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Selling my personal computer to my new boss..


BULLman

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Just 2 months before I started my new job, I bought a new desktop computer. Since I wasn't working, I looked for the biggest bang for the buck. It was on clearance, and when I went to pick it up - they gave me an additional $42 off.

 

Jump to now, most everything we do is based on a website and I don't go to the office everyday. I went ahead and bought a laptop at a pre-Thanksgiving sale at Best Buy - with 18 months of interest free credit card loan.

 

My boss is looking to replace a computer at the office and I suggested he should buy mine - since I really don't need 2 computers.

 

How can I make sure I erase the confidental info on HD? Do a re-format that will set the HD to factory specs?

 

Thanks for your help.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

DO NOT surrender your hard drive to anyone else in the universe - at least not in working order. Reformat generally does not guarantee to make the data unrecoverable.

 

Drill a couple of holes in the platter, hit it with a sledgehammer a few times, then throw it in the trash. Buy a new HD for the computer, or tell your boss to take care of that on your own.

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How can I make sure I erase the confidental info on HD?
It depends on how confidential the information is really... If it's, say, something that's the equivalent of pictures of you hanging out in your undies... well, if that gets out, life goes on.

 

However, if it's your financial info that could be damaging if it got out (or, stuff that... shall we say, could damage your career if your boss found it), just keep the drive (you could always put it in an external case and use it with your laptop for backup) and buy him/her a new one. I agree with Mitch. You get a lot of piece of mind for $50.

 

However, I'd personally keep the computer. But with 6 computers, 4 printers, 4 UPS's and 19 hard drives sitting within a few feet of me (yes - at home), I'm hardly one to talk. :)

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Francois_Dumas
But with 6 computers, 4 printers, 4 UPS's and 19 hard drives sitting within a few feet of me (yes - at home), I'm hardly one to talk. :)

 

:grin::grin::grin: I thought I was the only 'freak' here (well, that's what Nina keeps telling me).

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But with 6 computers, 4 printers, 4 UPS's and 19 hard drives sitting within a few feet of me (yes - at home), I'm hardly one to talk. :)

 

:grin::grin::grin: I thought I was the only 'freak' here (well, that's what Nina keeps telling me).

 

From the emails that Nina sends me - I agree that you're a freak:rofl:

:grin:

 

 

Good suggestions about taking out the HD and having him buy another one, he already has the ability to do that easily.

 

But, the HD is the only HD in the computer and it has a partition with Windows Vista. How would I get around that?

 

I'm not terribly worried about my boss. Its a small company, so the exposure is pretty small [4 employess w/me included]. He already has my SS#. My friend from my BMW club, who got me this job, will be working on that computer and me if I didn't biring in my laptop. So if anything happened, the sh$tlist would be pretty short.

 

I'm not finally sound yet, I'm an independent contract, and even though I bought the laptop with an interest free loan for 18 months - I doubt my family would be very happy once they find out I bought a new laptop for a new job that I haven't really gotten a paycheck yet. :dopeslap:

 

I don't want to give away the computer either. I've already sold my bike and my trailer - from their proceeds there is no way I can go out a replace them. But less my desktop [even - the cost of an HD] for what I paid for it to "buy" the laptop will make sense.

 

Thanks for your input.

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Sounbds to me like you're potential exposure is pretty minimal. Just reformat and move on. If anything, it will show a level of trust with your co-workers.

 

If your'e still paranoid, then, yes, get software to "properly" erase the HD.

 

Otherwise, go ahead and waste $150 on a new HD. But while your at it, put your tin-foil hat back, close the blinds and finish your plans for that 10' tall, electric, barb wire fence around your home.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Otherwise, go ahead and waste $150 on a new HD.

 

:dopeslap:

 

A 250-gig HD can be bought for under $40; even a terabyte HD is less than $100.

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There are several free programs you can download which will do a secure (and unrecoverable) wipe of the entire drive. Simple and will eliminate any concerns.

 

 

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Is there any reason why an application like Data Destroyer or File Shredder wouldn't work? These applications overwrite existing files with gobbledygook (actually random binary code that's written to the same disk location multiple times) and make them impossible to retrieve.

 

I routinely work with forensic computer experts (DOJ, FBI) and they tell me that electronically "shredded" files can't be recovered. If that's incorrect, I'd sure like to know.

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Is there any reason why an application like Data Destroyer or File Shredder wouldn't work? These applications overwrite existing files with gobbledygook (actually random binary code that's written to the same disk location multiple times) and make them impossible to retrieve.

