How to Wipe Everything Off a Hard Drive Except the OS

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In order to wipe everything off of a computer's hard drive, except for the OS, the first step is to remove all of the programs on the computer. Learn about what shouldn't be deleted from a computer with help from a software developer in this free video on computer hard drives.

Part of the Video Series: Computer Technology
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Dave Andrews. Today I am going to show you how to wipe everything off the computer except the OS. Let's go to our computer. Now what you are going to want to do is first remove the programs that are on your computer. Let's click on the start button. Let's go to the control panel. And we want to scroll down make sure classic view is selected on the left. We're going scroll down until we see programs. There it is programs and features. Now this is the list of all of the programs that are installed on this computer. What I want to do is go through this list, each and every item, and I want to click on it. Alright, let's start with, let's just find one here, let's start with this one. Just click on it. And then click on uninstall. Now what that is going to do is that is going to run the uninstall program for whatever program it is that you had selected. Now you need, each one of these may be a little bit different, you need to go through each one of these basically clicking next and remove everything. And basically what will happen is after I go through that process this item will no longer be installed on my computer. And it won't show up on the list. You'll need to do this for pretty much every item that's here in this programs list. It can be pretty long if you've been using the computer for awhile. Now we want to kind of clear some files off the hard drive. So let's click on start and go to computer. And open up the C Drive. Now we want to be carefully what we delete out of here. You don't want to delete anything out of Windows. You don't want to delete anything out of Users. If you're on Windows XP there's a Documents and Settings folder. You don't want to delete out of it. You don't want to delete out of Program Files. But pretty much all of these other folders, you're able to delete data out of. And it will probably be okay. This is your main operating system. This is all your users and programs files, is what you have installed and wouldn't want to remove. Then you go into the Users folder. And you basically delete all of these users except the one that you are currently logged in as. That will clear out all of their user files. So those are a lot of ways that you can clear off a computer. But still leave the operating system intact. My name is Dave Andrews, and I just showed you how to delete everything off a computer except the OS.

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