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Cleaning computer...keeping windows

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My boss has asked me to clean a couple of office computers up to sell. My first thought is just to do a format and reinstall windows...that would be the quickest and safest way so people couldn't get sensitive info.


However, we got the computers from dell and they don't send you original windows CDs. Is there a way to 'format without formating'?


I've also thought about just installing Linux Ubuntu, just so they would have something when it was bought.



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If you want to completely wipe an NTFS formatted HD, you need to make sure you get the MBR at the start AND end of the drive AND everything in between - so "formatting without formatting" is shaky to say the least. I'll second the Ubuntu option for these reasons - a) there is a dedicated Dell support section on the Ubuntu forums, b) when you install Ubuntu, your HD will be completely reformatted to a non NTFS format and it will wipe-out the MBR that Windows created, c) you can download "gparted" (gnome partition editor) from sourceforge and create a bootable cd from the gparted ISO to allow you to format the HD a couple of times before you install Ubuntu (if the existing data is really sensitive), and d) it's free!!! If the machines have separate graphics cards, remember to get your nvidia/ ati drivers first and check the Ubuntu Dell forums first.

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