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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sold an older laptop and need to securely erase the HD. Does anyone have any software recommendations? Preferably free.. Thanks!
 

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Pull harddrive and expose to a heavy duty magnet like one from a permanent magnet starter motor or old speaker. Very clean and no possible recovery.
 

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If you don't need an operatin system on it (ie. Windows or anything) just goto the dos prompt and run the format utility. It erases the entire hardrive but leaves the partition segments intact....like getting a brand new hard-drive...
 

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I was told that reformatting simply leaves the partitions open for new content but the original content stays intact until overwritten.
My guru was just here converting some systems and updating the network. I have 5 units to donate and the magnets were his advice.
 

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A friend of mine that just graduated from "Full Sail" (programming and animation school in Florida) told me that MS-Dos's f-disk function changes all the 1's and 0's on your hard drive to 0's. This would be an absence of information. Some people f-disk twice, but if what he says were true that would be unnecessary.

He could be wrong though.
 

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I'm sticking with the crude way. Seems like I have software problems almost every day. Tonight it was Firefox and a website.
Anybody else feel like a class action suit against Microsoft? If computers were cars, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
 

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Teetorbilt said:
I'm sticking with the crude way. Seems like I have software problems almost every day. Tonight it was Firefox and a website.
Anybody else feel like a class action suit against Microsoft? If computers were cars, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

heh more and more everyday computers are becomeing our cars...
 

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Now my MS Tracball has decided to start sticking....again.
 

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Hard Drive Cleaner

I suggest you start with a Google search for "Hard Drive Cleaner Freeware" and look at all the choices there are.

Persoanally my choice is a program called "NecroFile" that is available as freeware and purchase of the full version.

There a many programs that will wipe the drive. Take your pick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the info. I read an article that said it was fairly easy for a hacker type to rebuild much of the info on a hard drive even after reformatting. So, I figured it would be worthwhile to check... Especially after I put one on Ebay and the buyer wrote in broken english to the effect "I'll send you a check and can you ship it to my niece in Nigeria." Ummm, sure thing.:)

Anyway, thanks for the help.
 

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I would not rely on FDISK, format, or a reinstall to do a truly secure wipe. Tetor's magnet idea is pretty good, but a truly determined person with the right software and ahrdware can recover even that. The best way is to use a program capable of writing the entire disk, multiple times with at least one 'write check' over the entire HD including so-called free-space.

Also if you have the later versions of Windows you will find that you can recover stuff pretty easily using onboard tools.

In addition, while I have used the magnet to hard drive idea of Tetor's for non-sensitive wipes, I have experienced a large number of hard drive destructions using this method. That is to say that a previously working drive CAN be destroyed if the magnet is strong enough and the hard drive is made a certain way.. so do not use a strong magnet on a drive you are not willing to roll the dice with.

As I say, Tetor's idea will work fine for most people, but you do chance the destruction of the HD and a good data recovery service MIGHT be able to get some or all of the info off of it anyhow.

Charles
 

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reformat your entire system and do a fresh install of your base software, when you reformat the drive and erase your c: drive, it wipes it.

If you are really paranoid about the contents, take out the HD, and install a new one. You'll be out a little cash, but you won't have anything to worry about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just an FYI for everyone..

I bribed a friend of a friend to look at my hard drive before I shipped. I had formatted and reinstalled windows 98. He ran some type of software and in a few minutes had recovered 98% of my files. Kinda scary..

I'm not sure what he used but it ran in DOS and took several hours. It rewrites the drive 50 times and when he ran the recovery software again, it didn't work. This whole thing makes me think a few hundred dollars isn't worth it and you should just sledgehammer the thing.

Anyways, thanks for the help.
 

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You have to do what is called a "zero-fill" Search google, there's plenty of free utilities out there, every HDD mfr has their own "utilities" and include the option to do a zero fill. This effectively writes a 0 in every sector, multiple times (can get quite lengthy, time-wise) but the data will be unrecoverable. Most run in DOS from a bootable floppy, such a program is probably what your friend used.

The cost of putting a new drive in a used laptop would probably be too great (unless it's a relatively new laptop) as most laptop drives, especially +40GB 5400 or 7200 RPM are not cheap, as compared to a 3.5" desktop IDE. Then of course you'd have the fun of dismantling/reassembling the laptop, and trying to figure out how you ended up with so many leftover screws :cheesygri
 

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Harddrives run about a $1 per gig. Questionable programs are about half that. Why not be on the safe side and install a new HD? Treat the old one with the magnet and then burn it just to be completely safe.
 

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2.5" IDE drives (laptop) are more than $1.50 a gig, at an e-tailer, more I suspect at a brick & mortar store. The programs from the drive manufacturers are free, downloadable from their websites, and a multi-pass zero-fill will wipe the drive, clean, period. But to each his own, I just wouldn't buy a drive for a laptop I was selling, the profit will already be slim. Sorry I'm a little late on getting back to this one :)
 
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