If you are going to sell your old PC …


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make sure all sensitive data is removed.

Anyone with a cheap data recovery program can recover your recently deleted files–even if you’ve emptied the recycle bin. They can also get files off a freshly-formatted hard drive. So if you want to be
absolutely certain that your old PC’s new owner won’t get your private information, you need to wipe the sensitive files by overwriting them with new 1s and 0s.

Before you pick a program, you need to answer two questions: Do you want to wipe the sensitive data or the whole drive? And how paranoid are you?

Wiping just the sensitive files is faster, but it requires more thought on your part, and leaves open the possibility of a mistake. It also requires you to wipe the unused space on your drive, which may contain remnants of older versions of your sensitive files.

But wiping the entire drive has its own problems. A Windows computer is supposed to go to new owners with the operating system intact. If your PC came with a recovery disc, and you haven’t lost it, that’s not a big problem–you can wipe the drive, then reinstall Windows. But if your PC can reinstall Windows without a special CD or DVD, wiping the entire drive will effectively destroy the Windows license that came with it. Even wiping the C: partition and leaving the recovery partition alone might render recovery impossible.

Now then, about paranoia: Most of these programs offer several wiping methods, some of them elaborate
routines that write over your drive 35 files to make sure nothing can be restored. But a simple, one-pass wipe will render your data inaccessible to any software that an identity thief is likely to have. A one-pass wipe is also faster (we’re talking hours instead of days) and in some cases, cheaper. So unless you have reason to fear the FBI, you can probably skip the massively slow and secure Gutmann method. (Source: Remove Sensitive Data Before You Sell an Old PC – CIO)

For recommendations on how to clean your hard drive check the article.

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About brvanlanen

Just a thirty-something guy currently hanging it up in the greater Green Bay area. My post-high school educational background is mainly in the Information Technology field. Specifically I have an A.A.S. in Computer Network Systems and a B.S. in Information Systems Security, both from ITT Technical Institute, in addition to A and MCDST certifications. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and sports. My Christian faith is also important to me as a Missouri-Synod Lutheran and all my children attend a Lutheran grade school. When it comes to political leanings I am a conservative first and foremost which you will discover rather quickly. As for sports I am a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Posted on June 10, 2009, in PC, Security, Tech Tips, Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on If you are going to sell your old PC ….

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