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Donate a Laptop (Wipe HD, leave O/S intact)

Discussion in 'Technical Discussions' started by Draco, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Draco

    Draco Techie7 New Member

    I want to donate my laptop, but its not useful to the recipient without an O/S. Is it possible to wipe it without removing the O/S and and installed programs like Office etc? I'm looking for a reasonable degree of "clean". I don't need to cover up a crime, but at the same time I don't want someone to be able to lift my name, dob, ssn, etc, (just in case it ever gets in the wrong hands). Its an IBM Thinkpad I bought around 2003 running XP. I don't have any of the software install CDs - probably lost those in a move - I've done a reasonable amount of searching today and no luck. Thanks in advance.
  2. Dan Penny

    Dan Penny Staff Techie7 Moderator

    Apologies on behalf of the Staff for not replying yet. This post "slipped through" unnoticed.

    If you have NO O/S loading software, and there is NO Recovery Partition "built-in" to the machine, the best you can do is to manually removed anything/data which is NOT part of the O/S.

    First, set Explorer to show hidden files etc. Open Control Panel, then Files and Folders. Click on the VIEW tab. Under "Hidden files and folders", click "Show hidden files and folders". Click Apply, then Exit.

    Restart the machine to ensure settings take effect.

    First, delete any files that YOU have created/installed which are not provided by the O/S. (Do a Search for *.txt and delete any -YOU- have created. Repeat the above for *.doc.)

    Then empty the Recycle Bin.

    After the above, do a general clean-up using Ccleaner, then run RegSeeker.

    A good (free) utility for removing junk from your system is CCleaner. It also performs a "clean-up" pass on the registry.

    CCleaner - Download
    (Click on Download from FileHippo......, in the PayPal box)

    Alternate Download;
    |MG| CCleaner Slim 3.17.1689 Download

    When the next window opens, click "Download Latest Version" on the right of the page.
    (I always opt OUT of the YaHoo Toolbar install.)

    Once you download and install it, open the program then click on (left hand side) OPTIONS, then COOKIES. Any cookies you want to save (trusted sites, places you have usernames/passwords), highlight them in the left column, then (using the directional arrows between the panes), move them to the right hand column under "Cookies to keep".

    Still under Options, click on Advanced. Remove the check mark from the box for "Only delete files in Windows Temp folders older than 24 hours".

    Leave all other settings at the default.

    Then click on Cleaner (on the top left). When that window opens, click on Run Cleaner (bottom right of the window.)

    When it finishes, close CCleaner, and restart your machine. (Some files will not be deleted until a restart is performed.)

    Open it, click on Clean The Registry, then OK.

    All deleted items will be backed up, so just remove the check mark for this. (Lower LH side.) Then run the scan.

    Once it's finished, along the bottom of the screen, (near the operation progress bar) click on Select, choose "Select All". Then click on Action, then "Delete selected items".

    Close the program and restart the machine.
  3. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    You ask if you can "wipe" the drive without removing the OS. Note that CCleaner Dan mentioned above has a nice, recently added feature called "Drive Wiper". Unlike most wiper programs, CCleaner's Drive Wiper allow you to wipe the free space only. That sounds like the perfect solution for your problem.

    My advice would be to uninstall all the extra programs you installed, move off (cut and paste) all the data files you want to keep to a new drive/computer, defrag the hard drive in Safe Mode to consolidate as much free space as possible, then run CCleaner's Drive Wiper program, ensure you have the "Free Space Only" option set.

    And by the way, I don't think you are trying to cover up a crime. I think you are being wise and cautious with your personal data and wish everyone was as security aware as you appear to be. :21: