I recently bought a used computer from someone with Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit OEM pre-installed. The person selling me the computer didn't have the actual installation DVD (they were moving and couldn't locate it), so I extracted the key from the windows registry (or wherever it's stored) with a freeware application just to have it.
It didn't have many programs installed, but I removed what I could through Add/Remove Programs. I then deleted any user accounts, tried to open any applications that I wanted to remain on the computer (Internet Explorer, etc.) and restored them to factory settings if possible. I then browsed through the folders on the hard drive and deleted anything that looked like it wasn't essential for Windows functionality. I used an app called CCleaner to clean the registry of some traces of applications I had deleted that seemed to have been left behind.
My next step is to use the Windows 7 backup function to create a disk image of the computer the way it sits right now. Then I suppose I'll create a recovery disc as well to restore the computer from the image.
Am I forgetting anything? Is there any application I can use to further scrub this computer of traces of its past owner? Does an image only take essential Windows 7 OS files with it, or everything on the hard drive? If I burn these image DVDs (I suppose this is a question about optical discs in general), do they only take "top-layer" bits with them, and no traces of previously deleted files that might lie "under" the files being burned to disc?
I thought after I create the image and recovery discs, I could use a program like DBAN to wipe the hard drive and start as fresh as possible. Thanks, and any other input or advice you have into this process is welcome.
so I extracted the key from the windows registry (or wherever it's stored) with a freeware application just to have it.
If you have the product key from your Windows 7 Ultimate 32 OEM installation disk, any Windows 7 Ultimate 32 OEM installation disk can be used to install the OS providing the OEM installation disks are the exact same Windows 7 version (Windows 7 Ultimate 32 OEM).