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Formatting a hard drive

by tommos27 / October 1, 2007 12:43 AM PDT

I am (hopefully) selling my laptop and I would like to format my hard drive (for safety and privacy reasons) I am selling the laptop with vista and I was wondering if formatting the hard drive would delete the operating system. The laptop did not originally come with vista but I have the installation disk. I would not mind installing it again but I have already used the product key if it makes a difference.
Please could you help?
Thanks


ps. the laptop will be on eBay if you are interested

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Well.
by bob b / October 1, 2007 2:30 AM PDT

Good.
Format and reload.

Better.
Run a pass of killdisk/dban format and reload.

Best. (high paranoia level)
Remove the HD and destroy it.

It seems there is no good way to 100% erase a HD.
Your call.

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How much?
by BrianZachary / October 1, 2007 2:54 AM PDT

There are programs, that if used by someone who knows what they are doing, can bring back anything that has ever been deleted on a hard drive. There are also programs that will destroy anything that has ever been deleted so that nothing can be brought back.

I use a couple file shredder programs to get rid of files instead of just deleting them. Download Accelerator Plus has a file shredder included with it, but will only let you shred files up to 4MB. Kryptos 2 will let you shred any size files.

I have another program called Revo Uninstaller that has a feature that will let you totally destroy anything that has ever been deleted so it can't be brought back, so that might be an option for you before formatting.


Getting to my title, how much are you selling the laptop for? Which operating system did it come with and do you have all the discs for it? I'm just curious because I don't go to eBay and it will go quick since it didn't come with Vista. Especially since Vista is being hated more and more everyday. Let me know.

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Just jumping in here Brian. . .
by Coryphaeus / October 1, 2007 8:43 AM PDT
In reply to: How much?

If you want to have contact with a member, fill out your member profile. They can email you from CNet.

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Yes and No
by PKsteven / October 1, 2007 4:30 PM PDT
In reply to: How much?

[quote]There are programs, that if used by someone who knows what they are doing, can bring back anything that has ever been deleted on a hard drive. There are also programs that will destroy anything that has ever been deleted so that nothing can be brought back.[/quote]

There are a few things to look at here. Typically, as bob suggested will work fine. The data would have to be important enough for most to even want to get at, it's not just click and boom operation. There are programs that will do a wonderful job, but unless you physically destroy the disk, <even that has exceptions depending> there is a way to get it back. Forensic labs can recover data using micro technology, even some disks that were burned, scratched, hammered or even shattered or course depending what portions are recoverable as to a certain point, no disk would be if properly destroyed. I leave you with this..

Unless you have some government files or work for the secret service, or important enough info that is worth the time and effort, Bob's suggestion will work quite nicely. Else a person's only option for complete erasure would be take it out, use it as a frisbee, then a cup holder, spare tire on a Tonka Truck, throw it in a fire pit, drill holes, hammer it flat, etc...you get the point.

Paul

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What about...
by BrianZachary / October 1, 2007 8:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Yes and No

What about a magnet? Magnets are supposed to erase data from discs so wouldn't that be an option as well? Would that mess up a hard drive so that nothing could be put on it again ever? Just curious.

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Magnets
by PKsteven / October 2, 2007 12:31 AM PDT
In reply to: What about...

Hmmm, I don't think a magnet would effect the data directly. On a Floppy, yes since it uses magnetization much like a cassette tape, therefore data is easily erased, but a hard drive would take one hell of a magnet to effect the data if specifically looking to erase it, even a huge speaker magnet wouldn't do it and I doubt any magnets you or I have seen in a common house hold would do. So I would say no.

Paul

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Well.
by bob b / October 2, 2007 12:48 AM PDT
In reply to: What about...

What about a magnet? Magnets are supposed to erase data from discs so wouldn't that be an option as well? Would that mess up a hard drive so that nothing could be put on it again ever? Just curious.
------------
I'm not a HD guru....perhaps what your saying is true.
However the focus of this thread is not about putting more data on a HD.

But rather how to keep the data that is on the HD from being recovered.
It is my understanding (limited reading) there is NO 100% effective way to erase a HD.

Data recovery houses have some very effective tools.

Run a file shredder prog or disk wipe util 100's of times.
Send the HD to a data recovery house along with a blank check.
I suspect you'll be amazed at the amount of data that is recoverable.

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I have already used the product key if it makes a difference
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 1, 2007 9:05 AM PDT

Yep, it makes a difference.. If the installation disc (Recovery disc) came with the computer and is OEM, then you'll need to use the product key on ONLY this one computer. On the other hand, if the disc is a standard/full XP installation disc and you've already used the XP product key on another computer, then you can't use it on this one as well when preparing it for sale. Unless your version of XP has the option to install on a second personal computer, it won't validate and as such, you'd be selling the computer without a legal OS.

Yes, formatting the computer will eliminate the operating system but to securely wipe the drive, programs such as those mentioned earlier, Dban, Killdisk, etc. are a better alternative.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Are you sure?
by BrianZachary / October 1, 2007 2:21 PM PDT

Grif Thomas:
"Yep, it makes a difference.. If the installation disc (Recovery disc) came with the computer and is OEM, then you'll need to use the product key on ONLY this one computer. On the other hand, if the disc is a standard/full XP installation disc and you've already used the XP product key on another computer, then you can't use it on this one as well when preparing it for sale. Unless your version of XP has the option to install on a second personal computer, it won't validate and as such, you'd be selling the computer without a legal OS."

