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Permanently get rid of dirty files?


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#1
cleanmypc

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Hello,

I'm Dan a 47 year old father of 2. :)

Recently my eldest son has moved out of the house to start his own life.

Unfortanately, he would look at pornography on my pc. I don't know how long he did this but at least he came clean to me because I told him that I'm looking to sell my pc to a friend. So, my problem is, I don't want my friend seeing what my son did on this computer.

Is there any way to permanently get rid of this crud so nobody can see it?

Basically I want my pc to be porn free, and I know that there are people out there that are good with computers who can see what you've been surfing and all that.

Can I do this without harming my Windows Vista computer?

Thanks in advance,
Dan
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#2
cleanmypc

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31 views and no one replied? Come on guys, please help me! :)
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#3
wannabe1

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Hello cleanmypc...

The best way to accomplish what you want is to format and reinstall Windows. Some OEM machines will allow you to do a system recovery directly from a hidden recovery partition on the system drive...others require that you have their recovery disks.

What kind of machine is it that you are wanting to clean up?

wannabe1
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#4
cleanmypc

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It's an:

Manufacturer: Acer

Model: Aspire X1200

Processor: AMD Sempron™ Dual Core Processor 2300 2.20ghz

Memory: 3.00GB

System Type: 32 bit opperating system


There isn't an easier way, without loosing all my other data and starting over?

Thanks for your help,
cleanmypc

Edited by cleanmypc, 22 August 2009 - 11:55 AM.

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#5
wannabe1

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The Acer Aspire series computers allow you to make a set of recovery disks that will take the machine back to factory settings. If you haven't made this set of disks, I recommend that you do. They can save your tail if the HDD fails.

There are ways to clean a machine up reasonably well, but the only way to be sure is with a format/reinstall. AND...because porn sites are notorious for giving you all kinds of added bonus software (like spyware, malware, keystroke loggers, trojans, etc...), it might be best to take a trip through our Malware Forum and let the experts there help you clean the machine up. If you let them know what you are trying to accomplish, I'm sure they'll be glad to help you with it. Just run through the steps in the guide and post the requested logs for analysis by the experts.
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#6
cleanmypc

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Hey wannebe1, :)

Thanks for the quick replies. :)

I've already made the recovery disks; what does HDD stand for? Hard drive?

I don't think my pc is infected, it's still running fine and all. :)

I guess I just want to get rid of his history; where he's been and all.

Is there a way to do that without reinstalling?

Thanks again,
cleanmypc
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#7
wannabe1

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You can delete the temporary files and browsing history.

In Internet Explorer, click "Tools" on the toolbar and choose "Internet Options". Under the "General" tab, in the "Browsing History" section, click on the "Delete" button. In the window that opens, tick the top 4 boxes (the others can be selected, too, depending on how much you want to get rid of) and click "Delete".

In Firefox, click "Tools" on the toolbar and choose "Clear recent history". Select "Everything" from the drop-down menu and click on "Clear Now".
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#8
cleanmypc

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Ok but say you looked at my computer, would you be able to find the stuff even after I "supposedly" deleted it?

Like is there one more step secure than the temp files? But short of not formatting?

Thanks again wannabe1, you've been much help. :)
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#9
wannabe1

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The next step would be a format... :)

Even after a format or two, the information would be available to someone good with computer forensics. Nothing ever really leaves the HDD (hard drive), it's simply marked as available for rewrite. When and if the information is actually overwritten is chosen at random by the computer's requirements during write cycles.
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#10
cleanmypc

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Okay, I think I'm gonna format. :)

Before I do though I have some questions. :)

Does formatting my hard drive effect its lifespan?

Can it somehow wreck my pc?

I have a network setup and everything(modem, adapter, etc...) will I have to resetup the network, because I don't really know how to do that. BestBuy came and did that for quite a bit of cash. :)

Can you give me step by step directions so I don't hurt my pc.

Thanks alot!
cleanmypc
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#11
iJake

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Formatting don't effect how long it lasts and it won't wreck you're PC if you do it right!

You will probably have the reset the network settings.

I've not formatted my PC, so I can't give you step by step!
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#12
wannabe1

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As iJake stated, formatting will not effect the longevity of the drive...nor will it harm the hardware.

Do you have an external HDD? If you do, Window Vista and Windows 7 make it easy to transfer your current settings to the new installation. You can use the Easy Transfer Wizard (Start orb - All Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Windows Easy Transfer) to replace the settings for everything as it's now configured. The trick to using this tool effectively is to get everything installed (programs and such), then run the Easy Transfer. You can use cd's or dvd's for this, too...but it's easier using an external HDD. If you clear your browsing history before doing the first part (creating the backup file on the old install), then none of that will survive the transfer. Just start the tool and follow the prompts...it's really quite well automated.

Then, put your recovery disk (or disk 1 if on multiple disks) and restart the machine. Follow the prompts to restore the machine to it's factory defaults. This process will format the system partition...all data will be lost. Once this process completes, you can run the Easy Transfer from the external HDD to restore your settings.

If, for some reason, the network settings are not correct when all is finished, we have some very good networking people here that should be able to help you get things set up.
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#13
cleanmypc

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"Do you have an external HDD?"

No I don't, Would a USB 2.0 Flash Drive work?



"The trick to using this tool effectively is to get everything installed (programs and such), then run the Easy Transfer."

Does this mean I install the stuff I want now and then run easy transfer?



"If you clear your browsing history before doing the first part (creating the backup file on the old install), then none of that will survive the transfer."

What is "creating the backup file on the old install?



"Just start the tool and follow the prompts...it's really quite well automated."

I assume the tool would be the Easy Transfer?



"Then, put your recovery disk (or disk 1 if on multiple disks) and restart the machine."

So while the computer is still on, I put in disk 1, and then click the restart? Not shut down?


What about disk 2,3,and 4?

And 1 more, :)

My computer has 61.7GB free of 140GB, when I do the format does this mean I will get 140GB free?


Thanks wannabe1,You've been awesome! :)
cleanmypc
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#14
iJake

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I believe a Flash drive does work, but don't count on me for that.

Yes, install everything you want now and then run Easy Transfer.

I believe he means a backup of your Operating System at the moment, just to be safe.

The tool he's talking about is Easy Transfer.

Put the CD in, and then just restart. Use CD 1, and it will prompt for 2, 3 and 4.

When you format, everything will be erased and you will have 140GB (or maybe a little less) of unallocated space.
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#15
wannabe1

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An external HDD works best. My second choice would be CDs of DVDs. When using CDs, it can take a number of them to hold all the data...DVDs usually require only one or two. I've never tried using a flash drive, so I can't really tell you if that will work or not. I don't think a flash drive would be recognized as a backup device by the transfer program, though.

You would run the Easy Transfer program on the machine as it is now. Then do the Acer eRecovery (System Recovery). Once that completes and you are at the "out of box" configuration, you can install all the programs you use. Next you would run the Easy Transfer program again to integrate the files and settings it saved from your old installation on to the CDs, DVDs, or external drive.

The backup file is what the Easy Transfer program will create on removable media (compact disk) or external media (external HDD).

Yes, put the first recovery disk in the machine and restart...it should boot to the cd and you'll be off and running. Just follow the prompts withing the recovery program. You will be prompted to replace the disks when the machine is ready for the next one.

The Acer eRecovery will place a partition on the drive which contains the recovery information for making another set of recovery disks...this will take up about 7 GB of space. The operating system and associated software will take up another 7 to ten GB. So...under ideal circumstances, you should end up with about 123 to 126 GB free out of the 140 GB before you install all your programs and add your data from the Easy Transfer file.
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