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Windows 10 Reset, HD clean?


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If I do a Windows 10 reset, erasing everything, is it safe to sell my PC?

Do I need to use other software to wipe my HD.

Or is the Windows reset format sufficient to remove all files and thus keep my information (multi million dollar off shore accounts, mistresses etc.) safe.

 

thanks

 

Edited by toast1
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reset only deletes and reinstall windows, if you are worried about any data they could recover (and they technically could) then you would have to use something else to wipe it.

 

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There is a program named 'bcwipe' by Jetico - this will solve your problem.

 

Only a single overwrite is required and that can be done in the free version.

 

What it does is fill up the entire hard drive overwriting everything that may have been there before.

 

There are other things it can do like cleaning the empty space (remnants if you will) at the end of each file and directory but allocated to the file, these parts would be missed by something that merely fills up the drive.

 

bcwipe by Jetico.

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Thanks for the suggestions, I'll download bcwipe.

 

But are you sure its necessary, I heard that when you delete everything and reinstall, it does get rid of everything if you chose to remove everything.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, toast1 said:

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll download bcwipe.

 

But are you sure its necessary, I heard that when you delete everything and reinstall, it does get rid of everything if you chose to remove everything.

 

Does it matter, running this will take a few hours then it's done. If you want to be sure then you're going to need to image your hard drive and scan it to see what kind of files can be recovered - exactly what the people who go looking for data do.

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Its just more work, and to reinstall Win10 is more work, that's all.

But if its necessary, then it must be done!

 

How do you image a hard drive and scan it?

 

Thanks

 

Edited by toast1
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It is NEVER 100% safe to pass on a hard drive (HDD or SSD) that has ever had personal information on it. These wiping programs still do not remove all traces of everything. @Bruno123 had the right answer.

 

Or just simply sell the PC without a hard drive

Or, buy the cheapest hard drive you can, bung Windows on it as a new installation and keep your old drive.

 

I bought 2 second user PCs recently from Amazon's "Renewed Store". Despite them arriving "ready to run" I still trashed the hard drives and rebuilt Windows on them - with SSDs it takes about an hour but my particular setup requirements take about a day per PC (obviously I did them "in parallel" to save time.

 

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You can use

 

https://privazer.com/en/

 

to securely erase the private data then erase the free space. You can then do a Win 10 reset if it makes you feel better and wipe free space again. Note that it will handle SSDs. Paranoia notwithstanding, this will be more than sufficient. (A similar program is BleachBit, which worked well for Hillary Clinton.)

 

Re: SSDs, if you want to go thru a new install, you can use your SSD vendor's software to enable a secure erase. https://www.wepc.com/how-to/securely-erase-an-ssd-drive/.

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Some interesting "Cleaning" tools mentioned, but looking closely some of them only wipe files that you want to delete, not wipe a whole disk :sad:

 

https://www.killdisk.com/eraser.html  -  Will destroy all data on a disk including any partitions or left over fragments of partitions and overwrite with military grade code, making it virtually impossible for any possibility to recover any data.

 

It's what I use :thumbsup:

 

 

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3 hours ago, Daffy D said:

Some interesting "Cleaning" tools mentioned, but looking closely some of them only wipe files that you want to delete, not wipe a whole disk :sad:

 

https://www.killdisk.com/eraser.html  -  Will destroy all data on a disk including any partitions or left over fragments of partitions and overwrite with military grade code, making it virtually impossible for any possibility to recover any data.

 

It's what I use :thumbsup:

 

 

But as you say...virtually impossible....not totally impossible. Having worked with military IT I can tell you that given enough time and effort, some data could still be recovered - especially off an older HDD....not so much from newer SSDs.

 

Of corser the likelihood of your old drive falling into those sort of hands is minimal.

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39 minutes ago, VBF said:

But as you say...virtually impossible....not totally impossible. Having worked with military IT I can tell you that given enough time and effort, some data could still be recovered - especially off an older HDD....not so much from newer SSDs.

 

Of corser the likelihood of your old drive falling into those sort of hands is minimal.

Of course given enough time and resources it would probably be possible to recover data, but as you say who would bother with the data from a personal computer.

 

To be 100% sure of deleting data from a drive it would have to be totally destroyed and ground into dust.

