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Clean History of PC

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#1 Manc24


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Posted 31 March 2009 - 02:12 PM

Hi, I've bought a new PC and thinking of selling my old one, what can I do to ensure no private data is contained on my h/disk, ideally I don't want to reinstall windows etc, I was wondering if there is any free utilities 'out there' that I could use ?

Any advice guys ?

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#2 Charybdis


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Posted 31 March 2009 - 08:20 PM

depends on how far you want to go, if you want to be totally sure that noone will get your old data heat it until it gets red hot and then beat it into another shape (beware of toxic fumes)

deleting the partition, then doing a full format (not quick) will do a decent job that will stop the average joe from finding anything
there are also drive zero'rs that do multiple passes over a drive which will mostly stop enthusiasts

If i want to pass on a drive and make sure nothing can be found i will either
ghost the bench systems os to it, then delete the partition and reformat
or if i have to make sure nothing is found (we charge for this)
open the hdd up, pull the magnets out, run them across the platters, oxytorch them, then hit them with a sledge hammer, and then take the remnants to a scrap metal merchant

#3 hamluis



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Posted 31 March 2009 - 08:35 PM

<<...ideally I don't want to reinstall windows etc.>>

I don't think what you want...is feasible...if I am correct in interpreting that to mean that you want your current XP install to remain on the hard drive in question.


#4 Stang777


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Posted 31 March 2009 - 08:48 PM

If you are wanting to leave the operating system on it but remove everything else, I would uninstall all programs and whatever folders the uninstall leaves behind from the program and then just use something that shreds, rather than just deletes, the files you want to get rid of. I have never used anything to shred a file but they are suppose to make it so that there are not traces of the files and the files cannot be brought back. Spybot has a feature that shreds files but there are many other programs out there that do that too.

Most likely any file removed using any of the shredder programs will still be able to be found by someone in computer forensics or an agency like the CIA or something, but not by the average user.

I would think that reformatting and reinstalling the operating system would be the easiest way to go, that way you don't need to spend all that time uninstalling and deleting stuff. It will also give the new owner of the computer a clean system without a registry that has lots of stuff leftover from the programs you have installed and uninstalled. If you are really concerned about the data surviving a reformat, then use a program that will write 0s to the disk before it formats. Personally, I would just do a regular full (not quick) format.

Also, make sure you give the new owner of the computer the operating system disk and license key.

Edited by Stang777, 31 March 2009 - 08:50 PM.

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