I'm looking for a way to clear my hard drive (Toshiba MK2555GSX if it helps) of everything, like a factory reset. All I need to keep is the OS (Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit) and my Microsoft Office apps. These apps did not come pre-installed on my laptop, and I do want to keep them.
If your computer came with a factory reset partition, you should be able to reset through a startup option. When the computer boots, you press 0 or something (depends on the computer), and it will give you a menu that allows you to factory reset.
If you perform a factory reset, then you'll lose Microsoft Office. Your only solution is to uninstall everything that you no longer need and delete folders that you're sure are not needed anymore. Why can't you reinstall MS Office? That would be much simpler.
If I understand correctly, you want to keep MS Office so that you'll be able to install it a third time on a new computer while keeping it on the laptop. If so, what I suggested is the solution that will work for you. It's time consuming and a bit risky, but you can always restore from the complete backup if something goes wrong (it could happen if you decide to clean up the registry and you make a mistake).
If I understand correctly, you want to keep MS Office so that you'll be able to install it a third time on a new computer while keeping it on the laptop.
This is exactly what I want to do. The reason I don't want to go through and delete everything one at a time is because my laptop has been acting a bit... weird, I guess, lately, and instead of trying to find the problem, I thought it would be easier to just do a factory reset. Their is nothing on the hard drive that I paid for, or that is worth keeping, except MS Office.
Would I be able to save MS Office to a flash drive (probably multiple flash drives), do the factory reset, and re-install MS Office without it counting as the third install?
I doubt you could do that, but why not contact Microsoft and explain your issue? Does your license allow you to run MS Office on 3 different systems or install it 3 times on one system? Microsoft can definitely confirm which type of license you have.
Hard drive has no factory reset function. All you can do is to format it . However, the format process will also erase your OS and Microsoft Office apps. Therefore, you can delete something useless manually.