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I'm getting ready to sell my old laptop, I need to clean it off before I sell it. Any tips on cleaning it off? It is running XP, I have another machine (running vista) that I have reset to factory condition but I cant seem to do that with this machine. I have transferred/deleted the "my documents" folders and removed most programs (still has Office and Anti Virus on it). I do not have XP disc or I would just wipe it out and reload it. Any computer experts out there?
 

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If you have any files you really want to make sure no one can recover, you really should format the hard drive at least 2 times. As long as you don't have worry about old data, deleting all your old data and programs is OK.


Ron M.
 

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no discs? then a format is out of the question.
I hope you sell to someone you trust.
unless you can do a system recovery using the recovery partition...
 

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My question is why don't you have the discs? I'd suggest taking it to a computer place and having them do something about it for you. May cost you a little now, and may cut into your profit, but at least your personal stuff will still be secure.
 

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I wouldn't sell it without giving the hard drive a wipe using some real security software. Secure delete and some other software are available for free that will wipe the hard drive (completely remove data, not just the reference in the file system tables). Generally though, if I'm selling a PC I either don't sell it with a hard drive or buy a new one to put in it and let the customer worry about getting the CDs from the manufacturer to restore the OS. Most manufacturers will send you new restore CDs for 30 bucks or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I origanally bought it for my son to use for playing games but it doesnt have enough of a video card in it to run the games he wants to play. There was never anything personal loaded onto the machine itself. As far as the discs go I bought it used with no OS and I had I guy that worked for me load it up for me with a copy of XP he had.
 

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Make sure to delete the user account and replace it with a new, clean account. Use Defraggler (defraggler.com) to defrag it, which should cover up a fair amount of deleted data. Then use something to wipe the free space.
 

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Sounds like you already have a pirate version of XP going there...so you could just go that route again.
My suggestion is to download Ubuntu off the net, burn a disk, format the thing, and install Ubuntu on it. Fully functional computer, no security issues, and a used laptop is really worth less than a new MS OS anyway...
Or, if you MUST have Windows...get 7 next week, and install it.
Or do what Mason said, buy a cheap $50 HDD, and let the buyer do the OS...you could then make your old HDD into an external USB drive...win-win!
 

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Friendracy... LMAO
 

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Technically...most XP versions were two CPU licenses...so you "could" install each twice...and if the friend doesn't have that copy installed any more, technically, you could install it again...
But there are OEM and commercial versions that didn't have the 2 CPU thing, and there is all kinds of other stuff out there; and MS would make a lot of claims about most of it that may not match what they used to say...so I'm not saying pirate as a bad thing. Just as a general idea of how most of us do things. No condemnation intended. And part of why I started looking at Linux so hard...

And I like that friendracy word. Good stuff, Strangerous! :D
 

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Since you deleted the data you don't want them to have, all you need to do now is to overwrite the free space and slack space to ensure you files aren't recoverable. Formatting will not do this no matter how many times you format. Reinstalling windows won't do it either. Download BCwipe and have it sanitize the free and slack space. This will take a long time, but it will keep your data safe. BCwipe will do the standard DoD 7 wipe cycles.
 

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If your really worried about the hard drive, use the program DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) to clear the drive and then let the new user put the Op-Sys of their choice on it. DBAN clears and overwrites every sector on the hard drive with garbage data at least twice. Then you can reformat the drive and turn the laptop loose.

I've used DBAN a couple of times and have been very pleased with the program and it's results.
 

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A regular format doesn't wipe the disk, but a low level format will, as it writes 0's to the whole thing... which is what most of those utilities do.
High level format and then install another OS makes things pretty hard to recover as well. ;)
 
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