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Old 08-07-2013, 16:02
justjax
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I'm selling my Media Centre PC on ebay and I'm just planning ahead in terms of cleaning it up before I send it off. Do you guys have any tips for best way to clean it?

I know in an ideal world easiest way to clean the data is to wipe the drive and reinstall OS but I'd rather not do that as I can't recall if I had many issues with drivers, etc so I'm a bit reluctant to do that incase I then land up spending hours reconfiguring it all. Whats the easiest way to strip out old programs and data?
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:08
sancheeez
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Depends what you've used it for.

Personally, I would DBAN any drive/PC I sell, just to be on the safe side. Sounds like you want to keep the OS so you just want to erase free space.

Have a read here - http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/fiv...ing-tools/1568

I've used Eraser before and seem to remember it did an OK job.

ccleaner also has a "Wipe free space" option which it claims is secure but I tried it and was able to identify and recover files after it had run.
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:08
davethorp
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You could just format the PC and sell it without an operating system. Probably the least messing around. You may also want to look at the prices individual components go for as you may get more stripping it down and selling the components separately than you would for the full PC
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:27
sancheeez
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Format and sell???

I hope you don't store anything valuable/personal/dodgy on your PC's before you sell them!

Easy to recover files if you just do a basic format ....
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:32
Maxatoria
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Trying to remove all permanent data can be a right royal pain the the arse...temporary files left hanging around containing data etc....best bet is to buy a drive and then format/install the OS onto it and use your drive in an external usb enclosure as if they do recover the data who cares as it aint yours
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Old 08-07-2013, 16:39
justjax
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You could just format the PC and sell it without an operating system. Probably the least messing around. You may also want to look at the prices individual components go for as you may get more stripping it down and selling the components separately than you would for the full PC
Well its already advertised on ebay as with Windows 7 and to be honest I don't have the time and patience to strip it and sell it all seperately, but your prob right in that I would get more for it.

Format and sell???

I hope you don't store anything valuable/personal/dodgy on your PC's before you sell them!

Easy to recover files if you just do a basic format ....
Lol. Well personal yes as its my PC. More I google more I'm inclined to wipe and reinstall, just dont want the hassle of digging out drivers and product keys, etc. If I thought it would be a simple and painless process I guess I would just do that.
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:20
davethorp
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Format and sell???

I hope you don't store anything valuable/personal/dodgy on your PC's before you sell them!

Easy to recover files if you just do a basic format ....
Pretty easy to recover files if you don't smash the hard drive up with a hammer if someone is determined enough although that would make it rather hard to sell
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:22
mred2000
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Well its already advertised on ebay as with Windows 7...
Remove the hard drive and sell it as is. Win7 will still be supplied on a disc, no?

Or have you advertised it as coming with a load of software pre-installed? Not sure you should be selling it with software included in the price if you're not supplying the software/serial numbers/etc. as well, anyway...
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:37
Andrew_Ballard
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when selling a computer you should always do a secure wipe, a basic overwrite is more than enough, the format command doesn't do this and everything on the drive is still there, just waiting to be overwritten (or recovered).
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:39
d'@ve
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Well its already advertised on ebay as with Windows 7 and to be honest I don't have the time and patience to strip it and sell it all seperately, but your prob right in that I would get more for it.

Lol. Well personal yes as its my PC. More I google more I'm inclined to wipe and reinstall, just dont want the hassle of digging out drivers and product keys, etc. If I thought it would be a simple and painless process I guess I would just do that.
You can never be sure that you've erased all personal data from a Windows machine. Never.

If that concerns you, you should erase then overwrite the complete hard drive with new data files (big videos etc.). Twice.

That oughta do it (in spite of theoretical exercises suggesting that it isn't enough). In fact, one overwrite may be enough (as suggested above) but I always say two because for technical reasons peculiar to solid state drives, one overwrite is definitely NOT enough on them.
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Old 08-07-2013, 17:47
Maxatoria
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Are we going into the 35 different types of overwrite methods and the fact that you need to have a government license to write a piece of wiping software according to someone many months ago?

The amount of effort is relative to the paranoia felt by the person....don't care at all = just hand them the machine and hope they don't have a rummage through to totally paranoid = buy new drive and fit it and melt the old one down into a lump of metal and drop it off a cross channel ferry

Generally a simple way of doing it is just to run dban and job done....given the spooks will already know what you do and what you've downloaded and probably already have an image of your drive (!) they won't be bothered to spend the theoretical effort looking at individual atoms and hoping to recover 1 byte in a trillion
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Old 08-07-2013, 18:11
mred2000
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Are we going into the 35 different types of overwrite methods and the fact that you need to have a government license to write a piece of wiping software according to someone many months ago?
I was going to link to that, lol
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Old 08-07-2013, 18:24
Malibu Illusion
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One overwrite by DBAN is likely to be enough. That will render all data unrecoverable through existing methods. Any theoretical recovery method beyond that point is basically Sci-Fi at present, although the immensely paranoid will often suggest physically destroying the disk.
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Old 08-07-2013, 18:27
captainkremmen
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I had a couple of PCs, both with Windows 7 that I wanted to pass on.

Like another FM mentioned above, I found I was able to recover small amounts of data after using CCleaner's wipe free space on the first machine.

However the same test trying to recover anything after using Heidi's Eraser was more successful, I wasn't able to recover anything.

