Help in cleaning a loaned laptop

mrbillcliff

New Member
Hi all,

I am part of a large group of students who were lent a laptop for a year as part of their course. Now the time has come to return them.

Many of us are concerned that personal data, such as banking details, usernames, personal photos etc will end up in the hands of the IT department or the next users.

I thought we could run something like DBAN, but the laptops have to be handed in almost straight after our final presentations (for which laptops needed!) and DBAN takes hours to wipe a 40Gb disk.

Would somebody clever please let me know how we can erase all our stuff quickly and (reasonably) securely.

Thanks
 

Kythe

Member
mrbillcliff said:
Hi all,

I am part of a large group of students who were lent a laptop for a year as part of their course. Now the time has come to return them.

Many of us are concerned that personal data, such as banking details, usernames, personal photos etc will end up in the hands of the IT department or the next users.

I thought we could run something like DBAN, but the laptops have to be handed in almost straight after our final presentations (for which laptops needed!) and DBAN takes hours to wipe a 40Gb disk.

Would somebody clever please let me know how we can erase all our stuff quickly and (reasonably) securely.

Thanks
Hi,
You're absolutely right to be concerned about this sort of thing. Here are a couple of suggestions.

1) DBAN--I recently ran DBAN to wipe a 30 GB hard drive. It's true that running it with the 7-pass DoD-grade wipe option can take hours. But for all practical purposes, running a single-pass wipe will erase the hard drive completely, unless someone is going to take a microscope to the drive (unlikely in this case, right?). And that would probably run about a half hour to 45 minutes.

2) If you have to turn the laptops in more-or-less intact condition (without wiped drives), what you'd need to do would depend upon a) what operating system is on the computer (XP, 2000, etc.) and whether or not you have administrative priviledges. Using a combination of programs like Spybot S&D, the Windows Explorer search function and Eraser to clear the freespace on the hard drive, you can get rid of much of any personal data left on the drive. Do you know how to use these?
 

mrbillcliff

New Member
Thanks for the prompt reply.

I hadn't realised we could get DBAN through in less than an hour, which might mean its the best option.

As far as the rest goes, I need to keep it as simple as possible, and if I read correctly, deleting my documents and running Eraser freespace wipe would do the job for most of our information.

However, its the banking details etc which are of most concern, so I guess a complete wipe is going to be needed to keep it really simple (to set the scene, some of my colleagues struggle with drag and drop!)
 

Kythe

Member
mrbillcliff said:
Thanks for the prompt reply.

I hadn't realised we could get DBAN through in less than an hour, which might mean its the best option.

As far as the rest goes, I need to keep it as simple as possible, and if I read correctly, deleting my documents and running Eraser freespace wipe would do the job for most of our information.

However, its the banking details etc which are of most concern, so I guess a complete wipe is going to be needed to keep it really simple (to set the scene, some of my colleagues struggle with drag and drop!)
Is the banking done through a web interface? If so, you might want to simply delete all history, saved autocomplete forms and internet cache files, then follow with a freespace wipe. Should get rid of any private details, and can be done beforehand.

Of course, if you want to be absolutely sure, I'd do a complete wipe on the drive, but just be sure doing so won't get you into trouble. It sounds like these computers are loaners :)
 
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