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  1. #1
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    How do I remove old domain details from a used laptop?

    The small company I worked for was bought out a year ago by a large corporation, and now no longer exists. The former General Manager, who used to do all the IT work himself, retired when the takeover happened, although the rest of the staff (none of whom is a computer professional, me included) were kept on. All the old computer equipment has since been replaced to meet the new corporation’s IT standards, and my new manager told me that I could take home one of the old Windows 7 Professional 64-bit laptops for my personal use. Nice – except that I had never previously used this laptop at work and, when I got it home, I found it was password-protected with no way of finding out what the logon password might be! But, following instructions I found on YouTube for changing the logon password to blank, I am at least able now to get into Windows. What I now see is that this laptop was set up on the former company’s domain (which no longer exists, of course). I believe the computer was used, by front office staff, only for accessing the internet in response to customer enquiries, and there appears to be no particular software installed nor any saved data. So I can logon to the non-existent domain with Administrator rights now, but I’m finding that I am still unable to perform many functions I would have expected an Administrator to be able to do – for example, to unlock the many locked system files. These show the padlock icon and, try as I might to change “sharing” options, I get the error message that these files can’t be shared. Even in Safe Mode with Networking, I’ve tried to “turn on file and printer sharing” but these changes never stay saved. What I would like to do is remove all the old domain references and restrictions and then network this laptop to my home PC (also Windows 7). I’ve done a lot of internet research which leads me to be cautious about simply renaming the computer and changing from “domain” to “workgroup” in the System Properties dialog box. It seems that, having done this, some people find themselves unable to logon at all. I have come across the suggestion that, as soon as I’ve changed these System Properties, I can then simply logon as the “local” Administrator. But I have no idea what the “local” Administrator password might be, or whether the computer will even give me that logon option when I start it up after making the switch from domain to workgroup. Of course, I don’t have any recovery disks. Has my new boss given me a boat anchor?

  2. #2
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    Hi and welcome to the Lounge.

    I think it will be safe to do as you suggest and change from domain to workgroup, since you wouldn't even be able to login to the computer, if the account was a domain account. Anyway, to prevent against such scenario, I suggest you create an alternative local administrator account, to which you can resort in case of need.

    Of course, having no recovery disks can be a future problem, but you can create a recovery disk before you do it : http://www.ehow.com/how_5735259_crea...very-disc.html

    Probably the easiest option of all would be to just clean install Windows, to allow you to configure the laptop as you want. If you have a sticker with a valid Windows key, this could be an option, if you downloaded a valid ISO with the same Windows version you have. You can find the ISO here: http://techpp.com/2009/11/11/downloa...ownload-links/

    Alternatively, it is possible that your computer includes a way to perform a factory restore. That would be a safer option to get it into a pristine state.
    Rui
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  3. #3
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    Many thanks for your very helpful suggestions, Ruirib. You've given me the confidence I needed to move forward with this laptop, now!

    The laptop (Fujitsu Lifebook LH530 manufactured in July 2010) has an optical drive with DVD burner, and an integrated camera and microphone, all powered by CyberLink software. I haven't yet been able to find a way to do a factory restore (although I'll take another look) but, if I end up doing a clean install of Win7 (yes, there is a sticker with a valid Windows key), then will these integrated features become unusable? Or will the system be able to find all the appropriate drivers automatically? I just want to know what risks I'm taking!!

  4. #4
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    Hi,

    If you have a factory restore, you won't lose anything. If you perform a clean install, you are bound to lose the CyberLink software, but there are drivers for your laptop, from Fujitsu: http://support.fujitsupc.com/CS/Port...srch=DOWNLOADS (just select Notebook PC,then L Series, then your model),
    so all your hardware will be supported in Windows 7. It's even possible that Windows 7 will automatically find drivers for all your hardware.
    Rui
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  5. #5
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    Hi, Ruirib. I'm delighted to report that I found instructions on the internet for doing a factory restore using the hidden recovery partition - no disks needed. So I am now the proud owner of a sparkling clean (albeit used!) laptop. At present, I'm installing precisely 101 Windows Updates! Can't thank you enough for sticking with me.

  6. #6
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    Great news and congratulations . Hope you enjoy your new computer.
    Rui
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