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Old 03-29-2009, 10:12 AM
 
Location: FL/TX Coasts
1,464 posts, read 3,788,536 times
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Hello Every one,
How can I restore my PC to its original software state?
-I am thinking to donating it, but would like to ensure that all my personal files, data, etc...is deleted.
Thanks
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:21 AM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,267,295 times
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It takes a bit more to 'clean' your drive, as things are never truely deleted from the disk, just marked as deleted, and with a little free software can be retrieved.

Here is some advise from M$ http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/resources/technology/security/clean-the-hard-drive-before-dumping-your-pc.aspx#CleantheharddrivebeforedumpingyourPC (broken link)
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:54 AM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,341,277 times
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Download a free programs called dban. Google it. It makes a CD that you boot your computer from and it securely erases you data. Simply reformatting or running your computer's restore CDs does NOT securely erase you data.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:21 PM
 
40,221 posts, read 41,815,454 times
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The reformat procedure varies by computer, some have a recovery partition and using dban may wipe that partition. I'd first find out what that procedure is for your computer. You'll need a installation/recovery cd/dvd with a full copy of windows on it to be able to restore windows after using dban.

When you delete a file or reformat a drive the space where it existed is simply freed up for other data. It's not deleted until something overwrites it. That's what dban does but that wipes everything.

If you don't have a recovery cd/dvd there's another utility called bcwipe that works within windows and will only wipe free space. If you were to use that you would first reformat. Then when you run it any of the free space left will be wiped clean.
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