Please help me reformat a compaq laptop for safe disposal.

  • completelylost
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  • completelylost
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Post 3+ Months Ago

:x Hello great minds of the web!

I am in desperate need of help before Summer school starts. I'm completely unsophisticated with and woefully uneducated about computers. I use them everyday, but every once in a while wonder....huh, I wonder how this works. Then before I can get an answer I get sucked back into life and with out needing an answer to the question, it fades to the background of my thoughts. That brings me here. I am ready to start finding answers to those questions so I can have even a glimmer of hope that one day I'll be able to speak at least passingly with my kids about what is important to them. That being EVERYTHING computer related.

My first post ever online is regarding my (geez Dad that thing is ancient) laptop. As a part of my son's high school project I will be donating said laptop soon for educational purposes first and then his school will be reselling it as a way of filling the gap in the districts current financial shortfall. Probably enough of the editorializing for most of you so I'll get to my point.

I have had this thing for years and I have both work and personal information that I need to reliably and permanently remove prior to donating it. So my question is this: will you please help me reformat this dang thing?

It's a Compaq laptop and I don't have the Windows XP Pro discs that came with it (somehow and unbelievably {right?} they were "lost" by my sweet and loving EX wife during a not so pleasant divorce).

I'm pretty sure it is a 2002 version.

I have been uninstalling programs, but came upon this site in my search for a more effective, speedy and thorough and started reading. I tried the "killdisk" suggestion to no avail. All I want to accomplish is to jettison my information from this thing, yet I have become completely lost and unsuccessful. Help......please.
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Active KillDisk is what I recommend and if it didn't work for you then you did something wrong.

You can download the free version here

http://www.killdisk.com/downloadfree.htm

And be sure to read through the users manual here

http://www.killdisk.com/screenshots.htm

If you use this utility correctly, all data on your hard drive will be gone.
  • LINE71X
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Dariks boot and nuke is a better choice. Just use the department of defense method.
  • Z-axis
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The only way to reliably remove the data is replace HDD. Even after formatting or repartitioning a forensics expert can still pull the data using electron force microscopy. Dariks is great prog, but I prefer the Gutmann method over DOD. DOD encryption uses 0's on the first pass, then 1's on the second pass, finally random characters on the third. Gutmann uses 35 passes. Serpent and AES are said to use stronger algorithms though, but I haven't tried them yet. Before a low level format, I usually copy a single jpeg until the drive is full to make sure everything gets overwritten. Once finished use I File Scavenger to see if it will pull anything after the encryption.
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
a forensics expert can still pull the data using electron force microscopy


And how many people do you know that have access to this technology or could afford someone to do it for them?
  • Z-axis
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You're right, law enforcement would only use those methods if say the disk contained illegal content. Or a major corporation attempting to retrieve trade secrets. Or maybe you acquired Lindsey Lohan's PC and you want to get some celebrity dirt. All of these examples are going to the extreme, but if completelylost just wants to hide his honeymoon pics in Vegas, any of those methods should suffice. I once had a job as a PC repair technician, and a customer dropped his laptop which contained pictures of his recently deceased son. We tried every method we could to pull the data, but we ended up sending it off and he had to spend a couple grand.

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