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I'm selling my laptop. Is formating it via recovery disk enough

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Number 18, Apr 10, 2010.

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  1. Number 18

    Number 18 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
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    Hello,


    I'm going to sell my laptop Toshiba satellite U300-111 Windows Vista Home Premium

    So will the recovery disk make it 100% new?
    Would the buyer ever retrieve any of my information, e-mail, pictures.....etc.?

    Thanks,
     
  2. mikecole79

    mikecole79

    Joined:
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    I would honestly suggest taking the drive out, connecting it to another computer, and doing a full format on the disc. Then, run something like CCleaner and have it wipe the 'freespace' on that drive. Then put it back in your laptop, and run the recovery disk to get it all back to factory specs. But I'm really anal about things. The honest truth is that MOST users don't have the capacity or mental abilities to get to the files that are still there after a factory reset (recovery disk) has been used. But there are people out there, like me, that not only have forensic recovery software and hardware, but actually know how to use it. If they're good people, they would probably wipe the drive themselves and reinstall everything to make sure if you were doing anything illegal, it's not on a hard drive that they now own. If they're bad people, they can try to retrieve the information.

    But how much easier would it be just to call random people, say you're with the red cross and are collecting to help earthquake victims, and ask for a $25 donation? Now you've got a credit card number, name, address, etc, because people are too stupid not to give out that information. I'm willing to be I could make 100 times as much over a month using that technique as pulling information from your old laptop.

    So in short, do whatever is easiest for you and make you feel secure. The truth is you could get information out of the computer after a recovery, but the time and effort make it not worth it for what you're going to get, and anyone that knows how to do it will know that as well.

    Mike
     
  3. Number 18

    Number 18 Thread Starter

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    How can I wipe it myself and reinstall everything?

    Or would slicing the motherboard and drive in half and throw them in the dumpster work?


    BTW I have already formatted my laptop a couple of times now, there's this picture I have that I would like to retrieve it, is it possible?

    Thanks
     
  4. mikecole79

    mikecole79

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    It's possible. Not probable. The amount of time it would take would be prohibitive. You would need to either purchase forensic software or hire someone to do it for you. It would take a while to go through everything and find the fragments of the file, assuming they were still there, and the odds of finding the whole file still intact, or just missing the metadata (easily replaced) are pretty slim. If I were asked to do something like that, I'd request payment up front, I might do it as cheap as $250 if I were bored and looking for something to keep me entertained for a while, and I would make it very plain up front that the odds of successfully finding enough bits to reconstruct even a decent portion of that picture are roughly the same as winning a decent amount in the lottery.

    I would suggest writing that picture off and moving on in life, because the alternative is going to be much worse. Sorry I can't offer more uplifting advice on that.

    Mike
     
  5. Jack Hackett

    Jack Hackett

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Here is one approach.

    Create a New user account and log into it.
    When in the new account delete your old user account and all personal files associated with it when prompted to do so.
    Delete any other personal files and data you have created elsewhere on the hard drive.
    Download and install Eraser, with it installed
    Right click on your C drive and select Erase Unused Space. Click on 'Options' button and highlight option 4 - Pseudorandom data, click on the EDIT button, change the number of passes to 3. OK
    Ensure all 3 overwrite options are ticked on main window.
    Click OK to begin secure wipe of free disk space

    Now... you can either leave things like this and give the machine away or go the extra mile and use the recovery disks to take it back to factory state, safe in the knowledge that any data has been securely wiped off.
     
  6. Number 18

    Number 18 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    @mikecole79
    It was received via msn messenger, so I know where it was exactly located. Wouldn't it make it easier?

    @Jack Hackett
    Thanks.
     
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