 

For the average person to clean a drive the "[email protected] KillDisk" program is about as good as one can get.

  

 

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18 minutes ago, Daffy D said:

Of course given enough time and resources it would probably be possible to recover data, but as you say who would bother with the data from a personal computer.

 

To be 100% sure of deleting data from a drive it would have to be totally destroyed and ground into dust.

 

For the average person to clean a drive the "[email protected] KillDisk" program is about as good as one can get.  

 

Probably - when I remove a drive from one of my computers, it either gets reused in another of MY computers, or, as you imply physically destroyed - platters ripped out and broken into several pieces, then scattered.

 

Bit like my home WiFi - the only machines that can connect to it are those whose MAC addresses are registered and have the multi, multi-character passcode (not even saying how many!)

I'm not paranoid....but the buggers ARE out to get us!! 🤪

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3 hours ago, Daffy D said:

Some interesting "Cleaning" tools mentioned, but looking closely some of them only wipe files that you want to delete, not wipe a whole disk :sad:

 

https://www.killdisk.com/eraser.html  -  Will destroy all data on a disk including any partitions or left over fragments of partitions and overwrite with military grade code, making it virtually impossible for any possibility to recover any data.

 

It's what I use :thumbsup:

 

 

Possibility, of course. Bestcrypt, mentioned above (BCWipe), offers BCWipe Total WipeOut to do that. Darik’s Boot and Nuke, DBAN* is the classic disk wiper. Depends on whether OP thinks that he and his data are SO important that his disk might be forensically examined at a government lab.

 

So, to raise the paranoia level a notch further, better than Killdisk or DBAN is physically destroying the disk. Yeah, take it apart and use a hammer. Microwaving not recommended. Also worked for Hillary Clinton; them emails is GONE.

 

But if privacy is so important for OP's data, then why didn't he encrypt the entire disk in the first place? 'Course, Ross William Ulbricht, a.k.a. "Dread Pirate Roberts," of Silk Road did so yet was caught logged into his laptop while working in a library.

 

So the OP probably just wants to remove traces of his porn collection and torrent files. So, yeah, delete the files, securely delete all private info that may relate to them (via extensive analysis by Privazer or BleachBit), then securely overwrite all the free space now remaining (only some which was ever used), and that'll do.

 

If he intends to do a fresh install, as would be expected in the business market, then might as well do a complete disk wipe. Otherwise, further deleting Windows system files then overwriting the space once occupied those system files then putting them back in different locations is really just a waste of time. But it may feel comforting, and after all that's worth something, too.🙂

 

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>So the OP probably just wants to remove traces of his porn collection and torrent files
Perhaps you are talking about yourself here.

 

I only download pictures of puppies and cup cakes.

 

 

I thank the various people for their suggestions, most helpful.

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7 minutes ago, toast1 said:

Is there a difference between a short and long format for security?

That depends on the operating system but I would err on the side of caution these days and assume 'No'....

 

Traditionally (years ago) a long format would scan the disk for bad sectors which is why it took so long, it wasn't zeroing out the drive (wiping it), however this changed several times over the years, apparently some versions did zero out the entire drive and others didn't so it can't be relied upon at all in any way. I have no idea what the current version of each OS does - assume it overwrites nothing.

Edited by ukrules
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18 hours ago, toast1 said:

hat if I format them, does that remove all info?

Is there a difference between a short and long format for security?

Short format just removes the file title so the disk appears empty.

 

Long format deletes the whole file so the disk appears emptier, but data is still easily recoverable.

 

Many of the "Recovery" programs will say files still recoverable after format, and that is with programs readily available to Joe Public, so just think what a dedicated professional team can recover.

 

To  make data almost impossible to be recovered the data has to be overwritten several times.

The program  "[email protected] KillDisk" gives the option to overwrite data up to 10 times, so the more overwrites the better.

 

As someone already mentioned unless there is some reason to keep the disk it's easier to just destroy than to try make it's data unrecoverable.

 

 

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Great info, thanks

I've got quite a few memory devices lying around, will [email protected] KillDisk them.

