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Help: How to scrub hard drive of laptops before recycling?

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I have 2 old Windows Vista laptops with old hardware. I want to toss them away in recycling bean of Bestbuy. How do I completely clean the hard drives? I have plenty of personal information stored in the hard drives (tax returns with SSN, etc.). So I want to fully scrub the hard drives and completely erase the OS so no data can be recovered. Is there any software or other procedure for this?

Thanks.

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boot to a linux live distro and use shred or dd

morecowbell (Jul. 12, 2017 @ 11:20p) |

always my choice

skh12 (Jul. 25, 2017 @ 3:57a) |

OP is confusing.  1st post he says his hard drives have  tax returns with SSN, etc.  2nd post he says his info is not va... (more)

miqie (Jul. 25, 2017 @ 11:41p) |

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Use DBAN. It's used by many in the IT field. It will overwrite every spot on the drive so there's no chance of anyone recovering data from it.

https://dban.org/

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Another choice, of course, would be to remove the drives and drill through them. Laptop drives are fairly thin so drilling them is pretty fast. Once you shatter the platter there's no coming back.

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Many thanks. My data are not that valuable. Any quick and easy way to wipe the drive, perhaps via web or windows utility?

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bandyopa said:   Many thanks. My data are not that valuable. Any quick and easy way to wipe the drive, perhaps via web or windows utility?
  
Plug Drive In
Open Explorer (Not Windows Explorer)
Right Click on Drive
Click on Format

That's it unless it's the 'C' drive.  that needs to be done outside of windows.
 

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forbin4040 said:   
bandyopa said:   Many thanks. My data are not that valuable. Any quick and easy way to wipe the drive, perhaps via web or windows utility?
  
Plug Drive In
Open Explorer (Not Windows Explorer)
Right Click on Drive
Click on Format

That's it unless it's the 'C' drive.  that needs to be done outside of windows.

  It is the C: drive! These are old Windows Vista laptop. They don't have OS partition in the hard drive. And I don't have the original CDs. There is no easy way to wipe the hard drives before recycling? 

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bandyopa said:    There is no easy way to wipe the hard drives before recycling? 
If they have recovery partitions, restoring to factory is probably the easiest. Otherwise, go with minidrag's recommendation to use DBAN. You'll have to create a boot disk, but it's overall it's an easy process.

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What would be the point? Those that get them won't have an OS to use it with.

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I believe SSD's, assuming you are using a modern OS with TRIM support, auto-erases file (unlike a mechanical HDD). Still, for peace of mind I'd do 2 or 3 passes to securely erase a HDD before it goes into the trash / recycle facility. Most likely no one's going to focus on your PC, but it's like using a document shredder.

Easiest way imo is just use a bootable program, like Darik's Secure and Erase (or similar). How many passes is up to how paranoid you are...I usually do two passes, assuming the data isn't already encrypted by something like Bitlocker or VeraCrypt.

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minidrag said:   Use DBAN. It's used by many in the IT field. It will overwrite every spot on the drive so there's no chance of anyone recovering data from it.

https://dban.org/

  Just download it. Its free. Burn to CD and boot off of it (You may need to change your BIOS to boot off of CD first)

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pacificgrovecity said:   What would be the point? Those that get them won't have an OS to use it with.
  You don't need an OS on them to access the data.  All you do is plug the drive into another machine and then you can get to all that info.

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forbin4040 said:   
bandyopa said:   Many thanks. My data are not that valuable. Any quick and easy way to wipe the drive, perhaps via web or windows utility?
  
Plug Drive In
Open Explorer (Not Windows Explorer)
Right Click on Drive
Click on Format

That's it unless it's the 'C' drive.  that needs to be done outside of windows.

  That will NOT wipe the data.  It's very, very easy to recover data from a drive that's been formatted by Windows.  There's a reason a Windows format is so fast - it just erases some pointers, not the actual data.

If you are keeping the machine or letting someone you trust have it, sure, a format is fine.  But when you know there is sensitive data on it and you letting it out into the wild?  Hell no.

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I know Minid, bandyopa just asked for an easy and quick way. I'm answering the question, I'm not saying it's the smartest thing to do.

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forbin4040 said:   I know Minid, bandyopa just asked for an easy and quick way. I'm answering the question, I'm not saying it's the smartest thing to do.
  Somehow I managed to completely miss his "my data isn't important" post, which is what you replied to.

Never mind

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bandyopa said:    I have plenty of personal information stored in the hard drives (tax returns with SSN, etc.).

So I want to fully scrub the hard drives and completely erase the OS so no data can be recovered. Is there any software or other procedure for this?


 

  

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You might want to look at his follow up question 4 posts down.

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I use mine for Target practice.

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snakebit said:   I use mine for Target practice.
  I use my staff who had the 'best performance' their job was to disassemble hard drives as a reward, as most of my staff loved to know what went into making an HD.

It was also used as dangerous frisbees around the office afterwards.  heh
One guy lined his cubicle wall with them as if those platters were AOL Cd's.

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snakebit said:   I use mine for Target practice.
  Just be sure the platters are destroyed.  I've seen some shooters put a hole clean through the casing without doing any damage to the platters, which leaves the data completely intact.

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I use an ax.

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bandyopa said:   Many thanks. My data are not that valuable. Any quick and easy way to wipe the drive, perhaps via web or windows utility?
  Not going to get much easier then DBAN.   Just download it and burn to disk, boot from the disk and erase the drive.

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boot to a linux live distro and use shred or dd

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minidrag said:   Another choice, of course, would be to remove the drives and drill through them. Laptop drives are fairly thin so drilling them is pretty fast. Once you shatter the platter there's no coming back.
  always my choice

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OP is confusing.  1st post he says his hard drives have  tax returns with SSN, etc.  2nd post he says his info is not valuable.  Which is it?  Tax returns and SSN's are certainly valuable to identity thieves.  Just use Dban and call it a day.  

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