I'd say you should err on the side of caution - you should 'fdisk' the hard drive (which will completely wipe it), and then if you can get your hand son a copy of any Windows (XP is easiest to work with), you can install it. Then you can add anything you want.
What I would say though, is that AOL install all sorts you don't know about on your PC, so if you already have an AOL account, it may be worth finding out the connection details and manually configuring it, rather than installing their bespoke software...
I'd say 'fdisk-ing' the drive is a bit drastic James and should only be done if you have a fair bit of experience. Katy - you need to get your friend to check out whether their work will be happy with you taking stuff off and putting other stuff on. Whatever, reply to this thread with the extra info and we can take it from there!
Drastic I know, but it is easy with instructions and it is the best way to get a clean start - no?
I'm reading this as a 'my friend has two work laptops which are about to become 1 work laptop and 1 personal laptop'...in which case, clearing the work stuff from it in the most direct route is probably sensible I thought...
Is your friend willing to pay to have this done? I can get this sorted for you but it will take a fair bit of work to do it properly - it's a day's work to clean two laptops, re-format, load and configure the new o/s and applications correctly, set up virus protection etc.
Also - would need to know model details/ specification of the laptops. (I'm guessing they are old, work ones so will probably not run XP?)
I'm guessing that your friend 'borrowed' these from work and wants to use them from home, without letting her work know (wink, wink........)
I'm happy to do this or get someone to do it for you - can you have them mail me vaughankingston-at-hotmail.com