How to remove Safeguard, reformat and reinstall Windows


I have an old Dell Latitude laptop that I was given by my previous company. It has Safeguard on it, and at boot time it prompts for a password doesn't start Windows. Unfortunately, I can't get the Safeguard password as I have left the company now. I don't need the files on it, I would just like to remove Safeguard, wipe the data, reformat the drive and reinstall Windows XP. I would be grateful for guidance on how to do this.

Many thanks.

  • Assuming that you are running SafeGuard Enterprise, there is a decommissioning tool that you can use to wipe out the encrypted keystore, thus rendering the encrypted drive unreadable.  For more info, check out this KBA:

    Note that you have to boot from a Windows PE CD/UFD to use this utility.

    Otherwise, from my experience, if you just delete the master boot record on the internal drive, you can reformat the OS without any problems (although, this is not as secure as using the decommissioning tool).  To delete the MBR, you can either boot from a Windows PE disk/UFD, start diskpart, select your disk and run the command "clean".  If you're more familiar with Linux, grab a Linux live CD (like Ubuntu) and from the command line, run the command "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1", assuming that your internal drive is sda.  This will delete the MBR and partition table, and your setup CDs should be able to recreate the partition table from this.

    Finally, you could probably just get away with reinstalling Windows XP right on top of the current encrypted drive (just tell Windows to format the partition).  The only caveat is that you might need to delete the MBR if Windows doesn't do it automatically during setup.

    Hope this helps, and happy formatting! ;)

  • That's very helpful - thanks for the advice!