How to wipe an old laptop

I've just bought a new laptop and I'm not sure what to do with the old one.  Is there a way I can put it back to factory settings like I can with my phone?  Should I take out the hard drive and pulverise it with a hammer?   I wouldn't even know how to take out the hard drive.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,621
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    Usually there is a recovery option which allows you to factory re-set it to how it would have been how you bought it. So all upgrades / updates will likely also be lost.

    What make and model of laptop is it?
  • Cisco001
    Cisco001 Posts: 4,000
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    Create a bootable usb stick with windows.
    If it is SSD drive, run SSD sanitizer tools to erase.
    HDD use program like DBAN.
    Install OS with the bootable usb stick once all data being wipe out
  • mluton
    mluton Posts: 796
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    Reset your Windows PC, Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started > Remove Everything
  • castle96
    castle96 Posts: 2,874
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    just smash the HD with a sledge hammer
  • Andy_L
    Andy_L Posts: 12,738
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    Are you selling or scrapping the old laptop?
  • Olinda99
    Olinda99 Posts: 1,165
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    there are two stages to wiping your laptop

    1. the first stage is to reset your Windows system as described by @mluton above

    2. the second stage is to wipe your hard drive ie set all the free space to zeros. you can do this using many methods but I use eraser.

    run eraser against each logical drive eg c:, d:, e: etc
  • I have several HDDs from old laptops I use to back up data/photos etc.  They are east to take out, you can buy an external HDD case for them for a few pounds.  All you need to do is format the disk then off you go.  If I can do it anyone can!
  • cerebus
    cerebus Posts: 513
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    If you're selling then wipe the laptop as described above 

    Or if you're planning to keep the laptop as a back up or chucking it to your kids then install Linux on it like mint and give it a new lease of life , normally I would recommend installing a ssd on it but no point spending money on a backup laptop and plus we have no idea what laptop you have nor what components it has already 

  • It's a Dell Inspiron 15.  I'm going to scrap it.  It's going really slowly now - that's why I bought a new one.

    I'm a bit of a technophobe so some of what has been said has gone over my head about wiping the hard drive but I should be able to reset it ok.
  • Olinda99
    Olinda99 Posts: 1,165
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    if you are not going to wipe the hard drive then don't give it away or sell it to anyone because the information that is on there will be easily recoverable
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