harddrive

paleblueNovember 28, 2013

what's the best way to get rid of it and best way to
remove my personal information. thanks

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emma

When I give away or sell a PC I reformat it. I know people say that is still not safe, but unless you are a criminal and the FBI or any of the other agencies are after you, no one who knows how to get this info will waste their time on our computers. I don't put personal info on mine except for an occasional purchase with my CC, but every place we shop has that info. If you are replacing your HD and are worried, remove it and take a hammer to it.

Back up the stuff you want to save.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 12:37PM
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owbist

Re-install Windows and when asked if you wish to format the drive first agree, this will do a complete format wiping everything then start the install process.

Are you giving the computer away or dumping it? I assume is is XP so depending on when you bought it you may have it with service pack 1, 2 or 3. If less than 3 you'll need to install that after activation then another 135 plus updates.

If you are dumping then simply install any version of Linux, Here is a short tutorial on how to do that.

If scrapping you could of course remove the hard drive and attack it with a hammer.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 2:20PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

My understanding is:

-Both reformatting a drive or re-installing windows leaves recoverable remnants on the drive.

-There are many free programs that will read such remnants. Anyone looking to do so is well aware of the tools easily available.

-Similarly, installing linux doesn't remove data remnants.

There are programs that will make data unrecoverable from a drive. They're easily found with by googling for a drive erase or wipe. What they do is reiteratively write meaningless data bits into every sector of the drive. I think the DOD standard is at least 7 rewerites, but some use even more. Needless to say, it takes many hours.

If you're giving your PC to someone else to use, it's easy enough to clear off the drive with these tools. Otherwise, dunk the whole thing in a big bucket of dirty water for a few days and you should be good to go. Unplug it and remove the battery first !

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 3:18PM
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kudzu9

I agree with snidely about using a free program to overwrite the drive. I remember a study I saw a couple of years ago that showed the majority of donated computers had personal/financial data on them that was easily recoverable with a simple, free program that you didn't need to be a genius to use.

Since new hard drives are so cheap, my approach has been to physically remove the drive and literally smash it up with a sledge hammer. If the computer you're giving a way has any decent value to it, someone should be willing to spend $50 for a new drive.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 4:20PM
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emma

kudzu what would someone do with the personal financial info if they had it? I have heard all of the warnings but don't know how they could use it.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 4:49PM
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kudzu9

Emma -
If you have ever done anything online with banking or credit card transactions, there could conceivably be identifiable info such as user IDs, passwords, credit card and account numbers, etc., that could be used to hack into your accounts or allow you to become a victim of identity theft.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 5:41PM
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emma

They couldn't get any of my money even if they hacked my accounts. I can't even do anything online with my money except move it from one account to another and my name has to be on both accounts and I don't do online banking any way or pay my bills online. Identity thief is possible, but the odds are low for that. My new credit can't be scanned by someone walking by me. That must be a serious threat because my husband's credit union issued new cards that can't be scanned by hand held electronics. The CU has called me twice asking if it was my signature on one of my checks and to verify a purchase of two games. I noticed on my home owners policy there is protection and help with ID theft.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 8:08PM
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DA_Mccoy

After my system recently died I pulled the HD, put it in a vise, and beat it with a two pound hand sledge hammer. Archaic? Yes. Barbaric? Yes. Did it get the job done? Definitely.

DA

    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 8:39PM
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kudzu9

Emma-
I think you are low risk, but you might be surprised with what I could do once I got inside your banking account.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 1:42AM
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clk4suport

HI,
i think you have low disk space.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 3:29AM
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DA_Mccoy

Emma,

Your insurance protection is minimal and a throw-in. It has its limitation.

I'm not brilliant enough, but I have professional co-workers who could, speaking in general, using the posts here alone, back track to your IP address, obtain your stored activity off the ISP servers, and monitor all your future traffic. From there the sky's the limit.

Try this example, I obtain all your savings account information and use the account as collateral for creating a fraudulent loan. I take the product with the lien on it and fail to pay. Your savings account is subsequently attached and seized for failure to pay. No money has ever changed hands.

No one should walk around claiming the sky is falling. However, continuous practice in security is vital.

DA

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 8:02AM
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emma

I am cautious, just not obsessive and there is no protection in worrying about it. I have said nothing to make you think I am not cautious. My banking information not on my PC....is yours?