 

I routinely work with forensic computer experts (DOJ, FBI) and they tell me that electronically "shredded" files can't be recovered. If that's incorrect, I'd sure like to know.

Well, part of the problem is the economics. Data Destroyer for example is $30. For a one time thing, it'd just be more cost effective to buy a new hard drive for $10-$20 more. Then you've got a new hard drive and the old one can be used externally in a $10-$20 case if you so desired.
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Is there any reason why an application like Data Destroyer or File Shredder wouldn't work? These applications overwrite existing files with gobbledygook (actually random binary code that's written to the same disk location multiple times) and make them impossible to retrieve.

 

I routinely work with forensic computer experts (DOJ, FBI) and they tell me that electronically "shredded" files can't be recovered. If that's incorrect, I'd sure like to know.

Well, part of the problem is the economics. Data Destroyer for example is $30. For a one time thing, it'd just be more cost effective to buy a new hard drive for $10-$20 more. Then you've got a new hard drive and the old one can be used externally in a $10-$20 case if you so desired.

 

Free download from CNET here. I make no representations as to the license restrictions or the limitations of the "free" version.

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Is there any reason why an application like Data Destroyer or File Shredder wouldn't work? These applications overwrite existing files with gobbledygook (actually random binary code that's written to the same disk location multiple times) and make them impossible to retrieve.

 

I routinely work with forensic computer experts (DOJ, FBI) and they tell me that electronically "shredded" files can't be recovered. If that's incorrect, I'd sure like to know.

 

I'm not holding myself up as any kind of expert, so if real experts say the shredder works, they're probably right.

 

Interesting to note, though, that the random stuff is written to the same location multiple times. If it's truly random - or even if it's not - one single overwrite ought to do it, no?

 

My big point, I guess, is that physical destruction (or at least retention) of the old HD gives you absolute assurance that any personal info on it is not going to fall into the wrong hands. And given the price of HD's today, installing a new replacement is pretty cheap insurance.

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Mitch--It's my understanding that the the dark world technology does exist that might allow, say, a super-secret government agency to recover overwritten data. However, as far as I know, that technology does not exist outside the intelligence community. The DoD standard calls for three to seven overwrites, depending on who you believe, but classified information at or above the "Secret" level or above is not deemed "destroyed" by overwriting. I think that's as much a concern about the need for visual/physical verification of destruction as is it is a concern about the efficacy of overwriting.

 

Around my office we don't deal with much classified stuff, but a lot of it is sensitive. We use a combination of data shredding, degaussing, and physically smashing the crap out of things to ensure that it doesn't end up where it shouldn't.

 

You're probably aware of this, but it's not unheard of in criminal investigations to reconstruct hard drives, floppy disks, etc. that have been physically smashed, cut, or generally rent asunder. There's always lost data, but sometimes a surprising amount of information can be recovered from the smashed-up bits.

 

Like you, I don't claim to be an expert. However, I play one on TV.

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When a senior navy officer once sent me an email via the UK restricted network with data on it that was in fact secret, they data shredded my hard drive and then physically shredded it - the machine nibbled it into bits about 1/4 or less.

 

But I would go with a new HD, rebuild it with the recovery CD. That way your old HD with all your data can be put in a case and used as an external drive, negating the need to transfer any data to the new machine.

 

Andy

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Interesting to note, though, that the random stuff is written to the same location multiple times. If it's truly random - or even if it's not - one single overwrite ought to do it, no?

A single overwrite isn't enough to foil a determined attacker as a careful analysis of residual flux can determine the prior 1 or 0 state of a given bit. Not 100%, but enough to reconstruct a lot of data. Multiple overwrites can take care of this, I think DoD specs are three times.

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If you decide you want to wipe the hard drive, Darik's Boot and Nuke is an excellent free solution.

 

+1000. Excellent high-security disk wiper. Free, been around for a long time. Use it then restore the system with the orginal disks, and you're done.

 

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If you decide you want to wipe the hard drive, Darik's Boot and Nuke is an excellent free solution.

 

+1000. Excellent high-security disk wiper. Free, been around for a long time. Use it then restore the system with the orginal disks, and you're done.

I understand what you're thinking, but if I wiped the HD as you suggested - how would my boss get Vista back on the computer? With his copy of Vista? Or, does it not wipe the part of the HD with Vista partioned on it?

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Dan,

When you got the new desktop, did it come with some manufacturer's CDs?

 

If so, one of them is probably a recovery disk that will allow you to rebuild the computer in the event of a hardware failure. Same license, just a different drive.

