Clearing/Cleaning out an old computer?
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Thread: Clearing/Cleaning out an old computer?

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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    Clearing/Cleaning out an old computer?

    Wife is getting a new computer. Is there a way to clear/clean out her old computer, everything BUT the operating system so she can pass it on?
    Or could a new HD drive be installed and the ONLY the operating system transferred to it?
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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebrafive View Post
    Wife is getting a new computer. Is there a way to clear/clean out her old computer, everything BUT the operating system so she can pass it on?
    Or could a new HD drive be installed and the ONLY the operating system transferred to it?
    That would be my route.
    How old of a computer?
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    Installing a fresh operating system on a new hard drive may be the best option, but it sure is the most work and expense. In my opinion, it just isn't worth passing them on.
    You would need to have OS install media, and licensing handy, and be prepared to spend a half day on it.
    I guess it matters who you're passing it on to.
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    If she is getting a new computer, I'd keep the hard drive from the old one "just in case". If the old computer is more than 5 years old it would depend on what the person you are giving it to intends to do with it. A little internet surfing, email should not be a problem. If you do decide to pass it one, I'd get a new hard drive and reload the OS. I've done it many times for various people. I also take screen shots of what they had installed and keep it with the hard drive just in case they have a question later on.

    If you don't have the installation CD/DVD for the OS, then your best bet is to Uninstall software until you have just the OS left. It will take a fair bit of time and dozens upon dozens of reboots but it can be done. Start by removing the obvious stuff like Office, Adobe Reader, TurboTax, Java, etc. Make sure to not remove anything that is a driver for the graphics card or audio devices. Remove any antivirus software unless you are passing that along as well.
    Last edited by cheesetrain; 04-17-2015 at 12:37 PM.
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    For me, I would leave the programs that came with the computer. I would be more interested in just wiping out my data files and personal information. But some programs may or may not have personal information.
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    This looks like more work than it's worth. I am guessing the computer is at least 5 years old. It has Vista OS if that helps age it. Maybe I'll pull the hard drive and sell as parts or just junk it.
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    I'd remove the hard drive, and send the remaining to recycle. Some of the office supply places will take them for recycling, free of charge.
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    The Goodwill store where I'm at takes computers. If it runs Vista you could check to see if it will run Windows 7. If not, I'd dispose of it. If it could run Windows 7 the Home premium version can be had for around $100 but not for much longer. Microsoft is no longer generating Windows 7 license keys.


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    Hiya,

    I would wipe the hard drive so that none of your data can be pulled off the disk. Simply formatting the drive and sticking a new OS on the drive does not erase the data, it simply erases the master boot record and the file index, the data is all there until it's overwritten.

    Here is a URL with a listing of free disk wiping utilities: 43 Free Data Destruction Software Tools (April 2015)

    After that, if you want go grab an open source version of Linux and install it. My favorite place to try new Linux distributions is distrowatch.com You may find after you load Linux that your old system is a lot faster than it was with Vista. The kernel for Vista/Server 08 wasn't very efficient and systems that run it perform slower than they do if they have Win 7/Server 08R2 or Linux.

    Tom
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    I would agree with others on the removing of the drive and passing it on with a new HD and fresh install.

    The only way to 100% way to destroy the data that was on the disk is to physically destroy the disk.

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    Plus you can harvest some really strong magnets from the drive.
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