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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Clean up PC before giving away

    Hi

    I'm going to give my old PC to the Sallies and want to identify and delete all personal files first. Is there a resource somewhere that tells me all the nooks and crannies to look in (recycle bin, etc)? Better still, is there an automated way of doing it?

    PS: Windows 98, Office 2000, plus bits and pieces.

    Thanks
    Dale

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Clean up PC before giving away

    Dale,
    If you still have the OS CD for 98 and Office 2000, then the BEST way is to reformat your HD(s) to get them clean.
    Then, if you are giving away the Win98 OS and Office 2000 CDs with the hardware, reinstall the basic OS and give them the CDs also. ( or just give them the bare HD and let them install what they want.)
    BOB
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  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Clean up PC before giving away

    I agree with Bob. It's far easier (and safer) to format and start clean with new installations. There are ultra-secure ways that you can "low level" format hard drives OR software you can buy to "secure delete" but for most people that's overkill. I'd say format and re-install - or let the donee do the re-installation himself.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Re: Clean up PC before giving away

    (Edited by HansV to make URL clickable - see <!help=19>Help 19<!/help>)

    The level of cleanup you would want to do really depends on what information you have on your computer that you don't want anyone else to see.
    Do you have any confidential financial information? Downloaded anything that you don't want anyone to know about? Just like the idea of privacy?

    If you don't mind if anyone sees what's on your computer then do the following:
    - Delete all of your documents. Look in the My Documents folder as well as any other places where you may have saved files.
    - Look in Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs and uninstall any programs that are cluttered there and you don't have a CD for (this is more for general clean-up rather than privacy)
    - Delete all of the items in the Favorites folder. For Windows 98, I believe the default location is c:windowsfavorites
    - Delete all files from c:temp and c:windowstemp
    - Delete all temporary internet files. For Internet Explorer, click on Tools > Internet Options > Delete Files and Delete Cookies. If you are using an older version of IE then you might have to click on the Settings button first.
    - Defragment the hard drive (both for general clean-up and privacy as the deleted files might be overwritten during the process)
    Just be aware that someone could run an undelete utility on your hard drive and get your deleted info. Probably, no one will attempt it, but it is your choice.

    The second option, already mentioned here, is to reformat the drive and reinstall the operating system. This will overwrite some of the data, but some will be left. Just how much is hard to tell as it depends on a lot of variables that you won't really care about.

    The third option, for more complete privacy, is to use a wipe utility. There are several options here; there are some that overwrite the free space on your drive a couple of times (this gets rid of all of the items that you have deleted) and there are some that overwrite everything. By all means though, if you chose to use a utility, use a free one as they work just as well and they are, well, free. Several good ones are:
    "Hard Disk Scrub"- http://www.summitcn.com/download.html
    "Active@ Kill Disk"- http://killdisk.com/

    The fourth option is to smash everything up with an ax and then burn the computer. Very secure, but hard to donate afterwards.

    So, make your decision based on what level of privacy you need.

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