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Computer Help Needed!!!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I just got (Free!) a computer from my neighbor, he was going to throw it away as he has gotten a new one.
It is running Windows XP. Is there a way I can clear out everything on there and restore it back to the way it qriginaly came? He has a ton of stuff on it, would be a PIA to try to go through and delete everything one by one.
post #2 of 27
Do you have the Windows XP install cd? You could wipe the hard drive and reinstall Windows. Other than that I'm not totally sure. Wait around for a while and see if anyone else posts.

Congrats on your new PC!
post #3 of 27
Depends on the computer manufacturer and what he's done to it. Some places have a restore point from factory settings, but if he's savvy enough, he might have deleted that restore point.

Do you have the original discs that came with the machine? There might be a system restore cd that will restore it to the manufacturer's settings.

Other than that, you'd have to have a Windows installation disc, format, and reinstall.

Either way, good luck!
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
No, He didn't give me any disks so I assume it was pre-installed. I will be back with more info, I just got so excited to have a computer again!!!! (Im on webtv, yup, webtv, egads!)
The problem is its running veeeeeerrrryyyyyy slow, I think he just has too much crap on it, but, Im off to go play with the now (old) toy, back soon!
post #5 of 27
What are the stats? How much ram, hard drive space, cpu speed? Depending on what you have, XP may be a bad choice for you if you want it to function at a decent speed.

I can't believe anyone would just throw a pc out, let alone one that still works. There's all sorts of things one can do with an older pc. Old pII's can be turned into routers for example. Oh well, one man's trash....
post #6 of 27
Wow, he gave away a computer with all of his content on it? What a crazy and unsafe thing to do! He could have passwords on there, not to mention programs that if given away are a copyright violation.

He should have formatted the drive and reinstalled XP on it for you before giving it to you.

However, unless you have an XP disk or a recovery disk, you won't be able to reformat the drive if you need to because you don't have a valid copy of XP.

Also, if he does have a copy of XP and he put it on his new computer, the serial number of his copy of XP (which is also on your computer) is recorded and you or he can get into big trouble with Microsoft for running a pirated version of XP on a second computer, and you may not be able to get the windows updates either.

In order to run Windows software on a second computer, Microsoft requires you to purchase a license for the second computer. No license, equals pirating.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
However, unless you have an XP disk or a recovery disk, you won't be able to reformat the drive if you need to because you don't have a valid copy of XP.
Wrong. Any Windows disc, Linux live disc (or Unix-like OS of your choice), or even a floppy with just fdisk on it will allow the hard drives to be reformatted.
post #8 of 27
Some computers actually have a partition on them where the original software is located. Check the Help from the start menu to see if there is a topic about restoring the original operating system. Also, you can check the computer manufacturer's web site for information.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Wrong. Any Windows disc, Linux live disc (or Unix-like OS of your choice), or even a floppy with just fdisk on it will allow the hard drives to be reformatted.
Yes, but she won't be able to put XP back on it which is what I meant
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Yes, but she won't be able to put XP back on it which is what I meant
Sure she could, if she buys a copy. As for transferring a PC with XP on it. It's a little fuzzy there as one can give the license away - she'd just have to bug him for key. All it takes is a call from him to say "yes, I gave the computer to such and such" if there was a problem. Do you know they often don't even bother if two PCs, from the same IP of course, are running the same copy? We've installed the same copy on different PCs before, though not at the same time as you couldn't pay me to put XP on my PC.

But, depending on the PC's stats, I was going to suggest a different OS all together.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Sure she could, if she buys a copy.
Yes, I know that. But she doesn't have one right now and without it she can't reinstall it on her computer if she needs to.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well a lot of info that now has me going HUH? LOL.
He did give me disks, they were in a bag I didn't know roommate brought down. The disks are for Win 98, and a Dell restore disk. I don't want to restore it back down to 98 OS, so Im going through and cleaning stuff out.
Checking its stats it's an AMD Athalon processor, 1.20GHz, 240 MB RAM.

EDIT- Gateway restore disk, not Dell.
post #13 of 27
240mbs of ram?!! Forget XP. To run anything halfway decently you need twice that. XP alone recommends 256mbs.
Consider 98, Windows 2000, or switching to another OS such as Linux. On what little is there, several light weight Linux distros would run well. And no, it's not that hard to use provided that you can use google to look things up.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
240mbs of ram?!! Forget XP. To run anything halfway decently you need twice that. XP alone recommends 256mbs.
Consider 98, Windows 2000, or switching to another OS such as Linux. On what little is there, several light weight Linux distros would run well. And no, it's not that hard to use provided that you can use google to look things up.
So XP is too big for this? I didn't install it, so don't know how smooth it was running before. I dont have a problem with win 98, quite used to it, but as tech progresses its becoming another dino. I dont mind XP, though a bit hinky to me, but Im just not used to it.
post #15 of 27
Big isn't the correct term exactly - takes too much memory (ram) would be the problem. To be honest, that computer is perfectly fine for basic user use - so pick the OS that will fit your needs and won't be too much trouble to deal with. Do know though.. I consider BSOD to be "trouble to deal with". If you use the discs that came with the PC, also consider they'll probably have useless stuff on them that you may not need - but if you have no other choice then it's worth a shot.

