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clean laptop for disposal

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nichos, Nov 18, 2019.

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  1. nichos

    nichos Thread Starter

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    Hi,
    how to clean up Asus notebook for disposal to charity, it has NO HD, only Solid State memory.

    I want to remove everything, mail account, emails, letters, names, contacts, photos & generally all except W10.
     
  2. britekguy

    britekguy

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    Here's my technique:

    1. Create new local account with admin privileges that you will supply the login credentials for to whomever the machine is being passed on when that time comes.

    2. Use that account to remove all existing accounts from the machine, and do not save their user data content to the desktop, as that's what you're trying to scrub. I would also presume you've backed it up or already transferred it elsewhere by that point.

    3. Install the drive wiping/scrambling software of your choice. Options include, but are not limited to, CCleaner and BleachBit. Run the drive wiper with a 3-pass option, making sure to include free space in the wipe, and allow it to finish, which can take a substantial amount of time on large HDDs (but should be much faster on SSDs).

    4. If you want to be really anal-retentive, at this point do a completely clean install of Windows 10, so that the new user would have to begin creating their user accounts from scratch. I personally find this overkill, but some like to do it. The "empty" local admin account contains nothing private since it was created fresh and no user data that I'd be concerned about has ever existed in it. If you go the clean reinstall method you will have nothing to pass on as far as a password goes.

    NOTE WELL: Even if you intend to do a reinstall of Windows 10, you MUST do the drive wiping using a "junk account" with admin privileges you created beforehand. Reinstalling Windows 10 does not wipe a drive, it just marks all space not used by Windows 10 as available for use. The old data still resides there and can be extracted using recovery software such as TestDisk. Wiping the drive is the really pivotal step.

    You're as clean as you're ever going to need to be unless the thing were to fall into the hands of the NSA or similar, which is not likely.
     
  3. Couriant

    Couriant Trusted Advisor

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    First Name:
    James
  4. britekguy

    britekguy

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    No. Clean installs, whether from factory restore partitions or other media, do not wipe (literally) the drive on the system. Note that article's own proviso:
    Even if the factory restore repartitons the drive, it doesn't wipe it. File recovery software such as TestDisk or paid tools can and do read old, deleted partition tables and also try to reconstruct files every time they find a block that's marked free for re-use that also contains the starting block for a (now deleted, regardless of method) file and following the block chain. If they can get to the end of the chain, they can reconstruct the file.

    The only time a drive is clean is when it comes from the factory that made it. Once it's been initialized and written to the space used is never erased/wiped, the blocks simply get marked as free when a file or folder is deleted (or removed via repartitioning, etc.) but the data is still there.

    That's the reason that file recovery software can and does work on damaged drives that still spin and can be read block by block or where someone's accidentally wiped the partition table.

    The only way one can ensure that data is gone, or actually made unusable by sufficiently scrambling it (which is what most drive wipers actually do), is by running a wiper utility on every bit of free space on a drive. It's that, or literally physically destroy the drive or put it through a degausser, which also renders it unusable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  5. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    ^This is correct.

    When I worked as a government contractor, there were specific procedures we had to do to sanitize storage media. There was a tool we used which depending on how deep we wanted to wipe to be would write random bits to each of the disk sectors of spinning hard drives which conformed to MIL SPEC standards. I'd imagine there is an updated version to address the cells in the flash memory of non volatile solid state storage.

    There were some storage media where the data was so sensitive that the drive would require physical destruction to be deemed sanitized. It was wild throwing spinning disk hard drives into large de-gaussers and hearing the big pop when the de-gausser finished with them. Even after this, the left overs were still required to be shredded/crushed.
     
  6. nichos

    nichos Thread Starter

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    This is a continuation reply to the previous post, sorry I could not reply there, this forum became difficult for that.

    BRIDEGUY, thank you for the info. Sorry there was no way to reply there. As an utter idiot to these things I can not understand the meanings of 1 & 2 below please explain to me in plain language how to do it? I only have one email account with GMail.

    I had ago on a [email protected] CCleaner FREE" & cleaned whatever could be cleaned. The Laptop still works. IE asks for the Password, File Explorer works also. Saved all "Documents" externally.

    Also tried "EaseUS Partition Master Trial". It says for partition "0" wipe data or delete all which one would be the catastrophic one? I want to give it to charity in working order.

    Will all these prevent people in the charity to see my personal data? …..thanx ….nick

    "Here's my technique:
    1. Create new local account with admin privileges that you will supply the login credentials for to whomever the machine is being passed on when that time comes.
    2. Use that account to remove all existing accounts from the machine, and do not save their user data content to the desktop, as that's what you're trying to scrub. I would also presume you've backed it up or already transferred it elsewhere by that point."
     

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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  7. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    Nichos,

    I've merged the new thread with the previous one. Please do not start more than one thread for the same issue. I understand you said you had trouble but in that case kindly use the "contact us" email link for assistance. I don't see a reason why you couldn't reply to the existing thread by just typing in the reply box and then clicking on "Post Reply" unless the reply box wasn't showing for some reason.
     
  8. nichos

    nichos Thread Starter

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    DSC_0071[1].JPG
    This is what I get. Teck support was not like this before. Something is wrong.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2019
  9. nichos

    nichos Thread Starter

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    and this, from the top of all the post to the bottom.
     

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  10. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    Is that the Edge browser? Have you tried another browser to see if you have the same display issue?
     
  11. nichos

    nichos Thread Starter

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    I use IE11(w10) & with same result.

    IE11 & Firefox makes no difference.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  12. britekguy

    britekguy

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    I would not use Internet Explorer under any circumstances these days. With regard to weird issues displaying any website in a browser, my general recommendation is that one clear browser cache. Browser cache corruption can cause any one of many really weird issues. How it's done varies by browser, and a web search on the browser name along with "clear cache" will turn up hundreds of step-by-step instruction sets for any browser you can name for clearing cache.

    As far as the original question, I learned something new that will likely make this easier if you are willing to follow the directions in the pinned topic, Doing a Completely Clean Reinstall of Windows 10, almost to the letter. I have recently learned that in addition to the clean command within diskpart, which only clears all existing partitions but not their data as well, there is the clean all command, which literally wipes/erases the data from the drive as well. One would follow the instructions in the above noted topic but substitute clean all for clean in the section where I give the sequence of diskpart commands. Be aware that a clean all can potentially take hours and hours to complete, depending on the size of the drive.

    For those interested in more details regarding diskpart and the clean all command under it, see:

    How to Erase a Disk using Diskpart Clean Command in Windows 10

    How to "Clean" or "Clean All" a Disk with the Diskpart Command and this article notes,
    How to Diskpart Erase/Clean a Drive Through the Command Prompt (this article only discusses the clean command, so it is inaccurate in the sense that the clean command does not erase, only clean all erases, but it gives very important warnings about making sure that you have chosen the correct disk before issuing the commands)

    If you follow the instructions for Doing a Completely Clean Reinstall of Windows 10, substituting clean all for clean, then when the system boots up it will be at the stage where the first user account would need to be created under Windows 10. One can pass it on in that state, allowing the next owner to do the initial account setup and other configuration.

    I cannot be any more explicit than I am in that instruction set. It gives every step necessary from beginning to end, including a warning about what will happen if you don't go back and be sure to alter the boot order back to normal after doing the completely clean install.
     
  13. Cookiegal

    Cookiegal Administrator Malware Specialist Coordinator

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    I was going to recommend clearing the browser cache.
     
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