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Computer ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by 635 G, Sep 9, 2010.

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  1. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I'm in the process of donating my old desktop computer. We got it on 9/30/2007.
    Its a HP using Vista. How do I remove all personal data from the hard-drive? if anyone could give me simple step by step directions-would greatly appreciate it. Basiclly would like it to be reset to factory settings.

    Thanx--Phil Berkowitz
     
  2. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    Look up "fragmenting a hard drive" on Google.


    Eric
     
  3. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Phil

    First of all, wiping a drive is different than "resetting" a drive to the original configuration. HP usually has a setup where you can reinstall the original software using a recovery partition on the drive, or a set of recovery disks that you were supposed to make when the system was new. This method will NOT wipe all of your personal files and prevent them from being recovered. They will not be shown, but a good hacker can recover all of your information. I would suggest a twofold approach. Make a set of recovery disks for your machine, or make sure you have them available. Then find out which drive manufacturer made the drive in your machine. Go to their website and see if they have a utility that can wipe the drive. They usually bundle a bunch of utilities into one drive. You could also wipe the drive using a program like Acronis or one of the "free" drive cleaners out there.

    Once the drive has been cleaned, then you can reload the system from the recovery disks. If you are not too concerned about having your personal information at risk, then you can simply use the recovery tool that HP has loaded on the system and let it go at that.

    Just be sure you backup any and all information and files you would like to save. That includes program/software license numbers and so forth.

    I would suggest going to HP.com and look up the procedures for your exact model and system. That way you would have more specific information about how to do this on YOUR system. HP has a lot of information on how to do this and it is difficult for anyone to give you exact directions unless the model and serial numbers are given. HP made a LOT of different models over the last few years and they will vary a bit from one to another.

    Hope that helps. If you get stuck, give me a poke and I'll try to help you out.
     
  4. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Its always been my understanding, that one cannot completely "wipe" a drive clean. I have always deleted everything I could, removed the hard drives, then smacked them with a hammer repeatedly to cause significant case damage, rendering them unusable. I then store them away... for future disposal...

    regards,

    Jay
     
  5. quartering

    quartering Active Member

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    take the drive out and then donate the computer. take the drive and drill 3 or 4 holes through the disks then toss it. good luck with it
     
  6. Didreckson

    Didreckson Active Member

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    If you want to donate it operating, you can get several wipe disk programs that will write multiple times over the disk. You can set the number of times and how deep it goes, let it run at night. Unless you are housing world class trade secrets, this should keep all but the most astute computer geek from seeing any personal data. I don't know about you, but my data needs to be secure, but not many world class geeks are lining up to crack my pc's.

    Then you can simply load an operating system on it, from the disk supplied with the computer generally. My suggestion if you are donating it for use, find a copy of XP Pro or Win7. Vista is along the line of 98 Millenium, an OS that should not have been released in my opinion.
     
  7. Dougbbbb

    Dougbbbb TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Paste this to you're browser..



    http://www.pcworld.com/article/157126/how_to_completely_erase_a_hard_drive.html
     
  8. Didreckson

    Didreckson Active Member

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    Rules could have changed, but if a computer came with a legally licensed copy of the operating system, and that license goes with the computer, I believe that is perfectly legal. It would NOT be legal if the current owner kept reused the same license on a new system.

    It has been a few years since I was in that game daily, so perhaps the rules are different now? Please enlighten me.
     
  9. Mikr101

    Mikr101 Member

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    Phil,
    go here http://sourceforge.net/projects/dban/files/dban/dban-2.2.6/dban-2.2.6_i586.iso/download and download this file. Once complete burn it to a CD or DVD and boot your computer with it. You can then zero out the drive, completly wiping it clean. Data is stored as series of ones and zeros, the program writes all zero, where formatting the drive only removes the marker where the data is located and not the data itself. PM me if you have any questions, or need assistance.

    Mike
     
  10. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    If you have an older system that may not have the resources to run Win 7 or XP you might want to consider Ubutu as the operating system. It is free and can give new life to under resourced systems. Check out www.ubuntu.com

    It is a Linux based open source operating system. There are other such open source OSs

    For an Office suite that offer fairly good functionality at no cost (yes, I said FREE!) You can try Open Office (from OpenOffice.org )

    By going with Open Source software you can save some money and not have to worry about the license issues.

    As for scrubbing a drive and then reloading it, to do a really complete scrub, for things that are very sensitive, there are some programs that will make several passes writing different data streams on successive passes. This means it might write 1111111 on the first pass then go and rewrite 10101010 on the next pass then 110011100 on the third pass and so forth for up to 35 passes. The really intensive scrubbing programs will also "jiggle" the head around a bit. This is to make sure that the data is not written in the exact same location on a given track each and every time. Consider it like a vinyl record. If you keep writing in the same "groove" there may be a bit of residual data left in the sides of the grove. Now, move the head around so that the disks record head creates a new "groove" (actually a track) in a slight;y different area that may sometimes overlap the previous track and then go off to the side and you can get the idea.

    Apple offers a 35 write pass as part of their normal disk utility. I do not think it will "jiggle" the head however. I don't believe that there is a comparable setting in the Windows disk utility but it can be obtained from some third parties. If you have to buy this utility to only trash one disk, you might just be better off putting a new small capacity drive in the system. Then take the old drive and use an arc welder to burn a few holes through the drive and their ani't nobody that will recover a thing from that drive. Between the heat, the magnetism induced by the arc and the weld splatter all over the disks along with the ruined heads and you have completely destroyed any chance of anu data recovery.
     
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