Windows 7 erase

qarg

New Member
Hi, sorry if this is newb, but I couldn't find the faq anywhere, and figure my question is probably too specific for what it covers anyways.

Anyways, I have a laptop with windows 7 already installed on it. I want to delete and scrub a whole bunch of personal info files on here before I sell it. BUT, I don't want to delete the OS/drivers and leave this thing as a useless hunk of junk. Can eraser help me with this? Will it delete all the "recoverable" files i had on my HD while preserving the operating system and drivers? Can I preserve useful programs I have, but don't want to get rid of? I never partitioned my hard drive or anything. I just don't want my bank information being recovered from this thing after I sell it, but also don't want to turn it into a paperweight by using something that totally nukes the HD. Essentially, I want it to massively overwrite everything except select information on the HD (The OS, the drivers, programs I won't be able to find again). Is what I'm suggesting even possible? Can eraser do this for me? If not, can another program do this for me? Would people be able to recover any information from the drive if I did something like this? Thanks in advance!

edit: how many times should the overwrite be done before i can be sure the data is gone forever? also, i have an external hd i am going to include. can i do something similar to it as well (keep some data, destroy the sensitive data)?

lol triple edit: to clarify further, in case i am too retarded with computers to make sense to you tech guys, i want to have the cleaner delete only the things that i have previously deleted. so, what i want is:
1- i have file on my comp and delete it in windows
2- file disappears from windows, but is somehow still on my hd (lol?)
3- i use a cleaner like eraser on my computer and it deletes ONLY the files that i have previously deleted, leaving everything else intact/usable.

i just want to be sure that all traces of deleted files are gone before i sell this sucka. but i dont want it to delete anything that is useful. JUST the stuff that i have already deleted to make sure it is inaccessible to all of mankind!
 

DavidHB

Active Member
qarg said:
I have a laptop with windows 7 already installed on it. I want to delete and scrub a whole bunch of personal info files on here before I sell it. BUT, I don't want to delete the OS/drivers and leave this thing as a useless hunk of junk. Can eraser help me with this? Will it delete all the "recoverable" files i had on my HD while preserving the operating system and drivers? Can I preserve useful programs I have, but don't want to get rid of? I never partitioned my hard drive or anything. I just don't want my bank information being recovered from this thing after I sell it, but also don't want to turn it into a paperweight by using something that totally nukes the HD. Essentially, I want it to massively overwrite everything except select information on the HD (The OS, the drivers, programs I won't be able to find again). Is what I'm suggesting even possible? Can eraser do this for me? If not, can another program do this for me? Would people be able to recover any information from the drive if I did something like this? Thanks in advance!
I answered just this question a couple of days ago; see this thread.

qarg said:
how many times should the overwrite be done before i can be sure the data is gone forever? also, i have an external hd i am going to include. can i do something similar to it as well (keep some data, destroy the sensitive data)?
I don't have a PhD in this (or anything else, for that matter), but current thinking is that a single pass wipe is sufficient to make the data unrecoverable for all normal user purposes. I use the HMG 3 pass method for erasing actual data, and the default single pass (anything else just takes too long) for wiping free space.

qarg said:
to clarify further, in case i am too retarded with computers to make sense to you tech guys, i want to have the cleaner delete only the things that i have previously deleted. so, what i want is:
1- i have file on my comp and delete it in windows
2- file disappears from windows, but is somehow still on my hd (lol?)
3- i use a cleaner like eraser on my computer and it deletes ONLY the files that i have previously deleted, leaving everything else intact/usable.
If the files still exist, erase rather than delete them. Obviously, in that case, Eraser only touches the files you specify. If the files have already been deleted (directly or by emptying the Recycle Bin), the space they occupied on the disk is marked as free, but still contains the deleted file data. Wiping the free space on the disk (which, of course, does not touch any files that have not been deleted) destroys this deleted data permanently. Which is what you want.

David
 

Joel

Active Member
Though, I must clarify, a larger amount of privacy concerns are due to files you don't know contain personal information...
 

DavidHB

Active Member
Joel is so right. The whole Windows ecosystem is just not designed for privacy. Although this is not what may want to hear, the only way to be reasonably confident that you have not left anything behind is to erase and wipe the whole drive (there is information on this in the FAQ), then reinstall Windows and relevant drivers for the new user. Which, I fear, is the better part of a day's work for most people.

With some computers, especially laptops, you can shortcut this process by using the manufacturer's utility and/or either a restore disk or a recovery partition to restore the machine to factory condition, then install Eraser and do a free space wipe to remove all traces of previously deleted files. If you have that facility, that should leave the machine in a reasonably secure condition.

David
 
Top