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Hello and welcome to the forum . . Formating will wipe everything from the hard drive. What brand laptop is it? Many have recovery partitions that you can use to restore the pc to the state it was shipped, but a format will usually eliminate that also.

Most manufacturers will supply a replacement installtion disc you can use to reinstall
 

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The laptop is a Toshiba Satellite. What you suggested is exactly what would be cool. Can everything else be wiped except for the settings and programs it was shipped with? There is no replacement installation disc and it was a present so i don't know too much, though you think it would have a disc wouldn't you?
 

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When you first turn it on, look for a quick message about pressing some combination of keys for Recovery. You can also look around the Toshiba support site for information on the Recovery Process ( if it came with that ) or how to request a replacement install CD
 
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