This post was edited by EmmaR on Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 9:11

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 9:09AM
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DA_Mccoy

Emma,

My comments were only directed to you as you were the other side of the conversation. Nothing aggressive.

My example is an actual occurrence the the gleaning of the information was somewhat different.

I have plenty of banking and investment information on my system. However, I use no institution names, nor do I have the correct account numbers recorded. I also use cryptic passwords for their sites.

This post was edited by damccoy on Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 14:47

    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 2:36PM
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SnidelyWhiplash

" I obtain all your savings account information and use the account as collateral for creating a fraudulent loan. I take the product with the lien on it and fail to pay. Your savings account is subsequently attached and seized for failure to pay. "

The key word used is fraudulent. A third party's fraudulent and unauthorized use of someone else's account as collateral should lead to no loss for the legit owner. This account can't legally be forfeited. Similarly, you're not at risk to lose your home if someone uses your address to secure a real estate loan. I believe in both cases, the lender is left holding the bag if the fraudulent borrower walks, because they have no enforceable lien or security interest.

Might it cause inconvenience before things are straightened out? Sure.

If I'm wrong, someone will tell me, I'm always happen to learn something new.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:28AM
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DA_Mccoy

You are not wrong as you state the obvious. However, remediation is not done on or by one's good word.

It would be a major inconvenience, a draining emotional experience, a negative cash flow as without question counsel would have to be retained, and likely a defense in a civil process with the burden of proof being on you the victim. There might not be a trial, but the matter would assuredly go to summary disposition where a trier of fact would rule on the evidence in the light most favorable to the moving party.

Remember it would not be a criminal process beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather a civil process with the preponderance of evidence being ever so slight.

The actual keywords, are knowledge and liability.

DA

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 8:08AM
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burnchar

Quick notes:

- Everything snidely said is right-on. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if my skills are needed on this forum because of his/her posts.

- You can also completely fill the drive up with useless files. This will make the previous contents permanently unrecoverable, as will a wiping program.

- It's usually not a big risk. The chances that someone will actually try to recover personal data, and succeed, and use it, are slim. It just depends on your level of caution and how much you value your time.

I suggest just using a drive wipe tool because they tend to be mostly automatic so take little time and eliminate all risk. Some offer special "DOD approved" wiping options which take a long time. Don't bother. A single wipe will make data permanently unrecoverable, despite what sitcoms claim.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 1:26AM
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mikie_gw

A single wipe will make data permanently unrecoverable.

recover from a single overwrite is not a big deal.. the big deal to me might be what to search for from the recovered data. .. if im a credit card thief, I assume one would know what he or she wanted.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 7:20AM
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jane__ny

A bit unnerving.

We have 4 XP computers we were planning to donate to Salvation Army. All machines work perfectly. I have the original disks and thought reinstalling would clean the drive.

Maybe not...

Jane

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 11:01AM
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llaatt22

There is a free program called Active Killdisk and a pay version to triplicate its actions to meet the very highest security levels.
The procedure can be days long for each unit getting erased but your gift to the SA will arrive at their place containing exactly what you want them to receive. That will be in addition to its fresh from the factory type restore.
After reading this review, you could Goggle Search "Active Killdisk" and enter their site directly. Can't be too careful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Active Killdisk review

This post was edited by laat2 on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 21:26

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 9:14PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Simply reinstalling the operating system is not sufficient, nor is a format.

Davik's Boot and Nuke will do the job unless maybe you've done something to tick off the NSA. Just make sure you point it to the correct drive, because you aren't getting anything back.

Beyond that, physical destruction is the only sure method.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 1:10AM
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Richard (chuggerguy)

I've used the 35 pass Gutmann overwrite method in the past.

However, a little searching and reading makes me question whether or not it was all a waste of time.

Is one pass overwrite enough

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive multiple times better than just doing it once?

The Urban Legend of Multipass Hard Disk Overwrite

From Gutmann himself?

Can someone link me to a study where data was recovered from a modern hard drive after a single overwrite with random data? I'm not saying none exist, just that I'm having trouble finding one.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 5:14AM
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burnchar

chuggerguy: I mentioned earlier in this thread: There is no such study.

Please keep in mind:

ONE WIPE OR OVERWRITE MAKES ALL DATA PERMANENTLY UNRECOVERABLE, EVEN TO THE NSA, CIA, DoD, and Botswana Meat Industry Workers' Union.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:06AM
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