Selling Laptop, how can I clean Windows first?

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by TheMozart, Jun 9, 2011.

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  1. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Selling my Laptop as is. What program can I run that completely deletes all Firefox and IE internet activity, including all websites visited, all pics from websites saved etc?
     
  2. cheater87

    cheater87 Registered Member

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    For browser activity get Ccleaner and put the cleaning setting to Guttman (35 passes).
     
  3. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Is that all I need to do? Run ccleaner?

    I run portableapps Firefox and other portableapps programs and I sometimes I use IE and Sandboxie.

    When I run Sandboxie, IE and portableapps Firefox etc, don't they save pictures of websites I have visited and saved copies of files I have saved somewhere inside Windows?

    What folders should I check and make sure are clean so the buyer of my Laptop cannot see what websites I have visited and what pictures from websites I have visited etc?
     
  4. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Guttman is overkill, takes a long time, and wears down your drive more. One pass is enough, nobody can recover them.

    As for your portable programs, they are portable for a reason. Everything is stored in their extracted folder.
     
  5. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    So are you saying that if I used ccleaner on 1 pass wipe that my windows will be 100% clean of all website history and internet activity history?

    No IE and Firefox images and websites are stored outside anywhere else? Ccleaner takes care of everything?
     
  6. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Yes, and yes. Make sure you scan for everything IE checked, and manually select your portable Firefox folder.

    The only real way to make sure is to wipe out the drive, and format a new partition table.
     
  7. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    But you said ccleaner will clean everything, but now you don't sound too sure by suggesting a complete WIPE of the WHOLE drive.

    So why don't you think ccleaner can wipe all internet and PC history? Are there things hidden elsewhere? Somewhere in index file or swap file or inside a folder somewhere?
     
  8. ichito

    ichito Registered Member

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    I think not only browsers and internet activity traces are important...it's only a part of yuor personal data that are quite simply to restore. In whole content of each disk one can find your files, than restore them...or/and maybe use?
    You should (IMO) erase "empty" part of each disk and maybe Eraser is a good way to do this?
    http://www.heidi.ie/eraser/
     
  9. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    @TheMozart: It should clean what you've asked for, but there may be other personal data on the drive.
     
  10. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    I am just asking about IE and Firefox. Where do they store URL address' websites visited, and pictures from websites visited and data/cookies etc from websites visited?
     
  11. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    If that's the only private data you want to remove, then CCleaner should be enough. Eraser will work for already deleted (but recoverable) browser data. Nevermind, actually CCleaner can do that as well under Drive Wiper.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  12. Scoobs72

    Scoobs72 Registered Member

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    Ccleaner is only going to erase what is in the cache now. Older data that exceeded the cache size would have been removed from the cache automatically (by IE or Firefox) and will reside elsewhere on your hard drive. The only way to get rid of this is to wipe the hard drive, e.g. DBAN Boot n Nuke. You'll then have to re-install Windows
     
  13. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Will reside elsewhere, where?:blink:
     
  14. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    In the free space. That's why ichito and I recommended it. Scoobs72 and my previous option is only needed if you have something private in your system not covered by CCleaner.
     
  15. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Well if that's the case, why can't I just wipe the FREE SPACE? Why is Scoobs72 suggesting I have to wipe the whole HDD and resintall windows?

    Am I missing something here?
     
  16. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    It's just his opinion.
     
  17. Scoobs72

    Scoobs72 Registered Member

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    Wiping the whole drive is the only way to be certain imo. How can you be certain that data you want wiped is not held in tmp files somewhere or held by System Restore? Wiping free space doesn't guarantee it, only wiping the drive does. Just my opinion, it's your choice at the end of the day.
     
  18. PJC

    PJC Very Frequent Poster

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    +1. :thumb:
     
  19. Spysnake

    Spysnake Registered Member

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    Yep, I too agree with wiping the whole drive. I never sell my computers with my own OS installation - either the HD is full of zeroes, or I install Windows after I have wiped the drive clean.

    This of course could pose problems with your system, if only way to restore the "factory settings" on your laptop would be by loading the files from a hidden partition on your HD.
     
  20. TheMozart

    TheMozart Former Poster

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    Doesn't there exist any cleaning programs which help the user complete CLEAN the Windows and hard drive and clean out the "tmp files EVERYWHERE and ALL private dats held by System Restore"?:blink:
     
  21. ichito

    ichito Registered Member

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    I think there isn't such a perfect cleaner...you should simply use several different programs (3-4) one after another. Would be a good way to use portable version (on USB drive) of CCleaner
    http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/builds
    Glary Utilities
    http://www.glarysoft.com/products/utilities/glary-utilities/builds/
    and Online Solutions Privacy Cleaner
    http://www.online-solutions.ru/en/products/utilities/ospc-privacy-cleaner.html
    System Restore?...disable it? :)
    At the end - Eraser to wipe free unused disk space.
     
  22. hugsy

    hugsy Registered Member

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    The best way would be to download dban and wipe entire drive (1 pass is enough), you will get clean drive with no OS on it.
    If you want to sell laptop with OS, you should wipe the drive with dban and reinstall the OS, this way you will get clean OS on a clean drive.
    IF you don't want to do all this work, the closest way to a clean OS would be: disable "system restore", use ccleaner to clean everything, wipe free space (also with ccleaner), this method will work against 99% of all noisy people.
     
  23. act8192

    act8192 Registered Member

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    Safest procedure other than Dban: Remove the drive. Use it as a source to import important data into your next laptop.
     
  24. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    @ TheMozart

    Here's another excellent cleaner for you http://bleachbit.sourceforge.net

    Others have suggested turning off System Restore, then turning it back on, which deletes ALL SR points, i agree :thumb:

    Also i would, & have, disabled my Swap/Page file, as data etc can be recovered from there.

    Scrap files can hold hidden data etc, i would, & have, disabled shscrap.dll by renaming it

    http://www.pc-help.org/security/scrap.htm

    Look for deleted data on the slack space of a disk http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=videos/slack1

    Karen's Disk Slack Checker http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptslack.asp

    Fragmentation https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Fragmentation_(computer)

    Eraser Cluster Tip Area and Alternate Data Streams https://security.ngoinabox.org/en/eraser_options

    After you've cleaned out all you can find & deleted Every personal file/folder, use this to see what's been left behind, and/or remnants of cleaned/deleted stuff, Directory Snoop http://www.briggsoft.com/index.html

    You "might" be surprised what you discover. If you do, you can delete whatever you find.

    After you've done ALL that, it'd be Very interesting to hear if you still find Anything, & if so what ? Just general details, like for eg, images/urls/docs/etc and/or if file names of them remain :thumb:
     
  25. redcell

    redcell Registered Member

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    I used to work in an international bank environment. At the most, they wiped clean the entire hard disk just with Killdisk DoD 7 passes and then re-applied image for redeployment.

    If I'm going to sell my laptop, I'll remove the hard disk and replace it with new one ( fresh install OS, drivers). So I don't have to worry about forensics trying to scrub out my sensitive data.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
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