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Unread 10-15-2009, 07:48 PM
 
460 posts, read 1,515,424 times
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Default What to do before selling your personal computer?

If I sell my personal computer what should I do beforehand so I don't unwittingly allow the buyer to have any access to senstive information? I'm not very computer savy and have used it for online banking, paypal, amazon purchases etc etc.
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Unread 10-15-2009, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA USA
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I would suggest a boot and nuke. It will leave the drive clear of ALL data. After this you will need to reinstall the operating system or just sell them the discs that came with it and let them do it.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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DBAN is the most thorough method however you're going to want to make sure it doesn't wipe the restore partition if you don't have a disc to restore your computer since most people are going to want a functional computer. The value will be significantly reduced without an OS.

Most large assemblers like Dell have a partition on the drive that will allow you to restore the computer to how it was shipped from the factory.

Alternatively to using DBAN what you could do is run the restore operation which will return it to the state that you purchased it (this is not the same thing as Windows Restore!). What important to note is this step alone will not securely wipe the data but instead will remove everything personal for wiping. The files no longer exist to windows but can be recovered at this point if they were not overwritten during the restore process. The next step is to wipe the unused portion of the drive so those files cannot be recovered and for that you can use something like BCWipe which is similar to DBAN except it doesn't do the whole disc.

Jetico - BCWipe
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Unread 10-16-2009, 05:05 AM
 
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How do I run the restore operation and BCWipe will not mess with the OS or anything? I bought the computer used and no discs or manuals came with it.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 05:26 AM
 
Location: NH
5,958 posts, read 7,231,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripod View Post
How do I run the restore operation and BCWipe will not mess with the OS or anything? I bought the computer used and no discs or manuals came with it.
You'd have to provide the make/model of the computer for us to be able to answer that question.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 05:57 AM
 
19,695 posts, read 12,997,012 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripod View Post
How do I run the restore operation and BCWipe will not mess with the OS or anything?
BCwipe only wipes parts of the drive that are available to be written too or blank space. When you delete files it only makes the space available, those files can be recovered with file recovery software. It just overwrites all that available space with dummy data so they can't be recovered. DBAN does the same thing except it wipes everything.

But again you need to restore to the factory install so there isn't any personal files.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 08:54 AM
 
18,569 posts, read 19,179,312 times
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OP: Another option if you do not have the install disc and will have to sell it without an OS on it is to remove the existing hard drive and replace it with an inexpensive clean drive.

Newegg.com - Computer Hardware,Hard Drives,Internal Hard Drives,$25 - $50

Note that at the left side you can pick sata or ide for searching and it will remove the other.

I just finished replacing two old computers for a dentist who is a client and he asked me the same thing.

I recommended a sledge hammer and protective goggles.

He took my advice. HIPAA would be proud.

Of course he's not reselling them. I do wish I had been there to see the "file deletion" as it was in progress!
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Unread 10-16-2009, 08:55 AM
Bo
 
Location: San Antonio
13,990 posts, read 18,604,675 times
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If you replace the hard drive with a new one and do a clean install of Windows/Mac OS, you'll have no worries whatsoever.
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Unread 10-16-2009, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
12,960 posts, read 8,261,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowie View Post
If you replace the hard drive with a new one and do a clean install of Windows/Mac OS, you'll have no worries whatsoever.
That's my suggestion - keep the hard drive. With brand new 1TB drives going for < $100, there's no reason to risk letting your data fall into the wrong hands.

No hard drive = no concern.
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Unread 10-17-2009, 03:00 AM
 
460 posts, read 1,515,424 times
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I would be selling the computer for about $100 only so would have to find a hard drive for cheap. Is changing it difficult at all and what about doing a clean install of windows OS (whatever that means)? I have no experience with computers and just got this used one 3 weeks ago which is my first computer and think I'm going to go back to just using my MSNTV2 (webtv) web browser.

Last edited by tripod; 10-17-2009 at 03:47 AM..
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