I'd still say Linux for something with those stats, as you could get speed, looks, other user support, and it would be free. But you'd have to learn a whole new OS. At the very least, if you're brave and want to see how the computer handles on something less bloated then XP, have a friend download and burn you a cdr - it wouldn't affect the PC at all to boot from one.

If you're actually interested, start a thread about it as I've only had experience with three live cds. A few of the other users here have probably tried more and ubuntu is very popular right now (one I haven't tried) with a great user base.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
No, He didn't give me any disks so I assume it was pre-installed. I will be back with more info, I just got so excited to have a computer again!!!! (Im on webtv, yup, webtv, egads!)
The problem is its running veeeeeerrrryyyyyy slow, I think he just has too much crap on it, but, Im off to go play with the now (old) toy, back soon!
I feel your pain! I 'suffered' with WebTV for years, till we got a computer from our landlady who bought a new one also, and gave us hers. I didn't know what I was missing till I had a computer, and it crashed. Then I had to revert back to the WebTV, and it just about drove me nuts! You don't know what you're missing till it's gone. But to be fair, the WebTV was better than nothing at all.

My son got mine running again by using a start-up disc. It erased everything that was stored, but I really didn't mind b/c before the computer crashed, it was running reaaallly slow. It works really well now, and isn't slow at all. I think it probably crashed in the first place b/c there was way too much junk on it from when our landlady had it. I'm certainly no expert so I'm not gonna give any technical advice, but I think that that's probably what's wrong with your computer, and it would probably run better if you did the restart thing..

Congrats on getting a computer! You're just gonna love having one!

~KK~
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KittKatt View Post
I feel your pain! I 'suffered' with WebTV for years, till we got a computer from our landlady who bought a new one also, and gave us hers. I didn't know what I was missing till I had a computer, and it crashed. Then I had to revert back to the WebTV, and it just about drove me nuts! You don't know what you're missing till it's gone. But to be fair, the WebTV was better than nothing at all.

My son got mine running again by using a start-up disc. It erased everything that was stored, but I really didn't mind b/c before the computer crashed, it was running reaaallly slow. It works really well now, and isn't slow at all. I think it probably crashed in the first place b/c there was way too much junk on it from when our landlady had it. I'm certainly no expert so I'm not gonna give any technical advice, but I think that that's probably what's wrong with your computer, and it would probably run better if you did the restart thing..

Congrats on getting a computer! You're just gonna love having one!

~KK~
Love having one back! Mine died about 4 months ago, it was a long slow death as I watched sector after sector become corrupt. Scan disk became part of my normal start up routine. Too old of a beast to get it repaired anywhere, though my brother came over and took it and tried. He still has it in the back of his car, he still has hope for it to be resurected (I lost a lot of stuff, could not back anything up *sigh*) He has also gone through a computer melt down, so he know the frustration!
ANYWAY, I still have XP on it, and am still cleaning all his stuff out of it (some quite interesting, lol, porn porn porn) Also just tons of music and just junk cluttering everything up. It's getting a bit faster the more I clear, but still not what it should be. Really dont want to off XP just yet as I will not be able to get it back.
Thanks to everyone for responding to this BTW! (and I am considering Linux as an alternative, just have to research it as I know nothing about it)
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
OK new problem. Still cleaning this thing. He has Norton, McAffee, AVG and Trend. I have never heard of trend, and it's taking up a HUGE amount of space. I cant remove the program without a password! ???
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
Well a lot of info that now has me going HUH? LOL.
He did give me disks, they were in a bag I didn't know roommate brought down. The disks are for Win 98, and a Dell restore disk. I don't want to restore it back down to 98 OS, so Im going through and cleaning stuff out.
Checking its stats it's an AMD Athalon processor, 1.20GHz, 240 MB RAM.

EDIT- Gateway restore disk, not Dell.
Do you have a windows XP disk from your old computer? If so you can put the XP OS on your new computer.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Do you have a windows XP disk from your old computer? If so you can put the XP OS on your new computer.
No, XP was installed later, the disk is Win 98.
What about this Trend deal? I want it off here, and it won't let me!
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
He has Norton, McAffee, AVG and Trend.
I don't know what Trend is either, but what sort of idiot installs multiple antivirus programs? I'm surprised the thing even boots up with what all is on it!

