Need computer advice

UPDATED: Monday, November 26, 2007 02:40
VIEWED: 2560
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Sunday, November 25, 2007 6:17 AM


I know this is not Firefly related, but so many people here seem computer savvy so I figured I would ask. I am getting a new computer and want to donate/recycle my old one. Obviously, I want to clear out any personal info and stuff before I give it away. I have the original XP installation disc that came with it. Would formatting the hard drive and reinstalling XP do the trick? Should I get one of those programs that is designed for this like "Clean Sweep"? Should I go to a service center like the Geek Squad and have them do it? I would love to hear other people's opinions! Thanks!


Sunday, November 25, 2007 6:48 AM


Wanna eraser any data whether internet related, USB, Hard Drive, Pics, Documents, then use this prog which is very powerful, keygen is included in download...

If you wanna do it the Geek Squad way but without having to pay or even go to Best Buy then download the software they actually use(but nobobody is supposed to have) & do it yourself...

Knightfly on Xfire,
Want pics, vids, ringtones,ect releated to Serenity and Firefly...


Sunday, November 25, 2007 11:26 AM


When you format the computer, it just rewrites the file allocation table (it has varying names). That table holds addresses to the computers stored data, when you access a file the computer looks in the table to find where it is, then goes there and loads it.

So with a usual delete or format the data is still on the drive, it just has no entry in the table, so the computer can't find it. It's also no longer protected, the computer thinks that data slot is empty so can be written too. What this all means is that after a format, all the data is still there, on the disc, you just can't find it. There are, however programs that can retrieve this data, as long as it's not been written over.

If you use secure wipe software it overwrites the files first, then deletes the table entry, so the data is completely gone.

If you've got any really important secret data, it would be a good idea to secure wipe that data. But really, for most stuff it's way over the top. It's unlikely that anyone's going to go rooting around your disk for old data after they've bought your computer.

Beyond that, the only real way to be sure, is to remove your hard drive, run it though a big electro magnet, then incinerate it and grind it into powder. That's what we do at work.

More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.


Sunday, November 25, 2007 2:22 PM


A very good article on wiping a hard drive.

passoniatetly indifferent


Sunday, November 25, 2007 5:07 PM


Personally, I've never ever thrown out a hard drive. I dismantle it and then destroy the disks inside by first scratching, then smashing to bits and burning.

A bit over the top? Possibly. I've been accused of wearing a tinfoil hat before.

It's your personal information though. Why take the chance?

"A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned."


Sunday, November 25, 2007 5:36 PM



Originally posted by est120:
Should I go to a service center like the Geek Squad and have them do it?


Just do 2 or 3 full formats (not quick formats as they do what Cit said) and nobody can get anything without an electron microscope.


Monday, November 26, 2007 2:40 AM


There is at least one commercial firm that can recover data that has been written over up to 9 times.
I have it on good authority that with an electron microscope anything that has EVER been on a hard drive can be recovered. The only way to be SURE that the data is gone forever is to physically destroy the drive platters.
That said, unless you've got some seriously valuable information on your drive, it's just not worth the effort to recover. Even if Eve (as in evil) gets everything (bank/credit accounts, passwords, full identity theft) on you & your immediate family, it's unlikely to be worth enough to justify the expense (nothing personal, but unless you're insanely wealthy, it's true) if you've used pretty much any of the commercially available disk erase/overwrite software programs.

When you choose the software to use, make sure that it can overwrite free space as well as data space with random data. All Microsoft operating systems write temporary copies of your data out into free space on your hard drive (to speed up operation and allow you to have multiple applications running simultaneously).

There are also free downloads from most hard-drive manufacturers that will do a complete overwrite of the drive and return it to it's 'new from factory' state.

Best of luck!

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