Want to know how to convert work laptop to personal?
The trick is to do a hard factory reset and install a fresh version of windows onto the laptop. This will reset the device back to default settings which was the state before any work software or restrictions was installed on it.
Work laptops are very restrictive. They have a bunch of work software which limits how much you can actually do with the laptop. Often times the laptop is also high powered so it becomes a bit of a waste
If for some reason you can’t factory reset, I have some tips on how you can convert your work laptop to personal below.
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factory reset your work laptop
You can completely reset your laptop to it’s default state by doing a factory reset.
Before you refresh your PC, you have to do a backup of all your data. You can do this manually with a USB, with google drive or you can do it through Windows settings.
There is a backup tab in windows settings which takes you through a process of backing all your data. This is important because when you factory reset you will lose all your data.
Since you don’t want Windows to backup all your work software, you should also do a manual backup with a USB or external hard drive.
- Simply copy all your personal files onto the external hard drive
- Then do a Windows backup incase you have to roll back
- Then reset windows
To reset your Windows 10 PC to this:
- Click on the start menu and open settings
- Then go to the Recovery tab
- Press get started under reset this PC
Windows will forget all of your settings after the reset and you won’t have any applications so you will have to use Microsoft edge to reinstall everything.
Make sure you have an internet connection to do this.
Uninstall Work-Related Programs
Work laptops have a lot of bloatware which is unnecessary apps and programs that slow down your computer. You want to remove all of these if you want to convert your laptop into a personal one because you want performance.
You can go to the control panel and then uninstall all of the programs there. Or do a factory reset and it will delete any programs that aren’t from Windows.
Disconnect From Work Networks
Disconnecting from work networks is a crucial step. You need your laptop to be separate from any work networks. This includes email accounts, VPNs and any other software that connects your laptop to the company.
This is a good measure to take to ensure that the company can not remotely access or view your laptop’s files and actions. Disconnecting from work networks is a privacy step.
Sometimes this is not as simple as it seems and you may have to contact IT at your company and ask if this is okay to do. There might be policies in place that you have to follow after your laptop has been discharged from work.
Disable Windows Update
Windows updates bring new security measures in sometimes. Disabling this is a good way to keep your laptop free from more restrictions.
Partition Your Hard Drive
Partitioning your hard drive is a great way to allocate a certain percentage of your hard drive to have your personal files while also being encrypted. You can do this by going to Windows Disk Management Tool on Windows.
Bitlocker is a good way to do this, it’s a feature that can partition and encrypt hard drives. Use Bitlocker to protect your company data in a specific part of your hard drive.
Talk To IT
The IT department at your company will know the best way for you to use your laptop for personal use whilst also protecting company data and following policy.
Send in your laptop to IT and ask them to do this for you. Make sure you have a backup of all your work and files before they do this because they might factory reset it or erase certain drives.
Switch To Guest Mode
There’s a way you can switch your work profile to a guest mode to keep your data hidden from the IT department.
Go to the installation of the guest account and delete all the contents in it. Then install a virtual machine on Windows XP or 7 and configure it to be a guest account.
Use Virtual Machines
Virtual machines are a great way to have a separate computer from your laptop which you can access over the internet. Your files will be hosted in the cloud and you can access a virtual desktop via a web browser or application.
On your virtual machine you can have all your personal files and games without anyone knowing. You can also have it password protected so it’s your own personal account.
You can also have the virtual machine be on an older version of Windows if you like.
Disable Windows Firewall
Windows firewall is pretty weak and it doesn’t really help. I’d suggest disabling it because it can be configured by your IT department to do certain things like block applications and websites.
If you have a laptop for personal use you can disable Windows Firewall and get the free version of Malwarebytes instead. This means you have control over your own antivirus and you are able to run scans when you want to.
Use Portable Applications
Portable applications are a great workaround to the download restrictions your company laptop can have. All you need is a USB and the portable .exe files of your programs.
You can also use an external hard drive if you like. You can even password-protect your USB or HDD for even more privacy.
Creating Separate User Account
You can create multiple user accounts on your laptop to separate your personal use from work use. In your other user account you can have certain files and programs which are not in your work one.
When you download and install programs make sure you check the box which says install for this user only and not installs for all users on this machine.
Make sure you password protect the separate user account with a different password than the one on your work account.
Use a VPN
VPNs are great because they can hide your browsing activities from your employer. It hides your actual IP address as well so tracking you is difficult.
This way your employer won’t be able to see that you are using your laptop for personal use. They won’t be able to see the websites you visit.
Some VPNs are free but they will sell your data to other companies. The paid VPNs can be good but some of those still sell your data. There are ways that you can create your own VPN which would be the best for security.
Disconnect your VPN when you are not using it because it takes a toll on your computer’s resources.
Disable Anti-Virus Programs
Work laptops usually come with strong anti-virus software which is used to protect the laptop from losing any confidential company information.
You don’t need this for personal use unless you plan on downloading a lot of files. You can uninstall this in the control panel because it will slow down your PC if you don’t.
Also, the regular anti-virus scans which are scheduled can be annoying too. The anti virus can block you from downloading apps and files that you need, it can also block you from accessing websites.
So it’s best that you get rid of it if it’s a high level security one. You can also just adjust the settings to make it not so intrusive if you understand how.
Steganography software is used to hide your files in a protected vault that is password protected. This way any empoyer who remotely access your laptop’s files will have to know the password to access what’s in the vault.
You can also use things like one drive which has files stored on your phone and are only accessible on your laptop when your phone is plugged in.
Browse With Incognito Mode
Incognito mode will stop anyone knowing your browser history on that laptop. It’s a great measure to take if you want to be hidden in your browsing activity.
The main downside of incognito mode is the lack of extensions that you can use such as adblocker. You can use other browsers like Brave which have adblockers called Brave Shield that can be used when in incognito mode.
Also, use duckduckgo to search on the web because it helps hide your online activity and searches compared to google.
Most browsers have an incognito mode and this can be found in the 3 dot settings tab at the top right. It will create a new incognito window which you can browse in and you will notice you are in it by the incognito icon which looks like a disguise.
Converting your work to personal laptop can be a tough process. It can take some time to get everything backed up and reset properly. Hopefully you are not restricted by work policy to be able to factory reset your laptop.
Factory resetting your laptop is the best method to reverting to default settings and removing all unecessary bloatware or tracking applications from your work network.