set up for my nieces and nephews. I put large hard drives in them, CD/DVD Burners and the MAX of 512MB RAM. They are pretty slow - the kids constantly complain about how slow they are.

You can speed this up somewhat by limiting the number of installed fonts, turning off all of XP's visual enhancement effects, disabling ALL unnecessary Windows Services, lowering the color settings to 16-bit or lower, etc.

Hope this information helps.

- John
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#9
happyrock

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while viewpoint is not considered spyware ...it is unnecessary...you can remove it

Viewpoint installs itself with various other programs such as AOL ©, AOL © Instant Messenger, Netscape, certain Adobe applications, and other programs on the web that require the media player to show their content.

Now if you are note using AOL © Instant Messenger or any other programs that use Viewpoint Media Player, you should be able to uninstall it without disrupting any applications. In this case, follow the steps below to remove Viewpoint.

How to Remove Viewpoint Media Player, Toolbar, or Manager

1) Right-click on the clock in your taskbar and choose Task Manager
2) Click on the Processes tab and search for VIEWMGR.EXE, if its found, click on it and then click End Task to close it
3) Click on Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs
4) Uninstall any of the following programs associated with Viewpoint

* Viewpoint Manager
* Viewpoint Media Player
* Viewpoint Toolbar

5) Close the Add/Remove Programs and Control Panel
6) Restart your computer
then click on my computer...right click on your c drive..properties...uncheck allow indexing service yada yada yada...click on OK..when a window pos up asking about sub folders ..say yes..it gonna take a few minutes to complete..

To clean your temp folder, recycle bin, index.dat etc..please download this free tool...

CCleaner

Don't install any Toolbars, or other programs, should it ask you...Just
uncheck the option of installing the Yahoo toolbar....if you get
the slim version it does not have the toolbar
thats the one I recommend...

It will put a shortcut on your Desktop.

Click on CCleaner to start it....
Before first use...
Select Options then Advanced.
UNCHECK "Only delete files in Windows Temp folder older than 48 hours"
The rest of the standard settings are fine...

Then click "Run Cleaner"

DO NOT USE ANY OF THE OTHER TOOLS...RUNNING THEM MAY CAUSE OTHER PROBLEMS

next get diskeeper lite here...

after installing it...click on the icon...close the "nag" screen...click on your c drive to select it ...then down towards the bottom ...click on defragment now...first time you use it it may take 15 to 30 minutes to complete...do it about every two weeks and it will complete in about 7 minutes.

Edited by happyrck, 30 March 2008 - 06:12 PM.

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#10
angel_lady

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Well, here's the update so far----and so far, I'm happy with it. ;-)

I downloaded the JKDefrag that 123Runner suggested. I'd remembered being 'prompted' to use this before in another situation with my other comp, so I was familiar with the name of it. I restarted my comp, and then defragged it just fine with that program while in Safe Mode. When the C: defrag was finished, before I could get to restarting the comp, it started the Screensaver defrag. I thought, 'what the heck, couldn't hurt, I suppose..', so I let it do its job. After it finished, I restarted the comp.

After everything loaded up, I must have clicked on something, or however it happened, but a window came up with lots of items listed on the comp that I hadn't been able to see before. I noticed QUITE a number of internet logs, and then determined that they were all located in an Internet Log file under Documents and Settings. It turns out that all of the internet logs located in there appeared to be from Yahoo chats, as they were all labeled Ypager within them and were dated from 2005-2006. The folder contained a HUGE 2.5 GB in it!!!! Omigosh! Well, I figured I didn't need someone else's chats, so I deleted that folder after noting that the only items enclosed in it were internet logs and nothing else. The file was soooo huge that it told me that it couldn't even put it in the Recycle Bin, so it asked if I wanted to delete them permanently. ha~ Easy answer there....yup! After that, I noticed that there were a few more files in that 'out of nowhere' window that had appeared, and I recognized a few names on them. One was ZoneAlarm, and since I was familiar with that program and knew I didn't want it on this comp, I deleted that file. There was also a file for Spybot Search and Destroy, which I was also familiar with, didn't want on this comp, and deleted it, too. There was one other file with a program in it that I recognized (but can't remember at this time), and I deleted it, too, since I didn't want it either. I then restarted the comp, and when it loaded up again, I checked the My Computer/C:/Properties.......and tada!, I had gained 2.8 GB of room, out of the 6 GB total available. Instead of the pie chart there being nearly completely full, I now had nearly HALF of it as Space available.

