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I was looking at Purging software that helps you clear a harddrive of any personal info in three different levels, yet, no price was listed...Wondering if traditional DELETE as an alternative is a poor call?
I planned to move files I want to keep off the PC's drive and delete everything but the OS... That way it's easier to setup with all new programs, for the user. The system was setup with Windows when bought so I don't see a problem leaving that

BILL

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Last Post by J_Search
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I should add, my plan is to empty out the Recycle Bin after deleting files, however, one person has stated that after uninstalling AOL, which I use, there were still hidden files on his system that pertained to it. Many people protesting vocally about AOL have confused me with their stance on it. I tend to like it's interface. I have tried NetZero a number of times. Anyway, the product I saw did have Purge in the title, said to support Pentagon/Government approved level of data removal....blah blah blah, as they say... that being level 2 of 3 avail. levels of disc 'purging'. Since my Win ME restore discs don't seem valid anymore, I'd like to keep the OS installed intact however

BILL

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BILL S,

In order to explain this well enough, you need to come away with some basic understanding of how Windows deletes and uninstalls files. (I'm not an expert, but I can pretty much explain the basic concept)

All data is stored somewhere in a "location" / sector on your hard disk. When you uninstall or delete a file, you don't remove the data from that "location", you just remove the windows value that points to it. The data stays in that location until Windows (not knowing data is there) writes over top of it. Which has no ill effects because you either deleted or uninstalled that data anyway. However, if it's personal information, and you are worried about someone gaining access, there is a potential Windows has not overwritten the data, thus it remains, and therefore can EASILY be retrieved. (yes even by a monkey).

Solution? Since you don't want to wipe your drive I suggest another product called Privacy Guardian. This program has many functions including removing system & browser history files, temp files, cookies, saved passwords, and more... The one thing it also does is "bleaching" the free sectors on your hard drive. These sectors may be empty or they may contain that data we were talking about, remember the "locations"? Anyway, this program will find all of the free sectors/locations and remove any data. Effectively giving you a wipe of your hard disk but keeping the OS in tact.

There may be other products that effectively perform this function, however, I have done no research about them.

The only disclaimer I offer is that it may not be as effective as the various levels of the full HD wipe.

J_

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Hard drive manufacturers typically offer "zero-fill" utilities on their websites. These will wipe your drive clean by filling it with nothing but zeroes.

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The utility that leaves windows but clears all other data, though I wonder how that fared in results, sounds like the option most interesting to me. I'll have to consider that for my old PCs, however, does that package also allow you to clear Windows as well
Even though it sounds like, in some of my questions, I am using pirated Windows, that's not the case. I have one copy of original Windows 98 that was never installed except by me, and by using it as a base to start from, I could upgrade to the latest for less cash, which is why I mention using it on a fresh PC if XP is not present (I'm hoping anyway)
BILL

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Technically, you are still pirating if you are installing 98 multiple times and using it as a base for an upgrade path. The upgrade products are to upgrade legitimate copies of Windows.

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OK, To point out, I have not done this but it was an option I have entertained. Thanks for the heads up. All the PCs I have, BTW, are being used by me solely. I've never liked the fact I have to have one utility, for each computer I have, purchased again and again, seems it only benefits the profit of the company and makes life hard on the consumer
-B

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BILL S,

Privacy Guardian will not remove windows. You'll need to use a wiping utility from windows to wipe a slave or from a self booting program to wipe the primary.

J_

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Find out which IDE channel your drive is connected to.

Boot off tomsrtbt and type dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdx
Replace hdx with hda if it's the primary master, hdb for primary slave, hdc for secondary master, or hdd for secondary slave.
WARNING: Putting in the wrong drive for hdx WILL cause unwanted data loss.
This procedure will clear everything, including the files, Windows, the filesystem(s), and the partition table.

I am not responsible for any data loss caused by this procedure.

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I'm still a 'newbie' at this, learning the 'tech-speak' so you'll have to water that explanation down, or point me to some good guides for learning this stuff on line, possibly, if this is the wrong place. I should actually learn some stuff I can use to control my PCs via the MS prompt as well... All I remember is DIR (IIRC for Directory list! haha).

I am most interested in leaving the OS installed but clearing any other personal data to start fresh. I've seen people selling on eBay stating this, mostly via reinstalling, even if they are not offering the software with the computer. The commercial drive wipes at my store (CompUSA) don't appear to have this feature, but rather clear the whole drive.
Thanks much for your help,
BILL S.

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tomsrtbt is a disk that starts Linux, which is like DOS only more powerful :)

Anyway, google for it, download it, and put it on a floppy disk (instructions are included IIRC). Then start your computer with the disk in the drive and type that command in, press enter afterwards. It will fill your hard drive with zeroes (binary: 000000000000 instead of 010101001001) and hence nothing on it will exist anymore.
You can then use fdisk to create a partition table and then install Windows. To only delete some files would leave them on the disk, ready to be restored with something like Active@ Undeleter (a great app BTW).

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BILL S,

You are asking for software that does not exist. If you want to remove your personal data, you will need to do one of two things...

1. Delete the personal files yourself. Install and run a "free space" or "empty sector" bleeching program. (such as privacy guardian)

-or-

2. Completely wipe your hard drive with special software. (as suggested by mmiikkee)

You keep asking for the same software. There is no software that does what you are asking. Sorry.

J_

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