Reformatting Hard Drive

  You Splitter 17:42 19 Mar 2005

Hi all,

I have an old(ish) PC that I wish to sell. Of course I want to make sure any information about myself is well and truely gone before parting company with the machine.
Firstly I guess the best way to do this is to re-format the hard drive and run a 'wiping' software?

If this is the case, as with most high street purchased PC's, it came with a partitioned hardrive and windows pre-installed on an OEM licence. Therefore I don't have a windows disk to re-install after formatting.

Any help from someone who knows a bit more about this would be really appreciated.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:44 19 Mar 2005

Just reformat the disk and forget about the 'wiping software'. A reformat is more than enough unless you are an MI5 spook, in which case you would not be posting here.


  Diemmess 17:49 19 Mar 2005

........assuming you are going to sell a "blank" HD, would be to use a Win 98 boot floppy, run FDISK and combine all partitions as one. Then you can FORMAT and wipe the info........ Yes, in deep forensic establishments it would be possible to recover some data, but for ordinary mortals that is not possible.

Alternatively you can download various overwriting freebies. but you may not find it easy to access the "hidden partitions", and I said this way was cheap and cheerful!

  bremner 17:55 19 Mar 2005

A reformat does absolutely nothing to remove the data. If you are passing on your drive and you have any personal details you would rather not be available for others then a wiping program is necessary. If you do not have personal deatils only programs etc then a format would suffice.

"Yes, in deep forensic establishments it would be possible to recover some data, but for ordinary mortals that is not possible."

There are so many file recovery programs available I've lost count, many are free.

Here is an example click here

  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:56 19 Mar 2005

...cue X-files music.


  You Splitter 18:11 19 Mar 2005

Lol! Naughty gandalf! :)
Leaving aside conspiracy theory's, spooks and that sort of thing, if I just format the HD won't that remove the OS? (Sorry if its a stupid question).
If so then I have no disk to re-install it and Im stuffed as it would seriously devalue the machine if who ever buys it has to spend serious money to get windows again.

  Diemmess 18:59 19 Mar 2005

Once you venture into who is licensed to use what it is better to keep such thoughts to yourself rather than go public, but the principal remains.......... There is no quick,certain and selective way of destroying data while retaining the system as a whole.

It must depend on the level of backup in that hidden partition. If there is a complete Windows install there, you can simply re-install the OS as a Repair which will over-write all the apps and data leaving a working system as it was on day 1......

..... You can't have it all ways unless you spend hours detecting every file with personal stuff on it, and saving rubbish via the save-as routine.

  Jak_1 19:05 19 Mar 2005

If you have old pc advisor cover cd's then on one of them you should find BCWipe. Load this on and once you have deleted all your data files then run BCWipe to wipe all free space. This will overwrite all free space with a 7 wipe pass, even the CIA would have problems getting data off the drive, do this on both partitions.
The added bonus is that the operating system is left intact.

  woodchip 19:18 19 Mar 2005

All the above have left the AFTER FORMAT out. If you have no OS disc you will have to get one or sell it as-is

  Completealias 20:48 19 Mar 2005

Do you have any recovery disks?

If you do you could first securely wipe your personal data with a file shredder not the whole drive with a prog for that use they are about.

Then use the recovery disk to set the pc back to day one, your personal data will have been securely wiped and harder to recover and the pc will b like day one

  You Splitter 13:11 20 Mar 2005

Thanks all for the advice.
Just to clarify Diemmes there is no question over the licence at all. The PC has the OEM licence sticker on it and that licence can quite legally be sold on to another party. My point was I would be selling on a licence without a product if I wipe the OS!

Once again thanks for all your ideas.

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