I then came back here to this posting to see what else had been suggested------I took Hppyrck's advice and went thru the process of removing the Viewpoint Manager, VP Media Player, and VP Toolbar, since we do not use AOL or any other similar program that might use this. Besides, when that 'mysteriously appeared' window was up, I'd noticed that I did indeed have the Windows Media/etc. programs on here, and those are just fine for us, since that's all we use on our other comp, too.

I then restarted the comp, finishing up the final step of unchecking 'allow indexing service, yada, yada' under My Comp/C:/properties.

After that, I downloaded the CCleaner, on the advice again of Hppyrck. I followed the instructions given me, (thanks!), and restarted the comp once again. I currently have 2.83 GB Space available of the 6.0 total. Yay!! Since I was able to defrag the comp in Safe Mode with the JKDefrag program I mentioned above, I didn't download the suggested Diskeeper. I do have that particular program downloaded on my other comp that I use, but at this point, I'm not going to download it here. I'm going to only need this comp in this particular state for the next few weeks for my students to do those online courses. After that, I should have my newly purchased GENUINE (!!) Windows XP cd via snail mail. At that time, I believe that I'll just use it to reinstall Windows XP on here, and thereby lose everything else that's on here that I don't need. I am able to download the free programs that I use, such as Bazooka, Flash and Adobe, and I am able to reinstall my purchased version of AVG. I also have my own purchased cd of Microsoft Office that I can again install on here at that time. Those are pretty much the only real regular programs that we use on here. I don't do any business stuff or anything like saved records and such. If anyone differs with my plan, lemme know, k? Perhaps you have a better idea for me that I've not considered. Oh, and btw, I will be purchasing (2) 256-MB Ram cards to place in this comp, once I've confirmed that there are two slots located inside it.

Thanks so much for all of your help here, everyone. I am left with two questions though-------As I just mentioned, if you have a better 'future' idea for my comp and us, lemme know.......and also, can someone (maybe you, Hppyrck, since it was your advice I'd followed...), please explain to me just WHY would I want to not have that box checked under My Computer/C:/Properties that says "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching" ??? It seems to me, the amateur here---I admit, though----that this would make my comp operate quicker in most operations.

Oh, and one last note------we have cable Internet connections on both of my comps, including, of course, this one. Even when that whole pie chart of My Comp/C:/properties showed nearly all of the space not available, my comp was never really that slow, as some have mentioned here. I've been surfing the internet with it here just as fast as on our other one, which is pretty quick. I haven't been operating any chat programs, such as Yahoo or MSN mssngrs at the same time (and I don't have them installed on here yet, either), nor have I been trying to operate Word or anything else at the same time, but I really haven't noticed it being very slow. Just thought I'd mention that....

Thanks again~~~ I look forward to hearing from you again about my two questions...and any other suggestions ya'll might have. :-)
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#11
happyrock

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please explain to me just WHY would I want
to not have that box checked under My Computer/C:/Properties that says "Allow
Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching" ??? It seems to me,
the amateur here---I admit, though----that this would make my comp operate
quicker in most operations.

you would be wrong...tests were done using indexing turned on and then off..
with it off it took just a couple of seconds longer to locate a file than it did with it on..
with it off you save the resources it required to do its job...speeding up the whole machine..

if you did have a large collection of data that you were constantly having to search for particular files
the get google desktop...it will index everything on your computer plus your gmail account and when you do a search then ..it will take about 2 seconds compared with windows search that can take 5 minutes

do not get Adobe reader ..its slow and bloatware...get foxit reader ...it small... fast and you can cut and paste the text from PDF's that it takes the paid version of Adobe to do...

Edited by happyrck, 31 March 2008 - 06:30 AM.

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