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Old 08-19-2014, 02:56 AM   #1
MikePote
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Default Help me computer people!

Im pretty much computer illiterate. I have been googling to no avail how to restore my computer like it was from the factory but save the files and programs (bunch of pictures, handful of work docs, page layout software, and stamps.com software) that I need. Any tips? I feel like everything I find tells me how to backup files to restore later if something catastrophic happens or but I cant figure out how to do what I want, at least in idiot terms. If anybody can point me in the right direction that would be awesome. Thanks!

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Old 08-19-2014, 03:25 AM   #2
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Buy a portable USB HDD like the WD Passport line (full disclosure: I work for WD). Copy your files to the Passport.

Then, find your computer maker's recovery disk. Follow its instructions to restore your PC to factory fresh.

Finally, copy your files from the Passport back over to the PC.

Note: if you are doing this because of a virus, this may not solve it. If this is the case, after you use the restore disk, install a good virus-protection software prior to plugging in the Passport so that you can scan those files for infection.

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Old 08-19-2014, 03:30 AM   #3
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Or shorter and to the point: if you are running windows do a repair install (you can google the details) but that will essentially overwrite any OS stuff on the HD, but leave the HD in tact. But the down side is you will have to reinstall your programs. Which may not be a bad thing.

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Old 08-19-2014, 03:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bwarbiany View Post
Buy a portable USB HDD like the WD Passport line (full disclosure: I work for WD). Copy your files to the Passport.

Then, find your computer maker's recovery disk. Follow its instructions to restore your PC to factory fresh.

Finally, copy your files from the Passport back over to the PC.

Note: if you are doing this because of a virus, this may not solve it. If this is the case, after you use the restore disk, install a good virus-protection software prior to plugging in the Passport so that you can scan those files for infection.
Newer Laptops dont include a recovery disk they do a recovery partition. So in the BIOS you will need to boot from the alternate partition.

Details found (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/conten...n-windows.html)
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Old 08-19-2014, 01:46 PM   #5
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You could plug in a thumb drive (Cheap) if your files are so small that they will fit. Or you could buy a portable hard disk if your files are too large for a cheap thumb stick.

Most laptops, and some branded desktops have a recovery partition with everything the computer needs to reload the system to factory. The trick is finding out how to access that partition and reload the system.

Some brands allow you to log in and download an install disk you would burn and re-install from.

Here is what I recommend:

1) Tell us the brand and MODEL NUMBER of your computer, and the service tag or similar. This we can use to help you find out if you can access a recovery partition and how to do so.

2) Download Magic Jelly Bean, or Keyfinder (google it) to find out the Microsoft OS and/or Office REG CODES so that you can re-use those codes when re-installing.

3) Back up everything using thumb stick or portable drive (Or burn to CD/DVD if they will fit)

Generally, finding the way to access the recovery program is the hardest part in using them. They need them to be accessible, but not so easy to get to that you would accidentally run it and wipe your system unintentionally.

The LAST thing you want to do is to take it to a Geek Squad or similar mass computer repair facility. They overcharge and often lose your data.

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Old 08-19-2014, 01:58 PM   #6
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I think a good questions is why do you want factory settings?
This could help us better direct you in the options you have.

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Old 08-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #7
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I think a good questions is why do you want factory settings?
This could help us better direct you in the options you have.
Good Question. Factory settings are usually very easy to load, but computers usually come with a bunch of necessary (and IMO unwanted) software.

A leaner and faster option is to install the OS yourself, instead of the factory re-load. It's just sometimes trickier if you don't have a CD/DVD.
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:23 PM   #8
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The only problem is that when you buy a computer off the shelf the license for the OS is bound to that computer and you are rarely provided a disk of the pure OS, so you would have to buy it or have one already. The extra stuff on the is a way the manufacturer cuts cost by selling forced advertising

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Old 08-19-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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Good Question. Factory settings are usually very easy to load, but computers usually come with a bunch of necessary (and IMO unwanted) software.
Exactly. My real answer (if it were me) is "put Ubuntu on it"... But most people, especially those self-described as computer illiterate, won't appreciate that advice
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Old 08-19-2014, 07:17 PM   #10
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used to be on Dells you would boot to a command prompt and type zztop for instant factory freshness

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