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How to Secure Hard Drive Before Warranty Service


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#1 Justa

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 08:57 AM

I have a HP ENVY m7-010dx that died last night.  Upon power up nothing happens except a continuous slow blinking light on the cap locks key.  I went through their online troubleshooting help section and it looks like it is a hardware issue and will be going in for warranty service.  The big problem I have is that the hard drive has lots of sensitive personal information on it that I believe a good tech could copy and fairly easily decipher.

 

So what can I do?  I have never removed an internal hard drive and accessed it as an external drive.  I really need to wipe all personal info before returning for warranty service.

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:07 AM

DVDs?  USB flash drive?

 

How much personal info are you talking about?

 

Since most of us don't have that much (IMO) personal info on a system...either of the above should do.  Simply copy the data to new media and then delete it from your hard drive before sending.

 

Louis



#3 Kilroy

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

You should be able to ship the machine without the drive.  My experience with HP depot support is you only ship what you need to ship to them, no power or battery unless they are part of the problem.  If you ship the machine with the drive there is a possibility that it could be wiped as part of what they do.

 

Companies I have worked for in the past would not return a drive, even if the drive failed, in order to safeguard company data.



#4 Justa

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:12 AM

I can't use a DVD or USB flash drive as the computer is completely non-responsive.  I'm going to try Kilroys suggestion and see if HP will fix the laptop problem without the hardrive.  The techs probably see sensitive info every day and are honest but it just seems unwise to risk letting sensitive info fall into the wrong hands.

 

Thanks 



#5 Kilroy

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 10:40 AM

Actually the techs have plenty of work to do and unless it is required for the job they are doing they just don't have the time to look at your stuff.

 

Per this page flashing CAPS and NUM Lock lights are for components (CPU, RAM, System board, Graphics and BIOS) not related to the hard drive.  You should be fine pulling the drive.



#6 Justa

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 07:58 PM

Thanks so much for the info Kilroy.  On my ENVY only the cap lock blinks, nothing from the num lock and the cap locks blinks continuously and does not stop.

 

I was thinking I mighty pull the hard drive, install it in a Sabrent enclosure (2.5" SATA to USB 3.0 enclosure) and use my perfectly running backup ENVY I am running on.  I could delete user files, reinstall it in the bad unit and let them check it out.  I have seen lots of bad block messages in event viewer, some indicating corruption, but the records go to a library that is corrupted.  So I believe I have a bad HD that is dying but is hidden by the way the HD marks the bad blocks and stops using them and redirects to a new block.  Of which I believe I have many that explain why programs or portions of programs stop working properly and do not correct themselves on their own.  Reinstalling an application generally has returned them to normal operation.

 

If I use an enclosure to remove user files am I at risk to infect my ENVY that works perfectly?  I want to remove user files, let them have the disc so they'll find the bad blocks and replace it but I don't want to risk infecting my ENVY that works perfectly.

 

Would I jeopardize my perfect backup ENVY by using it to remove user files from a hard drive that has a high probably of having nasty malware on it?  If so I won't risk my perfect backup ENVY to remove user files from a suspect hard drive.

 

I would really appreciate some advice here.  Oddly enough Malwarebytes, Norton 360, SuperAntispyware, and Web Root that I have all run scans with have never found any malware with the exception of tracking cookies SuperAntispyware has found.

 

Edit:  To clarify my intent to remove user files would be to delete them.  I have no intention or need to copy these user files......


Edited by Justa, 05 June 2014 - 08:01 PM.


#7 Kilroy

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:16 AM

Simply copying the files should not infect an uninfected machine.  If you view, even with a preview, or execute the files all bets are off.  You will need to take ownership of the files in order to work with them on a different machine.



#8 Justa

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:04 AM

Embarrassingly I have never understood how you properly take ownership of the files from another computer that you own.  Sometimes transfering files from one computer to another goes without a hitch and other times it has been a nightmare.  What is the proper method to take ownership of files from another computer you own.  Naturally we don't want to help the "Bad Guys" here and if you need to E-Mail me please feel free to do so.  I have been doing it manually one file at a time.

 

Thanks so much for taking the time to help others out.  It is very much appreciated!

Randy



#9 Kilroy

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

Take ownership, from Microsoft.  The instructions are for Server 2008, but the general idea is the same for Windows 7 and 8.  Normally if you use two Windows Explorer windows and use drag and drop you get a pop up that automates the process.



#10 Justa

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:41 AM

Great!

Thanks again



#11 Venkee

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 02:06 PM

I have had mixed results sending computers away for service without the entire computer in tact. Generally if the problem is with another component, they dont care. As long as the drive isnt the part in question for service they will fix what needs to be fixed and send the machine back. Only one time did I have a gentleman who we serviced an Asus for and Asus would not finish the service until we sent them the OEM drive. So one time in 5 years is pretty good odds for just removing the drive :)






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