 

But one more thing - if I [email protected] KillDisk my old PC, then try to install Win10, will this be difficult? 
I assume I'd have to use software to find the Win10 key, then install Win10 again from an external USB memory, then enter the key.


Is that right?

 

I guess I can create an external restore USB drive before deleting the hard drive.

 

Edited by toast1
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[email protected] KillDisk  will clean everything leaving a the disk like when you got it from the shop.

 

You will need to save the Windows key, if you have one if you want to reinstall Windows again.

 

Depending on your set up sometimes the cleaned drive will not show up until you activate it in Disk Management.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Daffy D said:

[email protected] KillDisk  will clean everything leaving a the disk like when you got it from the shop.

 

You will need to save the Windows key, if you have one if you want to reinstall Windows again.

 

Depending on your set up sometimes the cleaned drive will not show up until you activate it in Disk Management.

 

 

 

 

Quote

You will need to save the Windows key, if you have one if you want to reinstall Windows again.

 

 

Of course, you don't.

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I read this topic with interest, but, ( there is always a "but" !! ), I am a dinosaur with computers, so can some kind soul answer my question, which is, If I use the killdisk program or similar on my laptop does it erase the operating system, and if so how do I get it back as I do not have any product keys.? I am using Windows 10 which was installed when I purchased the machine.

Thank you in advance for your patience,

 

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OK! instead of doing a clean install where you have to reinstall everything, the operating system (Windows) and all your programs and settings - long job, just do a full back-up before wiping the disk.

 

If you already have a backup program be sure to make a backup just before you wipe the disk to save the latest work. Also make sure you have a back up recovery disk or flash drive so you can reinstall your system back to what it was.

 

If you don't already have a backup I would suggest "Macrium Reflect Free". 

 

Make a full backup on a separate disk or CD, be sure to select the "Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows" option.

 

 Also you will need to "create a media recovery" CD or flash drive. This will enable you to reinstall everything back onto the cleaned disk. 

 

To reinstall everything back you will need to Boot! from the "Recovery' CD or flash drive and just follow the instructions.

 

Good Luck  :thumbsup:

 

 

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8 hours ago, AhFarangJa said:

I read this topic with interest, but, ( there is always a "but" !! ), I am a dinosaur with computers, so can some kind soul answer my question, which is, If I use the killdisk program or similar on my laptop does it erase the operating system, and if so how do I get it back as I do not have any product keys.? I am using Windows 10 which was installed when I purchased the machine.

Thank you in advance for your patience,

 

 

You don't use KillDisk if the drive is staying in your own PC. 

 

But in answer to your question, you don't need a product key. The new Windows 10 installation will connect to the Microsoft servers once you go online and confirm that it was installed to your machine before. 

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Thanks for the info Daffy.

Can I've never made a copy of the HD before, looks interesting.


Could I just make a Recovery drive, and then install Win10 from that, after deleting everything on the HD?

Thanks

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13 hours ago, toast1 said:

Can I've never made a copy of the HD before, looks interesting.


Could I just make a Recovery drive, and then install Win10 from that, after deleting everything on the HD?

You're not making a copy, you're making a Backup. A copy of the HDD is just that, a copy of the whole drive, a backup is a "copy" of just your system, all the files and programs you have installed and the system (Win10 in your case) for the whole thing to work.

 

You first have to make a Backup of your System (Drive "C") onto another drive or CD otherwise you won't have anything to restore.  

 

The Recovery drive does not have much on it, it will not restore your files. It is just to tell the computer where the Backup is and where to Restore it to.

 

If you make a Backup with Macrium Reflect, or any Backup program, you are not deleting anything, you still have everything but now 2 copies of it.

 

Possibly be easier for you to buy another new Drive and and copy your Backup onto that. You can then swop the new drive, with the now Backup on it, with your original Drive "C" and that way you will be sure that it all works, and you still have the original drive to swop back if there should be a problem.

 

A 250 Gb drive should be enough for your needs as a new system drive. A SSD (Solid State Drive) will be better for speed.  

 

If everything is working with the new drive you can then zap the OLD drive with [email protected] KillDisk and use it for extra storage and regular Backup copies. 

 

Yes you can use [email protected] KillDisk on external memory sticks.

 

 

 

Edited by Daffy D
Drive confusion :(
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