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Old 27-03-2009, 02:00   #1
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MS Windows Question

i have bought a new laptop and am retiring my old one. it still works and i'm passing it on.

it contains a lot of detailed personal and company financial information and i'd like to remove that inforomation before handing it over.

my understanding is that if you simply "delete" files and then emty the wastebasket they can be recovered but i've been told that if you "delete", empty the wastebasket and then run "disk defragmenter" they're pretty much gone forever

is that correct?
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Old 27-03-2009, 03:27   #2
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No it will definitely not.
The best and most secure for people like you and me is to format the drive and reinstall windows.
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Old 27-03-2009, 05:31   #3
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Bob--You can download a copy of the anti spyware program Spybot at no cost and utilize its "File Shreader" function which will completely remove old files by overwriting all of the sectors on your drive where the files reside with zeros. You can then defrag the drive just for the sake of greater efficiency. Just Google "Spybot".

FWIW...

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Old 27-03-2009, 06:03   #4
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Spybot S&D can be obtained at The home of Spybot-S&D!
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Old 27-03-2009, 07:04   #5
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Yes it will indeed remove the files that are visible but not the files that are not.
If you have or had privacy sensitive info on the drive, format the drive and then reinstall Windows.
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Old 27-03-2009, 08:26   #6
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Formatting the drive and reinstalling windows will not guarantee the data cannot be recovered, even writing the entire disk with 0's one time will not protect you from people with the proper equipment. Fortunately not too many people have that equipment. If you trust the person you are passing it on to once is probably enough, but if you are concerned then you can get a commercial program that will alternately write 1's and 0's alternately 30 times which effectively obscures the underlying data. There is one available from Symantec, though I'm sure there are others.
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Old 27-03-2009, 08:42   #7
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The only one I trust is Darik's Boot & Nuke. Darik's Boot And Nuke | Hard Drive Disk Wipe
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Old 27-03-2009, 09:28   #8
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I used an AX on my hard drive - actually the blunt backside of the ax. I kept hammering until it looked like no one could get anything off the pieces. The hard drive was old enough (not much storage), that it wasn't really worth much.

Put the computer on eBay afterward, without the drive.
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Old 27-03-2009, 20:35   #9
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thanks for the advice. the person i'm passing it to is unlikely to have sophisticated recovery software (or any interest in recovering that info) it was just to guard against the files being inadvertantly recovered
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Old 28-03-2009, 15:18   #10
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use dedicated file destructor ("shredder"), e.g.

- TuneUp Utilities
- Windows Washer
- PGP (IMHO the best)

a 2-3 pass deleting process will guarantee non-recoverability
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Old 28-03-2009, 17:55   #11
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you could simply reformat you hard-drive. Then go out an buy a Mac. With the Mac you can run Boot Camp. That way if you have to hold your nose and run Window XP you can. But oh God it's awfull. Once you use a Mac you just hate going to the darkside. But at least you can do it if you have too.
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Old 28-03-2009, 18:21   #12
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Solo - agreed!

As to the data destruction, it really is best to just clamp the drive in a drill press and perforate it... I wouldn't trust any software tool for absolute cleaning, and there have been too many stories of personal data easily extracted from machines picked up on eBay, thrift shops, or the dump. Hard drives are cheap.

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Old 28-03-2009, 18:32   #13
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I destroyed the data on my wife's old computer by running a half inch drill bit through it.

The best free non-destructive way is Derik's Boot and Nuke. It creates a file on a floppy or thumb drive that you boot your computer from. Its super easy to use.

Darik's Boot And Nuke | Hard Drive Disk Wipe
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Old 30-03-2009, 09:52   #14
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I'm a fan of R-tt's Wipe and Clean they have a fully functional 15 day trial on their site you can install it and then use it to "zero your free space" or better yet let it use one of the dod secure wiping algorithms. Great program.
Disk Wipe and Clean Software to delete and erase data, files or clean disk space
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Old 30-03-2009, 16:31   #15
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Clean Disk Security is the one I use, but it will take 24 hours to clean properly... and the CIA wont be able to read it!
Its free.

But if you are troubled Deep 6 it after taking out the fan (for use in a wardrobe to move the air).

The resale value of a been at sea laptop would be low.
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