It’s almost impossible to remove all personal information from a Windows installation, short of one extreme option.
Setup and Install
Windows 10 makes it relatively easy to reinstall Windows and keep most of your data while doing so.
To reformat and reinstall is considered the “nuclear option” when it comes to dealing with Windows problems (or just cleaning up).
It’s not uncommon to set up Windows 10 only to find you’re required to log in with a Microsoft account. I’ll show you how to restore a local account sign-in.
We can certainly find a way to repair your system registry. But my concern is, why did this happen in the first place?
If you bought it you can, and should, save it. Even if it is just a downloaded installation .exe file and activation code.
At some point, you’re going to need your Windows installation CD/DVD. If you don’t have it, you could be severely out of luck. I’ll review alternatives.
More frequently, unwanted software is included in the download package of things you actually want. Preventing these programs from being installed is easy; getting rid of them may not be.
Using an external drive is not going to work like you think in the long run. In the end, a backup image is the most convenient tool to use when reinstalling Windows.
By definition, reformatting a hard drive erases everything. The big question is, why didn’t the technician tell you that?!
Installing software safely is something that I suspect many don’t really think about, even though installing software is something we do often. I’ll review some recommendations to minimize both impact and danger.
If you don’t have installation or recovery media then you’ll need to take additional steps to prepare for the day you might need to reset to factory settings. Additional steps using software that I hope you already have.
When it’s important that you save several things for the day disaster strikes and you need to reinstall downloaded programs. I’ll look at what you need to save to prepare for the worst.
In this scenario, the real issue is that your C: drive is full. What I recommend you do is clean it up.
Skip the apps. Install the software that you’re going to use and use your
computer the way you want to use it!
Sometimes the best approach to resolving an issue, be it a virus or simply software rot, is reformat and reinstall. We’ll review the steps.
Reformatting a machine is a major step that erases everything. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you’re going to want that Windows Setup CD.