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Windows Reinstall: are personal details removed?


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#16
Digerati

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And you think that should do the trick?

That will surely do it without question. DBAN will not, however, wipe any hidden recovery partition, unless you let it. With DBAN, you can wipe the whole disk, individual partitions, or all disks it finds.

I like Eraser - it uses DBAN technologies, but with a Windows GUI, which some folks find to be easier.

I still think wiping just free space (or filling it up with movies or songs a couple times) is more than enough to ensure all but Abby from NCIS will be unable to retrieve anything usable. That said, if you have any doubts, use DBAN (or Eraser).
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#17
hughesa

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That is the most secure way to do it, BUT that assumes that you have the CD to reload the OS. If you don't have the CD, then you will be left with a machine that has no OS.

The second best solution, which should be good enough (unless you are a spy :-), is to wipe the free disk space after reloading the OS using the complete recovery.


I did the complete recovery to begin with, so do you think all should be ok and I should stop being paranoid?
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#18
hughesa

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And you think that should do the trick?

That will surely do it without question. DBAN will not, however, wipe any hidden recovery partition, unless you let it. With DBAN, you can wipe the whole disk, individual partitions, or all disks it finds.

I like Eraser - it uses DBAN technologies, but with a Windows GUI, which some folks find to be easier.

I still think wiping just free space (or filling it up with movies or songs a couple times) is more than enough to ensure all but Abby from NCIS will be unable to retrieve anything usable. That said, if you have any doubts, use DBAN (or Eraser).


I do not have an OS CD and used the built in recovery thingy, therefore will not be able to use those software's mentioned. When you say filling it with movies, music, etc, wouldn't that take quite a while?
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#19
Digerati

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I did the complete recovery to begin with, so do you think all should be ok and I should stop being paranoid?

:)

Once again - unless each and every sector of your hard drive was over written, then any data previously stored there is still there and ANYONE with a suitable recovery program can scan the drive and find it. A recovery simply expands an image file onto the disk and resets all the file tables. So, unless you "wiped" the drive, all you did was waste your time.

When you say filling it with movies, music, etc, wouldn't that take quite a while?

Depending on how big your hard drive is, and how you transfer the files, yes - it could take a very long time. You could save some by copying 10 large files to your disk. Then copy those 10 to make 20. Copy the 20 to make 40 and so on. So instead of many many hours, it would just take a few hours.

So once again, I would let CCleaner do it in just a few minutes.

If, for some reason, you are leery of CCleaner, an altogether excellent cleaning program, BTW, punching wipe free space into Google shows some alternatives.
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#20
hughesa

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I did the complete recovery to begin with, so do you think all should be ok and I should stop being paranoid?

:)

Once again - unless each and every sector of your hard drive was over written, then any data previously stored there is still there and ANYONE with a suitable recovery program can scan the drive and find it. A recovery simply expands an image file onto the disk and resets all the file tables. So, unless you "wiped" the drive, all you did was waste your time.

When you say filling it with movies, music, etc, wouldn't that take quite a while?

Depending on how big your hard drive is, and how you transfer the files, yes - it could take a very long time. You could save some by copying 10 large files to your disk. Then copy those 10 to make 20. Copy the 20 to make 40 and so on. So instead of many many hours, it would just take a few hours.

So once again, I would let CCleaner do it in just a few minutes.

If, for some reason, you are leery of CCleaner, an altogether excellent cleaning program, BTW, punching wipe free space into Google shows some alternatives.


I downloaded Eraser and have installed it on the PC. I right clicked C: and clicked Erase Unused Space. It is the Eraser Schedule but before I run it, I do not even know what that is going to do. Will this be sufficient to destroy all that old data?
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#21
Digerati

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It is scheduling to run the next time you boot, way early in the boot process for the best results. So follow the prompts to let it do it's thing. I did not remember if Eraser allowed you to wipe the free space only, as opposed to the whole disk. So I think that will do the trick for you.
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#22
hughesa

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It is scheduling to run the next time you boot, way early in the boot process for the best results. So follow the prompts to let it do it's thing. I did not remember if Eraser allowed you to wipe the free space only, as opposed to the whole disk. So I think that will do the trick for you.


Sorry, I am still a little confused, how can you wipe free space?
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#23
Digerati

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how can you wipe free space?

:) That's been answered over and over again above. Not sure what more you need from us.
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#24
hughesa

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how can you wipe free space?

:) That's been answered over and over again above. Not sure what more you need from us.


The old data is stored in this free space until it is overwritten and wiping this free space using eraser is equivalent to overwriting it with new data. Is that correct? Sorry, when I am overwhelmed with information (thanks to the amount of help you guys have given to me) I can sometimes get a little confused and even end up back where I started.
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#25
Kemasa

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Yes, the free space program looks for free disk space and overwrites the previous data that is there. Filling up the disk also does the same thing, although not as well and not as controlled.

Once the disk is originally formatted, there is data on the disk, either the initial pattern or the data that was written. When you delete a file, only the directory entry is changed, but the data remains unless you use a program that wipes the data before actually marking it as deleted. That data will get overwritten when you write new data, which is basically what the program does.
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#26
hughesa

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Thanks to all those that replied, I understand it now.
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#27
Digerati

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The old data is stored in this free space until it is overwritten and wiping this free space using eraser is equivalent to overwriting it with new data. Is that correct?

Yes. Only Eraser (or DBAN) does not just overwrite the free space, it does it many many times.

It is easy to get confused. Especially when wipe does not "wipe" and delete does not "delete".

But you are wise to be concerned about your data and giving away old computers, and more so to ask questions.
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#28
hughesa

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The old data is stored in this free space until it is overwritten and wiping this free space using eraser is equivalent to overwriting it with new data. Is that correct?

Yes. Only Eraser (or DBAN) does not just overwrite the free space, it does it many many times.

It is easy to get confused. Especially when wipe does not "wipe" and delete does not "delete".

But you are wise to be concerned about your data and giving away old computers, and more so to ask questions.


Thanks for your time. Also goes for the others who replied.
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