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Author Topic: How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?  (Read 11034 times)

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« on: 03/03/2011 12:31:32 »
I'm about to throw away/recycle an old laptop !...I'm in the process of deleting/cleaning everything I can off it. I do know that although data seems to be deleted it is still retrievable yes ?

Why is that ? ...and besides smashing it ..is there a way to guarantee deletion of all data ?..strong magnet ?




Ta



 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2011 12:58:35 »
The people who make CCleaner also make a free program called Recuva, which shows files which have been put in the trash but have not been overwritten so can be recovered. Recuva also has the option to securely overwrite any found files. Recova gives the option to overwrite 1, 3, 7 or 35 times, but one overwrite is sufficient.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recuva

[I've assumed you’re using a Windows OS]

BTW If you are planning on recycling or re-selling the computer note that if you do manage to alter the hard drive with a magnet it will render it unusable: as it will also delete magnetic information which guides which position the hard drives's read/write head. 
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 13:47:02 by RD »
 

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2011 13:08:54 »
The people who make CCleaner also make a free program called Recuva, which shows files which have been put in the trash but have not been overwritten so can be recovered. Recuva also has the option to securely overwrite any found files.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recuva

[I've assumed you’re using a Windows OS]


Thanks RD...yes..It's windows XP...thing is....no connection to the internet on it....so I can't download anything to it. I does have CCleaner on it and I've been using it to uninstall and wipe away as much stuff as I can. I've manually deleted all documents and pictures but I gather they are still on there really eh ?...it has a floppy drive !!...it's a 2002 Dell !

 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #3 on: 03/03/2011 13:27:29 »
.It's windows XP...thing is....no connection to the internet on it....so I can't download anything to it.

You could download Recuva from the computer you are using now onto a USB stick, then transfer it to your old PC that way ...

Apparently Recuva will run on XP ...



If you click this link ... http://www.piriform.com/recuva/download/standard
You should see this ...



Choose to save the file (not run) to your computer then transfer a copy of the "rcsetup139.exe" file to your old (XP) computer via a USB stick, (or via CD / DVD ), then you should be able to run Recuva on your old XP computer.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 13:37:29 by RD »
 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #4 on: 03/03/2011 14:18:15 »
If you have the latest (V3) version of CCleaner it has a "drive wiper" which will securely overwrite the "free space" which is where deleted but possibly recoverable files reside ...



NB: just wipe the “free space”.
If you select to wipe the “entire drive” on the drive which includes the Operating System, (XP, Vista etc), the computer will make an unrecoverable crash at some point during this process when it overwrites the software necessesary to perform overwrite.

You will then have to reinstall the Operating System to make this computer usable, (a reinstall from DVDs or external hard drive, NOT from  a back-up copy of the OS on the computer: it would be wiped), i.e. a “bare metal” reinstall would be required.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 17:44:15 by RD »
 

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #5 on: 03/03/2011 17:10:58 »
Thanks RD...that's simply super info......My USB drive keeps shorting the computer out when I plug a card into it so I will burn a cd and hope the cd player still works !...The Dell has had it's full measure. Unfortunately I have an older version of CCleaner so no 'drive wiper'!

Will report back when all is done.

Thanks again

 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #6 on: 03/03/2011 17:21:23 »
... I will burn a cd and hope the cd player still works !...The Dell has had it's full measure. Unfortunately I have an older version of CCleaner so no 'drive wiper'

You could transfer the latest version of CCleaner, with "drive wiper", at the same time you transfer Recuva (via CD).

Possible method ...

1. Put your files in the trash (recycle bin), e.g. select all, (“Ctrl” + “A”), documents/pictures/music etc then hit delete.
2. Optional. If you run Recuva at this point you can see that the deleted files can be recovered from trash.
3*. Run CCleaner’s drive wiper to wipe “free space only”, (this may take 10s of minutes to complete).
4. Run Recuva (again) to check that there are no recoverable deleted files.

* be absolutely sure you don't need these files, (e.g. you have back up copies), as they cannot be recovered after step 3 is complete.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 18:48:10 by RD »
 

Offline SeanB

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #7 on: 03/03/2011 18:24:25 »
Google DBAN ( www.dban.org ) and burn the ISO to a cd, and boot from it. Will wipe the drive clean very easily, and then you can use the install media to reinstall XP as it was when you bought it.

 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #8 on: 03/03/2011 18:41:17 »
... you can use the install media to reinstall XP as it was when you bought it.

If you have all the reinstall disks, (including the one which creates the Dell partitions before you intall the OS), and you are willing and able to download years worth of XP updates from the internet, and up to date Dell drivers, and reinstall any other software currently on the computer, (e.g. word processor, speadsheet, etc).

I do agree that wiping the entire hard drive and reinstalling the OS is the most secure option.
Certainly if the computer (or just its hard drive) is being binned, rather than reused or sold, then DBAN is the way to go.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 18:55:33 by RD »
 

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #9 on: 03/03/2011 19:10:40 »
Thank ewe both RD and SeanB. I will consider all these options.

Fact is, it's such an ancient laptop that I was going to donate it to my kids school but it runs so slowly that there really is no use for it ...so...my final idea was to scrap it.....so...perhaps using the DBAN is best for me....I truly can not see anybody getting any use from it........

THANK YOU VERY MUCH  :)
 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2011 19:43:10 »
Fact is, it's such an ancient laptop that I was going to donate it to my kids school

You could run CCleaner and Recuva as I have suggested (including the optional step 2),
Then you could be confident your deleted files were gone and could no longer be recuva'd.

