Help Understanding What to Erase

beabrain

New Member
I have now sucessfully installed Eraser and have run the program several times to erase unused disk space. I am donating my computer and want to be certain I have erased all personal info. All emails were deleted, several programs uninstalled - all word documents and pictures were deleted, files from other programs, favorites, and history prior to running the Eraser program.

Have I removed everything by erasing the unused disk space or what else needs to be done? Please pardon my lack of computer knowledge.

Also, am I understanding the Help menu correctly that you should always do the 1 pass preference on the unused disk space? That is what I did but I have done it 4 times.

Thank you for your help.
 

nodrick

New Member
Well,I`m afraid this subject has been well covered:
http://www.snugserver.com/phpbb2/viewto ... a9bcab37d9
I think it all really depends on who the computer is being donated to! The advice given in the above posts would ideally apply to donation to a complete stranger.To someone you feel comfortable with,it might be excuseable to reduce the level of security a little-but as you don`t specify the software on the machine,it is awkward to give specific advice.My inclination in the latter case would be to securely remove all files & software,except the Windows operating system,run a good software application for deleting/erasing all from Windows itself that is unecessary, or a privacy risk,and then do a free space wipe.This is in not a complete answer,as removing every trace of the previous owner from Windows is nigh on impossible for the ordinary user,in which case,only the complete destruction of the contents of the HD will suffice!
 

beabrain

New Member
One More Question

Nodrick, Thank you for your help. I looked at the exchange you suggested. It was very helpful.

To answer your questions: I have a Dell Dimension, Windows 98 SE, 20g HD. I deleted the following software prior to running Eraser: Wordperfect and all files, Citation, all printer and scanner programs, Zone Alarm Pro, Norton, Pest Patrol, and Outlook Express6. I also deleted all files within the programs, including email, favorites, etc.

My principle concern is password identification. I am relly not concerned about websites visited. I did not ask the computer to remember passwords unless they were non-sensitive sites - such as the NYT crossword. All sensitive passwords, acct #'s, etc were stored in a vault (encrypted) in Zone Alarm Pro. I emptied the vault then uninstalled the program.

My question then is this: I have run Eraser preference pseudorandom data multiple times on drive C: unused disk space. Do I need to run any of the other options? It is my understanding from the help menu that this is the option to use on unused disk space. Seeing my main concern (passwords, acct #s) have I done enough to ensure safety?

The computer is being donated to my local Family History Center of the LDS church. I do genealogy work there and they have computers that are on Windows95! This means the public has access - mostly elderly people doing family research who can barely work a computer. The director may try to install Windows 2000. I am not comfortable doing a complete zap and reinstalling an operating system.

Thank you.
 
I

ihatesignups

Guest
Re: One More Question

beabrain said:
My principle concern is password identification. I am relly not concerned about websites visited. I did not ask the computer to remember passwords unless they were non-sensitive sites - such as the NYT crossword. All sensitive passwords, acct #'s, etc were stored in a vault (encrypted) in Zone Alarm Pro. I emptied the vault then uninstalled the program.
Well...eh! ;-)

The M$-OS(32) may well be the least secure of any OS available, what
with its "neat" registry and numerous hidden cache hives and the like.

To really save yourself some possible grief ( some of those "oldbies"
may be seasoned hackers ;), you should consider a low level hard
drive format.

http://www.seagate.com/support/kb/disc/ ... _what.html

That's what I would do, anyway, just in case.

You can just give them the OS software that you have, or reinstall
it yourself (it is easy, really and provides good experience).

Good luck.
 

Robbie

Member
Re: One More Question

beabrain said:
Nodrick, Thank you for your help. I looked at the exchange you suggested. It was very helpful.

To answer your questions: I have a Dell Dimension, Windows 98 SE, 20g HD. I deleted the following software prior to running Eraser: Wordperfect and all files, Citation, all printer and scanner programs, Zone Alarm Pro, Norton, Pest Patrol, and Outlook Express6. I also deleted all files within the programs, including email, favorites, etc.

My principle concern is password identification. I am relly not concerned about websites visited. I did not ask the computer to remember passwords unless they were non-sensitive sites - such as the NYT crossword. All sensitive passwords, acct #'s, etc were stored in a vault (encrypted) in Zone Alarm Pro. I emptied the vault then uninstalled the program.

My question then is this: I have run Eraser preference pseudorandom data multiple times on drive C: unused disk space. Do I need to run any of the other options? It is my understanding from the help menu that this is the option to use on unused disk space. Seeing my main concern (passwords, acct #s) have I done enough to ensure safety?

The computer is being donated to my local Family History Center of the LDS church. I do genealogy work there and they have computers that are on Windows95! This means the public has access - mostly elderly people doing family research who can barely work a computer. The director may try to install Windows 2000. I am not comfortable doing a complete zap and reinstalling an operating system.

Thank you.
If you can, do a complete zap of the entire computer using DBAN, then your computer will be as safe and secure as most people will need it to be (though of course you will need to reinstall the OS, but it is the recommended thing to do). Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about the tracks that may be left behind, I'm sure most of it is deleted.
 

nodrick

New Member
Personally,I overwrite free space once with pseudo random data-but my level of paranoia is not high enough to wait for it to do it 2 or 3 times(which might be preferable!)-as it takes 2.5 hours just for the once!Secondly,if in your cicumstances I would have probably have better done these(say) 2 overwrites before and after defragging the HD,and with the paging/swap file turned off.Then there is the Registry. How much info is left when un-installing applications? But I probably don`t need to remind you of the pitfalls!
If you are still concerned,why not completely erase the contents of the HD-and re-install Win 98SE? It can`t be that difficult-I`ve done it 3 times,and I`m 70! It can be time consuming-the real bugbear being that support for 98SE is not now provided by MS,so any security updates(you did ensure these were always up to date I`m sure!) would have to be obtained from the MS back catalog-and do you know which updates would be relevant to 98SE? In this respect,it might be useful to install the free Belarc Advisor-which will audit your machine,and tell you exactly what software is still on there-including hopefully, MS updates.I always do this periodically on my machines-so that in the event of disaster,I have a current(hopefully) record of what needs to go back with any re-install.If the machine has been in use for sometime,it`ll be none the worse for a nice clean OS! www.belarc.com
Windows 2000 is a much better OS,so the option of installing that might be even better-but I think the problem of updates will soon apply in this case-if not already.
 

funplace

New Member
Hello

Now this may seem a little unusal, but if all of the instructions and possibly ways of erasing things on a hard drive just are still too much to figure out, if I got a big ol fat magnet and leaned that thing up against tha big ol fat drive would it at least definitely clear every possible little thing out of there that might ever have existed.

then could I throw the drive in the dumpster knowing even the most thorough bring back the data person had no chance.

thanks
sorry for asking crazy question
 

Glenn

Member
If re-use of the drive is not an issue, a sledgehammer is probably best.
 

funplace

New Member
Glenn

Thank you, I like the sledgehammer, might be the answer.

I would like to keep the drive, but after reading all these messages it just seems a whole lot confussing

to Robbie

why don't you just buy a cheap new computer and donate it to the place you were going to give your old one.
 
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