Sometimes we get to keep our working laptops. Remote workers get promotions they work in an office. Corporations provide upgrade employees’ devices. In such cases, if they don’t want the old laptop back, you are left with a valuable piece of tech. So, knowing how to convert a work laptop to a personal laptop coming handy. 

Methods to convert work laptop to personal 

Corporations take actions to secure employee devices. There is a saying in the tech world that “The weakest link to the security is employees”. 

Those security protocols prevent us from using the working laptop for personal use. So, we need to remove them or find a way to bypass them. 

There are a few ways to do that. 

  1. Factory reset the laptop 
  1. Reinstall operating system 
  1. Use portable applications 
  1. Use a virtual machine 

Factory reset the work laptop and convert it to a personal laptop 

Resetting your work computer will turn it back to the beginning. But it is not a fresh install. All the settings will be the default. All apps will be gone including security apps. So, you will be fine if the laptop does not use hardware or firmware level restrictions. 

You must back up all the files you want to keep. But some organizations restrict connecting external storage drives to their laptops. In such a case your only option will be cloud storage. One Drive, Google Drive, and MEGA are some of the best cloud storage providers. 

This is how to reset your windows work laptop 

  1. Open the Settings app in the start menu or press Win + I. 
  1. Go to System > Recovery. 
  1. Click on the Reset PC button. 
  1. Now you see two options. Keep my files option doesn’t delete your media files and documents. But we do not recommend it because we want to convert a work laptop to a personal laptop. So select the Remove everything option. 
  1. Now, wait until it all finishes. It will take some time. 
  1. Then the laptop will auto restart and you have to do the initial setup

Reinstalling operating system 

Resetting will not help for some work laptops. But there is another option. You should reinstall the operating system. Most work laptops come with windows. But few organizations give Linux and macOS (MacBook) laptops.  

Installing Windows 11 is pretty easy. You need a windows installation media (a USB flash drive). Please note if your work laptop prevents connecting USB drives at the firmware level this method will not work. 

Creating installation media 

Follow the below steps to create a Windows installation media.  

  1. Go to Microsoft Software Download
  1. There are two methods you can follow from here. I recommend doing it with the media creation tool. So, click the Download now button below “Create Windows 11 Installation Media”.  
  1. Run the downloaded setup. 
  1. Select the USB flash drive option and proceed to next. 
  1. Select the USB drive you want to use and proceed to next. 
  1. The media creation tool will download and create a bootable Windows installation drive. Click finish after all are completed. 

Installing windows 

Now you have the drive. So, follow the below steps to install windows. 

  1. While the USB drive is connected to the laptop, click Restart on the power options. 
  1. When the laptop starts, press the key for the boot device selection menu. The key is different from device to device. Usually Esc/F10/F12. 
  1. Select the drive we used to create the installation media. 
  1. After Windows setup starts, you will be asked to choose setup language, time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method. Select your preferences and click next. 
  1. Now click on the button in the middle saying ‘Install. 
  1. Then you will prompt to enter a product key. If you have a key, enter it and click the next button. If you don’t, click on “I don’t have a product key”. 
  1. Now select which version of windows you want to install. Then click next. 
  1. Agree to the Microsoft Software License Terms and click next. 
  1. Select the custom option for a clean installation. 
  1. Now you can manage partitions. Select the partition you want to install windows and click format. Here is the place if you want to create or delete partitions. Click next when you are done. 
  1. Wait until installation finishes. Then do the initial setup

Run portable applications on the work laptop like a personal laptop 

Using portable applications is a great way to use your work laptop for personal purposes. Portable applications don’t need to be installed. So you don’t require administrative access. 

There are many portable apps available for windows. Web browsers, media players, office suites, photo editors, and even video games. Just download them and run. Very simple. Not just only windows. Many portable apps run on macOS well. 

A web browser is more than enough to do most thanks to cloud computing. So install Google chrome portable or any other browser. Your laptop can do a lot more personal stuff. 

However, you can’t get a full personal laptop experience in this way. There are many things you missing out here. Many standard applications are not portable. You are still stuck with the restricted operating system. 

Use a virtual machine 

A virtual machine is a software-made computer run on a physical computer. Normal restrictions of your work laptop are not present in the virtual machine. You can do anything that would do on a normal computer. 

There are many options to create a virtual machine. VirtualBox by Oracle is a great software for creating virtual machines. VirtualBox is available to download for free. So install it. Download an ISO file of the OS you want in the virtual machine. Users get the chance to install their preferred OS after the creation of the virtual machine. 

You should enable the CPU virtualization feature. Maybe your work laptop is prohibited to do that. It is better to try other ways. The full power of the laptop’s hardware is something a virtual machine can’t achieve. 

That is how to convert a work laptop to a personal laptop. I hope now you can do it. Wish you success. 

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