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Preparing A Hard Drive For Sale


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#1 Soam

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:01 PM

Hello to all! I have an IBM ThinkPad T42 that I would like to sell. I almost never used it and work has supplied me with one. The reason I am writing is hoping that someone will tell me the proper way to set up the hard drive before selling. My concern would be the buyer trying to retrieve data off it later. Do I remove the OS? If so I do not have the original CD's for it. Is it ok to sell without an OS? Just looking for some advice, or suggestions.

Thanks

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#2 usasma

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 01:06 PM

If you sell it without an OS - what's the buyer gonna do for an OS? It would at least lower the price that you'd get for it.

The most secure way is to get another hard drive and load the OS on it - but since you don't have the restore disks, that's probably not an option.

So, then it depends on what you're looking to keep the bad guys from getting hold of. What sort of data are you trying to protect? Are you going to sell it to a stranger or to a friend. How much are you willing to invest in getting this computer ready to sell?
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 Soam

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 02:04 PM

I could purchase an OS. The only info I have on there would be passwords that may be cached from sites or info stored from sites that I make payments on. It could be I am just make to much out of nothing just trying to be careful. I would be selling to a stranger. I would more than likely place on ebay. Just looking to sell it for extra cash.

#4 scratcher

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 01:46 AM

Hi Soam:

Usasma is of course right, but if you're truly serious about wiping EVERYTHING off your drive before selling the computer you should download Dariks Boot and Nuke (DBAN):

http://www.snapfiles.com/get/dban.html

"Dariks Boot and Nuke (DBAN) runs from a bootable CD or Floppy disk, and securely deletes (wipes) the entire content of the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect. The program is perfect for cleaning a computer before giving it away or selling it..."

Don't forget to read the reviews. DBAN is freeware but apparently does a far more thorough job than most of the commercial applications.

Cheers,

scratcher.

* HP Pavilion dv7 *  2.20 gigahertz AMD Phenom II N850 Triple-Core *  4.0 GB RAM  *  Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) *   Firefox 3.6.17 * Thunderbird 3.1.11 *  Comodo Firewall  *  Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.50.1 Pro *  avast! Free Anti-Virus 2014.9.0.2007  *  Erunt  *


#5 usasma

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 03:51 PM

The only secure way to keep your data is to do just that - keep your data. Forensic utilities can lift almost anything off of a hard drive - even if it's been deleted and overwritten.

If selling to strangers, assume the worst and you won't be hurt. Keep the hard drive to save your data (you may even want to use it in a USB enclosure for extra storage).

You can try selling it without the hard drive (and OS) - but I don't know how much that would decrease the value of it. You're talking $150 to $200 for a new hard drive and a copy of XP (other OS's will cost less).

FWIW - I never sell my used hard drives - just too much risk for me. So, I've got a nice collection of paperweights that are just waiting for a shredder.

Edited by usasma, 05 November 2006 - 03:52 PM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#6 scratcher

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 05:44 PM

The only secure way to keep your data is to do just that - keep your data. Forensic utilities can lift almost anything off of a hard drive - even if it's been deleted and overwritten.


Usasma Sir:

With all due respect I have a few questions:

1. Are the "forensic utilities" you mention easily available and, if so, could you provide links to a few? It would be interesting to read of their capabilities.

2. Would these utilities be of any use at all to a non-techie? Wouldn't they be such as to require a considerable degree of computer expertise to be of any use at all?

3. Do you really suppose that the average buyer of a used computer on ebay is going to set about employing "forensic utilities" to try to discover if there's anything 'useful' to be lifted from an erased drive? Don't you think that the criminally inclined have better and far more profitable ways of using their time than scouring through old drives?

I reckon that an eBay ad such as the following would draw a lot of attention from people who wouldn't even know of the existence of such things as "forensic utilities":

VIRGIN COMPUTER! RARELY USED! NO VIRUSES! NO TROJANS! NO SPYWARE! NO ADWARE! NO WORMS! DON'T RISK GETTING STIFFED WITH AN INFECTED COMPUTER!

THIS BABY HAS BEEN WIPED FOR SECURITY REASONS AND IS CLEAN AS A WHISTLE! JUST DO A FRESH INSTALL OF YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM OF CHOICE AND YOU'LL BE READY TO ROCK!


Cheers,

scratcher. :thumbsup:

Edited by scratcher, 06 November 2006 - 03:53 AM.

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#7 usasma

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 08:27 AM

1) Here's a readily available free utility that will do recover a lot: http://www.pcinspector.de There are lot's more out there - and many of them have better capabilities than this one.

2) Would they be of any use? Well, it doesn't take much knowledge to run a program and then search it's results for what you're looking for. But in the case of data thieves - they've invested the money so that they can steal your data. It then becomes a business decision to them - will they make enough money by taking a risk (that there's valuable data on your system). Gone are the good old days when it took skillz to hack - now most of the hacking is done by programs that the hackers got from someone else.

3) No, the average buyer is (IMO) an honest person looking to save a few bucks. My point is that the world is generally populated by nice people - but there's a few that ruin it for everyone else.

It's up to you to decide if the level of risk for data loss is acceptable. For example, I've been buying online for many years now (about 12) - and have only been burnt once. But that's because I don't let my guard down, and only buy things from folks with good reputations.

While I may be a bit paranoid about this - is it really paranoia if they're actually out to get you?
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 scratcher

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 02:46 AM

- is it really paranoia if they're actually out to get you?


Hi Usasma:

I love this line!

Of course, you are right.

Many thanks for the link.

Cheers,

scratcher.

* HP Pavilion dv7 *  2.20 gigahertz AMD Phenom II N850 Triple-Core *  4.0 GB RAM  *  Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) *   Firefox 3.6.17 * Thunderbird 3.1.11 *  Comodo Firewall  *  Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware 1.50.1 Pro *  avast! Free Anti-Virus 2014.9.0.2007  *  Erunt  *


#9 projectfocus

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 05:18 AM

Do you have on the laptop a sticker with a XP code on it. If so then you could just wipe the drive and reinstall windows using this code.

Programs to wipe the disk completely are Killdisk and Eraser 5.8

If you are not too worried about leaving some of the files on the machine then use eraser to remove the files that you know need to be deleted safely.

I would say if you are concerned with people being able to recover the files then the only way round it is to delete all the stuff to pre sale state. Then run a program like PC inspector or Handy Recover. All of the files it picks up retore to a certain folder. Then use Eraserto erase that folder securely. Then run the recover program again.

This should make sure that all deleted files are securely deleted. Also run Eraser to delete all unallocated disk space to make sure.

I hope this helps.
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#10 Kevin_D

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 08:34 AM

Hello to all! I have an IBM ThinkPad T42 that I would like to sell. I almost never used it and work has supplied me with one. The reason I am writing is hoping that someone will tell me the proper way to set up the hard drive before selling. My concern would be the buyer trying to retrieve data off it later. Do I remove the OS? If so I do not have the original CD's for it. Is it ok to sell without an OS? Just looking for some advice, or suggestions.

Thanks



I'd recommend you to wipe your drive before selling it. You can do it using for example Acronis Drive Cleanser. I used this utility only one time but as far as I remember it worked without any bugs.

Edited by Kevin_D, 07 November 2006 - 08:36 AM.


#11 usasma

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 03:40 PM

I believe in the old adage "Some is good, but more is better". Use as many tools as you can lay your hands on - and then use them each several times over. The more you do to the disk, the less likely it is that the information will be easily recoverable.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.




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