My friend used the recovery disc from one computer he bought to install that operating system onto a different computer and he used the key code that came with the first computer, which went right in and validated. He now has both computers with the same operating system. Does that make the install on the second computer an illegal copy? If you buy a computer, don't you own everything that comes with that computer, since you paid all that money for it? And putting anything from that computer onto another one shouldn't be considered illegal if you own both the computer and whatever you put on it and use it for personal use. It's one thing to make copies and sell them to people, but for your own personal use, if you buy something, you should be able to use as you see fit.

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Me too!
by chippyrcr43 / October 1, 2007 9:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Are you sure?

I was wondering about the same thing. I wanted to replace my eMachines hard drive with a 320gb HD. But I was not sure as to whether or not I could use my "eMachines System Recovery CD/DVD" to install Windows XP on the new hard dive.

-Tyler

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Tyler, That's A Different Issue..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 2, 2007 4:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Me too!

Since you are simply replacing the hard drive on the same machine, YES, the System Recovery Disc should correctly and legally install everything on the new hard drive.. Still, it must be on the same machine with the same motherboard, etc.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Alright!
by chippyrcr43 / October 2, 2007 8:35 AM PDT

Ok, thanks alot for your help guys! But I'm just curious, why would changing the motherboard make a difference? What if someone were to get a new motherboad and cpu, but keep their hard drive, would the System Restore Disk still work?

-Tyler

(P.S.) As I said I was just curious ^.^ I am building a new computer and I am going to upgrade from XP HOME SP2. I'm going to try XP Professional or keep working with Ubuntu!

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If The Motherboard and CPU Were...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 2, 2007 10:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Alright!

...identical to the originals, then the Recovery Disc would "probably" work correctly, assuming that the model numbers were the same as the previous ones.

Basically, Microsoft says if you install a new motherboard or CPU, then you've got a different computer.. At that point, you get to contact Microsoft and discuss it with them.. Sometimes, they can be quite agreeable.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Thans alot
by chippyrcr43 / October 2, 2007 11:57 AM PDT

Thanks a lot Grif! I will certainly tell my dad about this. He may want to upgrade more than a new hard drive on his eMachines. Thanks again.

-Tyler

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'If you buy a computer, don't you own everything ...?'
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 2, 2007 4:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Are you sure?

Nope, you don't "own" everything that comes with that computer. This has been discussed a lot on these forums. You only own the rights to "USE" the operating system and programs installed. Depending on the End User License Agreement (EULA), you may, or may not have the right to install those items on a second computer.. When it comes to OEM operating system installations, you only have the user rights to install it on one system.. It can't legally be "moved" to another system even if the computer dies. If you have questions, look for the EULA on the computer.. It will tell you the options you have.

As to whether the second installation is an illegal copy is entirely dependent on the EULA that came with the computer.. Some knowledge as to the OEM installed key code and the Microsoft Authentication sticker on the computer is important and might explain why it worked. Those two key codes are frequently different when a factory install is made.

Still, what you describe is unusual. Generally, the standard "Recovery disc", (which includes the OS and all the drivers and factory programs), won't install correctly on a second computer with a different motherboard, processor, etc. It just doesn't work. On the other hand, if it was a full OS disc such as those which were used by Dell a few years back, it will install but a correct key number would be required. Either way, it's not legal when OEM software is used unless the EULA says so.. (I've not seen one that allows such.)

There are other full license versions available which allow for installation on an office desktop and a home laptop but once again, you'll need to read the user's license to see the options.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Yes, it is illegal.
by Edward ODaniel / October 2, 2007 7:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Are you sure?
My friend used the recovery disc from one computer he bought to install that operating system onto a different computer and he used the key code that came with the first computer, which went right in and validated. He now has both computers with the same operating system. Does that make the install on the second computer an illegal copy?

As already stated, OEM software from Microsoft (especially Operating Systems) are tied to the computer they were purchased with. Only FPP (also known as retail packages) software can be uninstalled from one computer and re-installed on another legally.

If you build your own you can buy the software but you then fall under Microsoft's System Builder License which makes the OEM software you install live and die with the computer you install it on. You can TRANSFER the software as long as the whole computer goes with it to run it. Here is a handy link that explains it rather adequately:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/4/4/14441b37-78ff-4b60-b726-6d91f81d3fa7/os_reqs.doc (you can download the document at that link or read it as HTML by clicking here on this link.

OEM LICENSES
Transfer of a Windows License
The OEM license for the Windows desktop PC operating system is ?tied? to the device on which software is first installed. Accordingly, customers may not transfer the OEM license to a third party without that device. As long as the license and device remain together, there is no limit to the number of times they may be transferred.

Reassignment of a Windows License
The OEM license for the Windows operating system for desktop PCs is ?tied? to the device on which it is preinstalled. Accordingly, customers may not reassign it to a different device

One reason Microsoft doesn't allow OEM licenses to be ttransferred from one PC to another is because the system builder is the end user support and a system builder has no responsibility to support a license that has been transferred from a PC he made to another he didn't profit from.
Licensing Guide - http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7269023
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OK, I get it.
by BrianZachary / October 2, 2007 7:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes, it is illegal.

But this part doesn't make sense to me:

"Transfer of a Windows License
The OEM license for the Windows desktop PC operating system is ?tied? to the device on which software is first installed. Accordingly, customers may not transfer the OEM license to a third party without that device. As long as the license and device remain together, there is no limit to the number of times they may be transferred."

How can the operating system be transferred from one computer to another and at the same time move with the device? That's a paradox. By "device" I'm assuming it means part or the whole of the computer, which in itself doesn't make sense if it's being 'transferred".

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Transfered to a Third Party Is NOT A Computer...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / October 2, 2007 10:28 AM PDT
In reply to: OK, I get it.

That means the computer and it's OEM operating system can be sold/transfered to a PERSON (third party) but only as a complete unit. It can't be changed from one computer to another..

Hope this helps.

Grif

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