 

I may not live in IA or leave my doors unlocked like the aulde phartes here may reminisce about, but I do work in data security so, in essence, I get paid to wear a tinfoil hat.

 

Your level of trust may vary... but me? I'd go buy a $60 250GB HDD and tell your computer's new owner that to make sure he was completely safe, you replaced the drive and restored the system to factory standards in the interest of mutual security.

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Dan,

When you got the new desktop, did it come with some manufacturer's CDs?

 

If so, one of them is probably a recovery disk that will allow you to rebuild the computer in the event of a hardware failure. Same license, just a different drive.

 

It didn't come with them, but I did make a set. My last computer lasted longer than HP stocked the recovery disks, so that is what I did first thing with the new desktop.

 

Your level of trust may vary... but me? I'd go buy a $60 250GB HDD and tell your computer's new owner that to make sure he was completely safe, you replaced the drive and restored the system to factory standards in the interest of mutual security.

 

Its got a 500Gb HD, but I see your point. Taking a deduction though, makes it less inticing to me.

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It's not the most secure thing, but it's the easiest;

Just create a new account for your boss, and delete your own account and all the files in it. Unless you have some real sensitive stuff on there.

With Vista you can go to C:/Searches/Everywhere and all your stuff's in there. After you delete your account, check that from your Boss's account.

If you have Turbo Tax, Quicken, Quick Books, you can back up those files to your LT, then delete those programs.

This is the easy way, but not the most secure.

 

Good luck,

 

Andy

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How apt this thread is.

 

I'm just in the process of upgrading all our work PC's. With all the old ones I've dragged out an old Win '98 startup floppy and removed then recreated the DOS partition and then reformatted the drive. I was hoping this would be enough before giving away the old PC's with no OS installed.....Your thoughts?

Cheers,

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Reformatting the disk with the Windows Format tool will not wipe the data from the drive. It will only destroy and recreate the Master File Table (MFT), which contains the index or pointers to the data blocks, but not the data blocks on the hard drive. I disk wipe utility that writes random information to every byte on the disk should be sufficient for your needs. Then you can reformat and install Windows Vista if you have the installation media and a DVD drive that can read the DVD.

 

Todd

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the advise here to replace the drive is exactly correct.

You can use the restore to install the new drive so the conputer is like it was when you bought it new. Point being, drives are cheap.

 

 

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Otherwise, go ahead and waste $150 on a new HD.

 

:dopeslap:

 

A 250-gig HD can be bought for under $40; even a terabyte HD is less than $100.

 

An internal laptop HD for $40? Wow, they have come down in price. Not that I follow these things closely.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Otherwise, go ahead and waste $150 on a new HD.

 

:dopeslap:

 

A 250-gig HD can be bought for under $40; even a terabyte HD is less than $100.

 

An internal laptop HD for $40? Wow, they have come down in price. Not that I follow these things closely.

 

I originally thought he was selling his older desktop PC to his boss, not his week-old laptop. In retrospect, it's not 100% clear.

 

Even so, a 250-gig laptop HD is listing for $48 on www.pricewatch.com.

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What brand of computer so you have. Certain brands, compac, dell don't come with any restore CD's. The restore is in a hidden partition and you have to hit a function key to get to it. If you have one of those computers it will be harder for you reload vista, but not impossible.

 

Alan

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Otherwise, go ahead and waste $150 on a new HD.

 

:dopeslap:

 

A 250-gig HD can be bought for under $40; even a terabyte HD is less than $100.

 

An internal laptop HD for $40? Wow, they have come down in price. Not that I follow these things closely.

 

I originally thought he was selling his older desktop PC to his boss, not his week-old laptop. In retrospect, it's not 100% clear.

 

Even so, a 250-gig laptop HD is listing for $48 on www.pricewatch.com.

 

Its not a week old, but I did buy it 2 months ago. Its an HP a6400f LINK

 

I would like to get what I paid for it.

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What brand of computer so you have. Certain brands, compac, dell don't come with any restore CD's. The restore is in a hidden partition and you have to hit a function key to get to it. If you have one of those computers it will be harder for you reload vista, but not impossible.

 

Alan

 

Its an an HP a6400f, see above for link.

 

It does have a recovery partition.

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Yeah, that's becoming more common: PC manufacturers aren't including restore DVD's with their PC's (because that extra 10¢ for the media is gonna kill the deal) these days. They just stick it in some partition on the drive like you'll never notice. It's a lousy situation, but it is what it is.

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