Second-hand PC Protection

  Night Scribe 18:27 31 Dec 2006


Have just bought a second-hand PC for the family from a friend of a friend. I have little idea of the history of the PC although it is only about eighteen months old.

My concern is that you hear such terrible stories about illegal content remaining on PCs after deletion and so I want to be sure there is nothing untoward left behind.

So here comes the dumb question (sorry I'm not at all technical!)- a friend has suggested I set my mind at rest by replacing the hard drive. If I were to do this would I then be safe? Or could there be files/images etc lurking elsewhere on the PC?

Thanks in advance for any help and happy new year!

  Totally-braindead 18:36 31 Dec 2006

If you are that concerned then renewing the hard drive would definately make sure that nothing was there.
When the PC is switched off the only place anything can "lurk" is on the hard drive there cannot be anything anywhere else.
You could use hard drive tools to rewrite the entire drive that would do the same thing.
All you need to know is the make of hard drive then you go to the manufacturers website and download their tools.

  GaT7 18:37 31 Dec 2006

Wiping everything permanently using something like the free Eraser click here should suffice. G

  howard64 18:40 31 Dec 2006

I assume it has windows loaded? is it a legal copy with you being given the cd key and cd. If not when you fit a new hard drive you will have to buy a new copy of windows to fit. If it was an oem copy of windows it will only work with the pc as it is now. To clear the pc of anything not wanted you can simply create a new user from the user tab in the control panel and then delete the previous user once you have logged on as the new user. If you click on delete users files you should then have a fairly clean pc. You can also run the tools within windows to clean the hard drive and remove temp files etc.

  woodchip 18:48 31 Dec 2006

Only way, if the computer comes from unknown source is. NEW DRIVE. Cheaper that getting done for porn etc

  Strawballs 19:14 31 Dec 2006

If you fit new hard drive you can still reinstall an OEM copy of windows (if you have benn given the CD and Product Key with it) it only gets funny when you change things like the mother board.

  Ray5776 19:21 31 Dec 2006

for what they cost new drive is the ONLY totally safe way

  bremner 19:23 31 Dec 2006

I bought a Mesh machine in 2002 with XP HE OEM supplied.

Since then it has had new mobo, processor, RAM, Hard Drive, DVD Writer and two PSU's. I have never had a problem with XP reactivating.

As others have said get a new hard drive and wipe the old one with eraser then dismantle it and throw it away. If you haven't got the original XP disk then a new OEM copy will only set you back £50 ish and most come with a Vista Upgrade voucher.

  Ray5776 19:36 31 Dec 2006

You need to dispose of a HDD responsibly, so if it is full of porno as suggested by woodchip best you send it to me so that I view it can pass it on to the appropriate
disposal site:-)

Just a joke before anyone reports me to FE

  Night Scribe 12:22 01 Jan 2007

Thanks for the advice folks. The PC has a legal version of Windows XP installed so I think I'll play safe and get a new hard drive.

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