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#1 ShaneK  Icon User is offline

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Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:27 AM

Greetings, DiC. Long time no see!

Recently a friend of mine has asked me how to best remove all the personal files from her computer before selling it...and I realized I honestly have no idea.

My first thought was wiping the hard drive with CCleaner and a secure wiping mode, but that would mean reinstalling Windows, which would require a product key, which I don't have, and I imagine she doesn't either (since Walmart-bought computers haven't come with CDs for restoring the system in a long time...)

The second thought was going through and manually deleting all the personal files...but what if I miss something? Something vital like tax information due to an oversight?

Surely there has to be software (hopefully freeware/open source) for the job of finding non-vital files.

Anyone ever been in this situation? Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Yours,
Shane~

Edit: I really hope I posted this in the right spot...

This post has been edited by ShaneK: 13 January 2012 - 11:42 AM


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Replies To: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 11:50 AM

Sell it without a hard drive. The first thing I do when I buy a PC is nuke it anyway. I don't trust the seller didn't put a virus on it to later learn *my* personal info.
Whatever drive it came with is not hte current state of the art. If I bought a used PC today, the next purchase would be a new 3.5tb drive, or two.

You should have a product key if the installation is legal. There should be a sticker on the PC.
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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:03 PM

Quote

(since Walmart-bought computers haven't come with CDs for restoring the system in a long time...)

No one does anymore, but they allow you to make one set of cds/dvds as a restore.. so why not create them.. blast the drive, and move on?
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#4 ShaneK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:29 PM

If I make one of those backups now does it only back up the OS?

Yours,
Shane~
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:45 PM

Yeah.. should... it should be from the recovery partition..
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#6 xCraftyx  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 02:50 PM

I did this same thing for a friend, he wanted to sell his computer without any recoverable data on the drive. I used DBAN to do it securely. However you'll still need the Windows install discs
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#7 ccubed  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 06:00 PM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 13 January 2012 - 11:50 AM, said:

Sell it without a hard drive. The first thing I do when I buy a PC is nuke it anyway. I don't trust the seller didn't put a virus on it to later learn *my* personal info.
Whatever drive it came with is not hte current state of the art. If I bought a used PC today, the next purchase would be a new 3.5tb drive, or two.

You should have a product key if the installation is legal. There should be a sticker on the PC.


Agreed, Unless I know exactly what was on it, like the one from my school i got, I instantly buy a new HDD and do what I want.
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#8 William_Wilson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 13 January 2012 - 06:14 PM

I too always 0 fill the drive and re-install the OS before selling. You can never be too safe.

---

If it's running Windows 7 your key is listed under Control Panel\System and Security\System also found by right clicking on My Computer and selecting properties. It's at the bottom.

Otherwise I've had a lot of luck with ProduKey:
http://www.nirsoft.n...key_viewer.html
to discover the key from computer such as yours. You can then use a disc from /any/ source of the correct OS :)
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#9 RetardedGenius  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:22 AM

If you really want to ensure that there is nothing left on your HDD you can nuke it, as tlhIn`toq previously mentioned. I would suggest using Boot and Nuke. Note that it will take quite a while to complete a full run! ;)
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#10 ShaneK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:34 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 13 January 2012 - 02:03 PM, said:

Quote

(since Walmart-bought computers haven't come with CDs for restoring the system in a long time...)

No one does anymore, but they allow you to make one set of cds/dvds as a restore.. so why not create them.. blast the drive, and move on?


It turns out it's Windows Vista and it doesn't have a tool to make a set of DVDs to restore it, so I'd actually need a Vista installation disk...which I don't have.

Still haven't wiped the machines yet.

Any ideas?

Yours,
Shane~
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#11 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:42 AM

Really? Which company built the machine?

http://www.techrepub...recovery-cd/622
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#12 ShaneK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:01 AM

Toshiba (Also, both machines are exactly the same)

Edit:
Anddddddd I've seen those posts, but those are recovery CDs, not for after the entire OS is gone >_< They're just slimmed down versions of the installation CDs without the installation part. So they wouldn't work for this :/

Yours,
Shane~

This post has been edited by ShaneK: 27 January 2012 - 11:03 AM

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#13 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:10 AM

I call shenanigans. Did you, or this user, uninstall the recovery utility? Is there a small partition drive with this on there?

Basically, what I want you to find is this:

Quote

Some Toshiba notebook computer models have a Toshiba HDD Recovery Utility, which is stored in a special partition on the hard disk drive, along with the system files used for the 'recovery' of the hard disk drive to its original just-from-the-factory default state (contents).

http://aps2.toshiba-...02140000R01.htm
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#14 ShaneK  Icon User is offline

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Re: Removing personal files from a computer before selling it

Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:39 AM

That guide doesn't apply to this laptop, but I think this laptop actually did come with re-installation CDs and I just didn't see them before...

This computer must be older than I thought...

Anyway, I think this is solved for now. Thanks for the help...

Edit:

Also, really sorry for the anti-climactic ending, thanks for ALL of the help! And I'm not sure if I should trust these CDs, they don't restore from a partition, right? So I should be good even if I use DBAN, correct? I need to be sure before I nuke it >.<

Edit 2:

Everything worked out great! Thanks for the help!

Yours,
Shane~

This post has been edited by ShaneK: 28 January 2012 - 11:41 AM

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