So, if you aren't ultra paranoid, and want to pass on the PC with the OS and software here's what I did:

Download and install Revo Uninstaller.
Use it to uninstall any programmes you don't want to pass on, making use of the applications ability to search out and delete leftover files, folders and registry settings that often get left behind.

Remove any and all bookmarks from your browser(s).

Use CCleaner to remove temporary internet files etc. Check the options before scanning, basically put a tick in every box to ensure passwords are removed, the thumbnail cache is removed etc. etc.

Download and install Heidi Eraser.

Use it to securely erase files and folders you want deleted.

Delete the Windows Page File (it will be wiped when you shutdown):
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314834

Once you are happy everything has gone, restart the PC and login again.

Run Eraser and use the wipe free space option to wipe the free space of the drive. This could take several hours.

If you want to test everything has gone download and run one of the number of free data recovery applications available, to see if anything can be recovered. If everything is OK and no data can be recovered, you are done.

A quicker way if you only want to include Windows 7 without any additional applications is to use DBAN to securely wipe the drive, then just reinstall the operating system from scratch. You can find lots of info on how to use it here:
http://eraser.heidi.ie/forum/viewfor...95caa703af84d8

If you are paranoid and want to make sure there is absolutely no way any data can ever be recovered, replace the hard drive with a new one and install the operating system from scratch.
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Old 08-07-2013, 21:58
d'@ve
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Are we going into the 35 different types of overwrite methods and the fact that you need to have a government license to write a piece of wiping software according to someone many months ago?
If that's directed at me (the post above) let me explain.

You need to overwrite HDDs (including Windows) once and SSDs twice. That's it. Easiest to remember if you just say twice and leave it at that. Nothing to do with recovering atoms, significant amounts of recoverable data remain on SSDs after a single erase and you can't always rely on the built-in secure-erase commands as they aren't always implemented correctly. Wear leveling is the issue here.

You don't even need erase software though, you can do it entirely with Windows or Linux commands (from a different hard drive obviously).
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Old 09-07-2013, 12:45
tealady
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If that's directed at me (the post above) let me explain.
Pretty sure that was a reference to our former FM robertcrowther. Happy days!
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Old 09-07-2013, 15:53
Ellie666
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tbh if it is worth selling, then with Windows 7 i can't imagine you would have many driver issues if you go for a full reinstall
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Old 09-07-2013, 16:00
sancheeez
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tbh if it is worth selling, then with Windows 7 i can't imagine you would have many driver issues if you go for a full reinstall
You'd be surprised.

My laptop shipped with W7. I put an SSD in it and did a full re-install to get rid of all the manufacturer bloatware they added to it. I was surprised just how many things W7 failed to find drivers for. Wasn't eactly hard to find them all on the manufacturers website right enough, but even so ....

But regardless, I'd agree you should be able to find drivers for everything in there easily enough. The only things I've had trouble finding W7 drivers for in the last year or two have been prehistoric pieces of hardware.
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Old 09-07-2013, 16:15
captainkremmen
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tbh if it is worth selling, then with Windows 7 i can't imagine you would have many driver issues if you go for a full reinstall
Not really.

I would normally recommend, if anyone goes for a full reinstall, to note all of the hardware that requires drivers and the download them and stick them on a USB stick, or on a CD, before doing the reinstall. Makes life much easier.

Apart from a very old scanner (bought in Windows 95 days) it was easy to find drivers for everything else.
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Old 09-07-2013, 17:34
Orbitalzone
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Win7 format does overwrite with zeros so unlike XP a format does wipe the drive. Does it do it thoroughly enough? well when I tried the format command on a few usb sticks I couldn't recover anything unlike if XP had done the format but others find they can recover some things. I suppose it depends on how much info is there to worry about and the chances that someone will actually try and recover data anyway.

So, I personally would reload Win7 having first done a format, then for good measure see what Recuva and another file recovery program finds (probably not much) then after that should be good to go.

Or smash up the drive now.
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Old 09-07-2013, 17:52
d'@ve
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Or smash up the drive now.
Ah the brick or hammer method - quick, effective and cheap!
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Old 09-07-2013, 18:07
Maxatoria
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Ah the brick or hammer method - quick, effective and cheap!
Chipping and then melting the drive is probably the very best security method after not putting anything important on the drive in the first place but it does have one advantage that DBAN and any other piece of software don't have is that it can be very much stress releaving to smack 7 bells out of something
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Old 09-07-2013, 21:19
justjax
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Thanks all for the tips. I think most people wouldn't even think about using recovery software to look what was previously on the drive, but of course someone buying 2nd hand on ebay might be a bit more tech savvy. I won't know if its sold until Sat afternoon and then will have to courier it on Monday so just a day and a bit to sort it. Temped to do a complete wipe with one of the recommend programs like DBAN and then install Win 7 as a fresh install and hope that I don't have any issues installing the drivers for the TV card, etc. I know some of you guys reckon I should just wipe and give them the disks, but I advertised it as all set up and working and also offered local collection as an option so they may turn up wanting to see it in action. Anyway, thanks again for all.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:03
Blackjack Davy
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I've sold plenty of drives on eBay, I do a wipe of them before they go, and do a run through with Recuva which is about the limit that most people will use, if it can't recover any useful data its good to go.

Obviously a forensic police examination would recover more, but unless you're an internationally renowned criminal I doubt they'll be interested, and there are far easier and simpler ways for criminals to phish data, malware for instance.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:51
daver34
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Microwave hard drive.(low heat/watt setting)
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