Passing on old pcs

  Damarc 11:51 08 Jan 2011

Like many people I like to update my pcs but am not sure how to ensure that I get rid of everything on my old disk. I know that I can reformat but as my old pc had no Windows disk with it, I would not be able to reinstall an operating system.

With my laptop, should I need to upgrade, there is a recovery disk on it but supposedly it is part of the hard disk so if I reformat that I'm likely to lose the lot.

How do you ensure that nothing on file gets passed onto to a third party?

  ukpostcode 11:55 08 Jan 2011

I normally take out the hard drive if passing on a PC or Laptop.
Or use something like "Kill Disc" which wipes everything off including the Master Boot Record etc.
If your London based a few charities take old PC's and your local library or council would probably have the info on who to send it to.

  john bunyan 11:59 08 Jan 2011

See Here:
My post on that of 4:1:11 at 14.03 . You can delete all you want and run CCleaner in full NAS or gutman mode - takes a long time.

click here

  jamesd1981 12:18 08 Jan 2011

to be realistic all that over hyped hard drive erasing is nonsense, as long as you delete your files, your average person buying a pc has no interest and certainly not the knowledge, skills or software to recover deleted data. and unless you some kind of porn freak, your personal data probably has nothing in it anybody wants, they dont want to see pics of a big fat ass on holiday lol.

  woodchip 12:52 08 Jan 2011

All you need to is start the PC with the Recovery CD in the drive this will clear the Info on the Drive and Restore the Operating System

  Damarc 12:36 09 Jan 2011

Blimey Woodchip is that all that is required??? However on my old pc there is no recovery disk, it's only on my laptop. So what's the best way of erasing data but have the ability to reinstall windows when I don't have Windows disks?

  Terry Brown 14:17 09 Jan 2011

Do you know the manufacturer of the hard drive?, if so go to their web site and you can normally download software that will do a low level format of the drive. This normally runs in DOS or Linux.

On a normal format the first block (255 bytes) and the last block are not deleted. This is where root trogans hide.

A low level format will overwrite every byte from first to last and replace it with a zero.

This will delete all data and partitions and is normally unrecoverable.

The other option is to take out the harddrive and bang a 6" nail through it.


  Strawballs 15:12 09 Jan 2011

What is the make and model of the old desktop it might have restore on a seperate partion that can be run to format and restore factory settings

  johndrew 15:27 09 Jan 2011

You may find this site of interest. It provides details of free software which will remove data from a HDD (and other media) click here

For ease you may wish to delete only your files, in which case these may be of interest click here and click here

Eraser is a good tool for selecting individual files/folders and removing them.

If you want commercial products then such as Cyberscrub click here produce good software which will also permit selective removal. You could try the trial; it may do all you want.

  Damarc 17:18 09 Jan 2011

It's a Dell, can't remember which model but is about 6 years old. We had trouble with spyware before but Dell were useless at giving us any Windows XP disks or even managing to download as we were out of guarantee period. My son reformatted the disk and installed XP on it but he doesn't have the disks any more for us to reinstall if we want to pass the pc on. No wonder people just ditch them and cannabalise the hard disks. It's such a pity because it could be useful to someone. Thank you for your answers. I'll look into the links more.

  GaT7 17:54 09 Jan 2011

Few other options:

You could install a free Linux OS on it, then give it away: Ubuntu click here / PCLinuxOS click here / Puppy Linux click here / Linux Mint click here (more choice at click here). Before this, do run a free cleaner though: KillDisk / Eraser / Dban as suggested already. Running a single pass will be enough (several passes will take a lot of time of complete).

If giving it away to a charity is not an option, you could offer it for free at your local FreeCycle group click here. You don't have to give it to the first responder, but bide your time & get a few responses before deciding to give it away to the person who appears to need a PC more than the others (people can lie of course). G

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