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Need to Clean Computer for Donation

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#1 freeze_eng


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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:41 PM

Going to donate a computer to a private grade school. Will the following steps ensure all of my data is gone?

1) Create a new admin account
2) Delete all old accounts
3) Erase all personal directories and folder for old accounts
4) Run ccleaner with a 3 overwrite drive wipe

I would prefer not to reformat because there is significant work in reinstalling the OS, office, mcaffee, etc. and then updating all of these to the current level.

While there was never anything too graphic on the computer there certainly was personal and financial material there. I had read reformatting might not clear everything anyway. Is the ccleaner drive wipe effective enough?


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#2 ThunderZ


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Posted 10 March 2011 - 05:51 PM

With out reformatting there is always a chance of your data being recovered.

But I seriously doubt anyone at the grade school has the knowledge, ability or desire to do so.

Your plan should be good enough. With one last step. When you are done then do a disk defrag. This will move\rewrite much of the data over what you have uninstalled\deleted. Making it even harder should someone even try to recover anything.

#3 Didier Stevens

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:11 PM

I recommend you use sdelete to erase your personal files and folders.

And in case ccleaner doesn't wipe your free diskspace, you can also use sdelete to do this.

Didier Stevens

SANS ISC Senior Handler
Microsoft MVP 2011-2016 Consumer Security, Windows Insider MVP 2016-2019


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#4 freeze_eng

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

Thanks for the responses. Mostly just want to make sure nothing is easily recoverable and no files or history are lurking somewhere. I think erasing and overwriting previous user accounts will take care of that. I will do the defrag and look into sdelete.

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