Can I Completely Format A Hard Drive

  sullyonefive 06:03 AM 17 Jul 12
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I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop that has been seriously tampered with (covertly) monitoring software (all the signs are there i.e. 'C drive missing', two system restore points created when I was at work, event log showing events when at work and not at home on my laptop, etc etc). Can I completely format the whole hard drive? I have the original Dell Utilities Drivers disk, but the laptop already came with Win 7 pre-installed. I do have a recovery flash drive but that has been copied since my laptop has been compromised!! Can I use my old laptops (Fujitsu Siemens) Win Vista recovery disk and install Vista on my Dell from that?

  KRONOS the First 08:12 AM 17 Jul 12

The Fujitsu Siemens will have totally different drivers to the Dell laptop so I would imagine that you could not use it. You could download a Windows 7 ISO and burn to DVD then install that, I think.then use the Dell drivers disk to install any missing drivers.

  birdface 08:12 AM 17 Jul 12

Would restoring to factory settings not do if you have that facility on the laptop.

  sullyonefive 09:22 AM 17 Jul 12

Thank you Chronus .........what about if I use 'Kill Disk' then re-install drivers etc? I believe the Siemens Win Vista recovery disk is not Siemens specific. It came with my Siemens laptop but I believe it is just a generic Vista platform recovery disk?! PS...I want to drop Win 7 and go back to Vista!

Buteman....to restore back to factory settings wouldn't I need to use my recovery flash drive? I'm reluctant to do that because I think I created my recovery flash drive after my laptop was compromised!!

  KRONOS the First 09:37 AM 17 Jul 12

As I have no idea about Siemens disk I cannot answer, but what have you to lose by trying it? if it does not work I have no doubt we can try other methods to get vista on it. I don't think you need to use Kill Disk as the installation of Vista will format the HDD before the fresh install.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:41 AM 17 Jul 12

Dell laptops have a ghost partition embedded on the hard drive. This makes it easy to bring the system back to a factory new state.

Use Dell PC Restore by Symantec only as the last method to restore your operating system.

PC Restore restores your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer.

Any programs or files added since you received your computer—including data files—are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Data files include documents, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, digital photos, music files, and so on. If possible, back up all data before using PC Restore.

To use PC Restore:

1 Turn on the computer.

During the boot process, a blue bar with www.dell.com appears at the top of the screen.

2 Immediately upon seeing the blue bar, press .

If you do not press in time, let the computer finish starting, and then restart the

computer again.

NOTICE: If you do not want to proceed with PC Restore, click Reboot in the following step.

3 On the next screen that appears, click Restore.

4 On the next screen, click Confirm.

The restore process takes approximately 6–10 minutes to complete.

5 When prompted, click Finish to reboot the computer.

NOTE: Do not manually shut down the computer. Click Finish and let the computer completely reboot.

6 When prompted, click Yes.

The computer restarts. Because the computer is restored to its original operating state, the screens that appear, such as the End User License Agreement, are the same ones that appeared the first time the computer was turned on.

7 Click Next.

The System Restore screen appears and the computer restarts.

8 After the computer restarts, click OK.

9 You will now have to run Windows Update as well as Live Update for your virus protection as these will be seriously out of date.

  sullyonefive 10:00 AM 17 Jul 12

Thanks Fruit Bat.....do I still need to use my recovery flash drive?

  birdface 10:27 AM 17 Jul 12

On my Windows 7 computer when I click my computer it shows C drive and a recovery drive D.

Not sure whether a dell computer shows the same or not.

If it shows a recovery drive you don't need your flash drive but I would wait for further information from Fruit Bat /\0/.

  sullyonefive 10:29 AM 17 Jul 12

Thanks Buteman but I only have one drive :-(

  birdface 10:52 AM 17 Jul 12

See what Fruit Bat /\0/\ says he is the expert on those matters.

  birdface 10:56 AM 17 Jul 12

Try pressing Ctrl + F11 as your computer starts that should take you to factory settings I hope.

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