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I have an old Dell Dimension 8400 that I would like to donate to my grandson's daycare center. I need to erase everything from computer and put back to factory settings, but I have misplaced the Restore Disks. I do not want to pay $50 for a new restore disk. The computer is about 7 years old, but I believe it would be perfect for 2-4 year olds. Any suggestions?

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Last Post by gtcorwin
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You may also have a restore partition on the hard drive that will let you restore it to factory settings. If not, then it is either paying for the restore discs, or wiping the hard drive completely and letting the center install the operating system of the hard drive, or installing something like Linux on it for them, which will take care of wiping the drive for you.

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Thank you rubberman! Is Linux a free install and are you saying once installed it will erase everything? (not very techno friendly) !

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Installing linux will give you the option of replacing the OS on the machine. Essentially, the files are not accessible from the OS anymore. However, the without a secure wipe, there may be file remnants on the PC that can be recovered.

For the security minded (or the paranoid like me), you can use a tool like Boot n Nuke to completely erase a hard drive. http://www.dban.org/download (A single pass is enough for 99% of the people out there, DoD uses a 7 pass)

After the erase is complete, then you can install a Linux distro on it (i.e. Ubuntu, mint, etc) and be confident that none of your stuff will ever be recovered.

So basically, if you don't really care, just load linux and replace the OS.
If you are paranoid, Nuke the drive using the level you want, then install linux.

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