Reverting old laptop to factory settings.

I have an old laptop running XP with a bunch of crap on it. I realize XP is no longer supported come April but I can still get a little use out of this one.

What I’d like to do is strip everything down to the original setup and update as needed. This is a little more than the system restore can handle. Is there a way todo this? I don’t have a Windows dsc as it was already loaded.

It’s an Acer TravelMate 2304LCi if that helps.


I’ll type fast so I can be first–put Linux on it.

ETA: I won! Actually, I kinda hate Linux, but it’s both good advice (use it for fun) and what most everybody will tell you to do.

From the user’s manual:

You can use something like Magical Jellybean (ignore the silly name) to get the current XP product key from it, then download an Acer OEM image of XP from the Pirate Bay or similar, then install it and activate it. It might require a phone activation, but that usually only takes a few minutes.

Then you go to the website and update all the drivers.

But yeah, putting a modern Linux distro or Windows 7 on it would be easier and quicker.

Forgot to mention 7 won’t work on this. At least not for what I need. And it has to be Windows for school. I’m basically trying to limp along with this until my aid check is in and can buy a new machine.

I’ll try the BIOS restore route.

OK, that worked. Mostly. Thanks Fear Itself.

The only thing left is the HDD partitioning. For some reason it still shows C: as approx. 20GB total. It also shows (for a 40GB HDD) a drive D: set to about 20GB. Also, above the D: drive is an icon that looks like a thumb drive. C: is named “Acer” and D: is titled “Acer data”.

Any ideas what that’s about? The only thing I can think to do to fix it is format the whole thing, but then I suspect I won’t be able to reinstall the OS using the above-mentioned steps. Is there a setting I’m missing? Is this normal for an Acer?

You are correct. The D: drive contains the recovery data for installing Windows in factory condition; if you delete that, you won’t be able to install Windows. You might be able to resize the partitions and give back some of the the unused space in the D: drive using a program like Parted Magic.

Not likely.
Whoever set this up way back when, separated C: and D: as System/Windows drive and data drive.
If you have a restore-to-factory-default partition it’s likely 2GB or less.
Use the disk management to check this out.
(Control Panel-Administrative Tools - Computer Management, the Disk Management utilities entry in there)
This will show the physical disks and how they are partitioned.
Watch for prompts during boot on how to do a factory restore.
If not, google for the drivers for your laptop - they may still be on the Acer site. Most important is the network device driver - with that you could load anything more that you need.
However, building a laptop from generic OS install, installing drivers, etc. may be a bit more technical than you want to get. If you are lucky, there is a factory restore partition you can use.

What makes you think Win7 won’t work on it? You may have to install more RAM it supports up to 2GB. But the machine is within the minimum required specs for 7.

Also, why does your school require you to use Windows?

Linux really would be the way to go with this machine.

XP is all but dead. Move on.

Most of the computer systems come up with either a recovery CD/DVD or a recovery partition that is hidden on the computer. This is true for most HP and Dell machines now these days.

If you have any one of them then you can try the recovery from windows or during the startup.

If yo have HP then go to start, all programs, hp tools and then select HP PC system recover.

hp recovery manager

you can also press the F10 key multiple times during boot-up to get access to the recovery console in case windows is not loading properly.

If you have dell then you can access the recovery partition by pressing the ctrl + f11 immediately after the machine is turned on.

PS: All of you data will be lost on the hard drive. using the recovery cd is not the same as repairing cp. when you repair windows xp, all of the system files are replaced with the original ones, but your data and applications remain intact.

I think this might sort out your issues, if still something is not right then contact to these people. They will guide step by step with another mechanism.