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Preparing a computer for donation?

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jztemple2
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Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by jztemple2 »

I'm sure this subject has come up from time to time, but I'm never sure what the latest thinking is, so I'll ask. I've recently replaced my wife's home office desktop with a new one and she would like to donate the old one to an organization who could use it. She has a lot of personal and financial info on the old machine. My usual reaction in these situations is to use DBAN like we did for the IRS computers we were sending back before, but I know that program is no longer being supported. What's the newest free alternative to DBAN?

Also, and here is where it get complicated, she would like to keep the current Win10 OS on the old machine so the new owners don't have to get a license and install a new OS. I'm concerned that someone clever is going to get hold of the machine and get that data. Is there a way to keep the Win10 while being assured that no personal data is still on the machine? I don't have the original recovery disks, which were Win7 anyway. Am I better off nuking the hard drive just to be sure?

Thanks for any help! :D
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Daehawk
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by Daehawk »

Have no idea but personally if I was able to do that Id just remove the entire HD and donate it sans HD.
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by Isgrimnur »

LifeWire
Several free programs use the DoD 5220.22-M sanitization standard to erase all the information from a hard drive.

Our favorite such tool is DBAN, but we also like similar tools including CBL Data Shredder.

Examples of some free file shredders that have an option for DoD 5220.22-M based file scrubbing include Eraser, Securely File Shredder, and Freeraser.
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gilraen
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by gilraen »

You should be able to create a Win 10 recovery disc that you can use after wiping the hard drive, to reinstall Windows.
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Anonymous Bosch
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

jztemple2 wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 12:27 pm Am I better off nuking the hard drive just to be sure?
Absolutely.

Just grab the bootable ShredOS 2020 image file and use Rufus to create a bootable USB drive from it. It's built around a more up-to-date fork of the dwipe command used by Darik's Boot and Nuke:
github.com wrote:Nwipe is a fork of the dwipe command used by Darik's Boot and Nuke (dban). nwipe is included with partedmagic, SystemRescueCD and ShredOS/ShredOS 2020 if you want a quick and easy, bootable CD or USB version. If you want a bootable version of the very latest nwipe master that you can write to a USB stick, see quick and easy bootable version of nwipe master.

Nwipe was created out of a need to run the DBAN dwipe command outside of DBAN, in order to allow its use with any host distribution, thus giving better hardware support.

The example below shows six drives being simultaneously erased. The video skips to the completion of all six wipes and shows five drives that were successfully erased and one drive that failed due to an I/O error. The drive that failed would then normally be physically destroyed. The five drives that were successfully wiped with zero errors or failures can then be redeployed.

Image
Last edited by Anonymous Bosch on Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Blackhawk
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by Blackhawk »

Wipe it and reinstall. It's the only way to be sure.
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by hitbyambulance »

you just need the Win10 license key, if you don't have it already. then you can wipe the HDD:

https://www.howtogeek.com/660517/how-to ... nd-prompt/
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jztemple2
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by jztemple2 »

hitbyambulance wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 10:12 pm you just need the Win10 license key, if you don't have it already. then you can wipe the HDD:

https://www.howtogeek.com/660517/how-to ... nd-prompt/
Hmm, I didn't know about that, this might be handy.
gilraen wrote: Sat Nov 07, 2020 1:32 pm You should be able to create a Win 10 recovery disc that you can use after wiping the hard drive, to reinstall Windows.
Also a good time, I didn't think about doing this ahead of time.

Thanks for all the good suggestions. I'll post when I finally get to do this and let folks know how it went.
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gameoverman
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by gameoverman »

I would not want to use a second hand computer that already had the OS installed. I would wipe the drive and start from scratch. For this reason I agree with people who say the best thing to do is provide the buyer or recipient with a computer that has either no hard drive or a hard drive that didn't have any of your info on it before. Then you provide them with the OS installation media, such as a USB stick with Win 10 on it. This way your worst case is they recover data on a used drive but at least it's not your data. And they also get the reassurance that there's no chance you planted malware on the computer since they will be installing the OS themselves.

Realistically, a good data wipe is all you need on the hard drive. Even if they went to the trouble to snoop it out, it's not likely to be harmful. Still, I see no reason to hand over the old drive. I might even be tempted to buy an old drive just to install it in that computer if the people you're giving it to stressed they needed a complete computer.
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jztemple2
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by jztemple2 »

gameoverman wrote: Tue Nov 10, 2020 8:12 pm I would not want to use a second hand computer that already had the OS installed. I would wipe the drive and start from scratch. For this reason I agree with people who say the best thing to do is provide the buyer or recipient with a computer that has either no hard drive or a hard drive that didn't have any of your info on it before. Then you provide them with the OS installation media, such as a USB stick with Win 10 on it. This way your worst case is they recover data on a used drive but at least it's not your data. And they also get the reassurance that there's no chance you planted malware on the computer since they will be installing the OS themselves.

Realistically, a good data wipe is all you need on the hard drive. Even if they went to the trouble to snoop it out, it's not likely to be harmful. Still, I see no reason to hand over the old drive. I might even be tempted to buy an old drive just to install it in that computer if the people you're giving it to stressed they needed a complete computer.
That point you made about the chance of having malware carried over to the new users makes a lot of sense. I do think I'll just remove the old drive entirely and buy an enclosure for it and make it a new external drive. Then I'll see if they want the old chassis. It's a 2012 so they might not even be interested in it.

Thanks to everyone who posted, I got some good information from all of you! :wub:
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Re: Preparing a computer for donation?

Post by Isgrimnur »

:handgestures-thumbupleft:
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