Remove as much of everything as you can, for now. Reformatting will probably be the only way to truly clean it, though. With all those antivirus programs, there probably are viruses or trojans that were missed - so that's what you'll need to check for soon (the files suggest he probably wasn't very careful user, either). If you want to try Linux, like I said - start a thread asking about different distros and desktop environments. IMO, depending on the what you choose to go with it's a lot prettier then Windows could ever be and more functional. And the only way to learn is to jump right in.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have no idea why there are so many anti virus programs on here, maybe because of the *ahem* material he surfed? He admitted he is not really computer savvy, well thats a big Duh!
Im going to go hunting down viruses and trojans, nasty little suckers, and porn sites are full of them. Got a trojan on my old computer (I swear I was just at that site to read the articles!) and it took 3 days, many cigs and lots of coffee to get rid of.
So, its back to the beast to clean up some more stuff *puts haz mat suit on*
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
I don't know what Trend is either, but what sort of idiot installs multiple antivirus programs? I'm surprised the thing even boots up with what all is on it!
I think Trend might be http://us.trendmicro.com/us/home/ which is another security system.

You also may want to try booting up in save mode. You can clear out a lot of stuff that way.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by katachtig View Post
I think Trend might be http://us.trendmicro.com/us/home/ which is another security system.
I had consider that, but thought "Hey, this guy probably didn't know much, so why would he attempted to use something like that?", though it would explain why it wanted a password. This could be tried if that is the case http://esupport.trendmicro.com/suppo...&id=EN-1036108
post #25 of 27
I'm sure trend is trend micro which is a pretty popular anti-virus, but it's nuts to EVER run more than one anti-virus and will, in most cases, completelly defeat the purpose as one anti-virus will see the others as viruses themselves in lots of cases.

use only ONE anti-virus. I use NOD32 which is cheap and is a GREAT program. Not at all intrusive. http://www.eset.com/

As Strange_Wings has said that's a really REALLY low amount of ram. You really should spent a few bucks and upgrade it. I bet you could put on 1gb replacing your existing, for less than 50 bucks. WELL worth it.
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Any upgrade to the memory will have to wait, don't have any money to spare at the moment. Yes, it was trend micro, and was a real pain to delete! No clue why he had so may antivirus programs, I even found a few others as I searched around, or should I say bits and pieces of others as it looks like he deleted them improperly or they were just nasty programs. The only one I left was Norton, though it is a rather big sucker and the ccApp file is really slowing things down. Been looking to see if there is a fix for that.
Im slightly confused about the memory, it's something that has always tripped me up, and Im a little embarassed to ask because I know it's like computers 101, but when I defrag, it says I have 18.64GB of space with 10.53GB free. Now, am I correct in thinking that is ROM, so I have room to download stuff and store it but just not enough RAM to run it?
Anyway, I have cleaned pretty much everything I can for now and it is running faster, but still takes forever to boot up. I have looked at the start up programs and there is a ton of stuff, just not sure what can go and what ahould stay!
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastnoc View Post
As Strange_Wings has said that's a really REALLY low amount of ram. You really should spent a few bucks and upgrade it. I bet you could put on 1gb replacing your existing, for less than 50 bucks. WELL worth it.
As old as that computer is, it might be harder to find that specific ram. And once found, it may cost more then it's worth. Take some of the old pc100 or 133 SD ram for example - a computer needing that isn't worth spending what it would cost to put more ram into, especially if you have to get it from a local store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
Im slightly confused about the memory, it's something that has always tripped me up, and Im a little embarassed to ask because I know it's like computers 101, but when I defrag, it says I have 18.64GB of space with 10.53GB free. Now, am I correct in thinking that is ROM, so I have room to download stuff and store it but just not enough RAM to run it?
Anyway, I have cleaned pretty much everything I can for now and it is running faster, but still takes forever to boot up. I have looked at the start up programs and there is a ton of stuff, just not sure what can go and what ahould stay!
First off, ditch Norton. Unless you pay for it you won't be able to update or upgrade it. It's slow, it's useless.

OK what you are defraging is the hard drive disk. If you were to open up the case it would look something like this http://www.geekatyourservice.com/images/hard-drive2.jpg
This is where you store files. You only have 10.53 gigs free because Windows and programs are taking up the rest of the space already.

A Rom drive is what you put a cd or dvd in.

Ram stands for "random access memory" and it would probably be easier for you to just read what wikipedia has on it in case I make it too confusing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_access_memory
You need a certain amount of this to actually run programs and do pretty much anything on your computer, while you can designate a swap file (as mentioned) on the hard drive itself to help, you can't really get around what the basic requirements are.
(Your swap file, by the way, when or if you set it should be a minimum of 480mbs - 500 to 512mbs would be better.)
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