As for the computer itself, do I just dump it in the trash or is there an better way to dispose of it?
Thanks in advanced!
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Wikipedia.org: Disk formatting > Recovery of data from a formatted disk
... or just a simple format will do the same trick.
As with regular deletion, data on a disk is not fully destroyed during a high-level format. Instead, the area on the disk containing the data is merely marked as available (in whatever file system structure the format uses), and retains the old data until it is overwritten.
From the perspective of preventing the recovery of sensitive data through recovery tools, the data must either be completely overwritten (every sector) with random data before the format, or the format program itself must perform this overwriting, as the DOS FORMAT command did with floppy diskettes, filling every data sector with the byte value F6 in hex.
That's not really true either - unless you just installed Windows and did not setup any user accounts or networking. The problem is, even if you tell your programs to install on a second drive or partition, portions are still installed on the boot drive. And some programs don't give you a choice, they install on the boot drive regardless. Outlook Express in Vista and earlier Windows versions installs on the boot drive. And finally, the Registry is on the boot drive.
Only formating is good if you have only your OS install and nothing on it that is private.
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