Then you could run DBAN (this is overkill) which would wipe everything from the hard drive including the OS.

Then you could give the computer to the school (or other recycle option) where a geeky person could install the XP OS from your install disk if you still have it, or they could install a Linux OS which is free …


Quote
London-based Computer Recycling Specialists

We use data-wiping software on disks that are re-used and reload a new Operating System, rendering recovery of previous data impossible.
http://www.recycle-it.co.uk/

« Last Edit: 03/03/2011 20:15:55 by RD »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #11 on: 04/03/2011 07:06:10 »
If the thing isn't doing anything useful then fit a webcam to it and get it to record a video of the wall until the disk is full.
Then you know exactly what data is on it, and if anyone finds it, who cares?
 

Offline Pumblechook

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #12 on: 04/03/2011 12:01:50 »
I am not sure a magnet will do anything to a hard drive.  Aren't they screened with magnetic material?  At least a steel case if not mu-metal.   I have have removed hard drives form PCs and smashed them up with a big hammer... great fun.
 

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #13 on: 04/03/2011 12:43:35 »
I really like the idea of the webcam but as I have discovered my usb sockets are dead.....I tried plugging something into them but they shorted the laptop....I can see inside that an insulated edge has come off !............now...the thing won't even turn on yet the light to indicate the battery is charging is working !!


I have a feeling it's going to be:





Hammer Time !!




Thank you all again for your kind advice and guidelines. The information supplied will help me in the future too so despite this laptop quitting the Earth in this particular way I have found this thread to be a worthwhile exercise !..


TA !!
 

Offline imatfaal

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #14 on: 04/03/2011 13:54:41 »
The remains of my last couple of harddrives - theyre prettier than cd, but don't stop the heat

 

Offline neilep

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« Reply #15 on: 04/03/2011 14:07:01 »
The remains of my last couple of harddrives - theyre prettier than cd, but don't stop the heat




very nice !!


Having just smashified mine they were in too poor a state to salvage.....*le sigh*
 

Offline SeanB

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #16 on: 04/03/2011 15:05:59 »
If it is old and slow, then the best will be to download a copy of Ubuntu, Debian or some other Linux disro and install it on the computer. You can use the installer to wipe the drive as it installs ( not a secure wipe but will still make it difficult to recover data later) and then use it to surf the web. If you use Puppy linux you can remove the hard drive and boot and run off a USB stick, or install it to the drive and have a very fast laptop again, with a large amount of storage again.
 

Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #17 on: 04/03/2011 15:44:59 »
If it is old and slow, then the best will be to download a copy of Ubuntu, Debian or some other Linux disro and install it on the computer. You can use the installer to wipe the drive as it installs ( not a secure wipe but will still make it difficult to recover data later) and then use it to surf the web. If you use Puppy linux you can remove the hard drive and boot and run off a USB stick, or install it to the drive and have a very fast laptop again, with a large amount of storage again.

Thanks for that very useful info Seanb......however, the computer is now an EX-PUTER..it has ceased to be !!   ;)
 


Offline neilep

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #19 on: 04/03/2011 18:08:01 »
Be absolutely sure...

http://www.diytools.co.uk/diy/Main/sp-53-5230-91345-sealey-cut-off-machine-355mm-230v-portable.asp


awwww....thanks Pumblechook !!..when can i expect delivery ?  ;)


...actually...i was thinking about getting my drill out but.....well...I just continued hammering !!
 

Offline Pumblechook

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #20 on: 05/03/2011 10:12:28 »
A cheap angle grinder would do but you must wear googles.  I learnt the hard way.
 

Offline SeanB

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #21 on: 05/03/2011 11:37:20 »
Just remember that Lithium batteries are not the best thing to bash open, as they tend to go out with a final farewell fireworks and pyrotechnic display.
 

Offline yor_on

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #22 on: 05/03/2011 14:43:21 »
I've read tests where they stated that you could recover data over written seven times. The military have one way to treat old HD as I know and that is Neils hammer. That said you can use electromagnets to wipe data, but they have to be strong. Take a look here but they seem to fall back on a hammer too. "A force field of 10.000 Gauss or one Tesla is necessary to erase the drive." But if you're looking for the opposite, and you should, it's all to easy to have your HD lose info by playing with different OS, and other crashes, then I would recommend 'Ontrack "easyrecovery profesional 6.21" it works as good as anything outside the professional data recovery business you ever will find.

I've found it very useful at occasions. Maybe there are something better out there but I doubt it, I looked extensively before choosing that one.

Simply erasing all the data on your hard drive and formatting it is not enough security. using the delete key on your keyboard in Windows only removes the shortcuts to the files. Deleted files will still reside on the hard drive making them very easy to recover. Formatting your hard drive better than simply erasing the files. Formatting a disk does not erase the data on the disk, only the address tables. If you have decided a disk format is a good choice, do a full format rather than a quick format. Then you can use disk wiping which process will overwrite your entire hard drive with new data, several times. A simple way of doing it manually is to use a Linux OS then reformat your Hard drive into some different layouts, like DOS then NT then some Linux and use 'full/slow format' all three times, with error checking, which will force the software to write a 'one' to all 'bits' on your Hard drive, to then lift it up again to see if it can read it. Do it with three different OS tables and it should be quite difficult to recover. And it's as fast as anything else on the market I guess.

Here is some wiping software if you just want to wipe certain files. Wiping I would expect Darik's Boot and Nuke and Sysinternals to be good at cleaning out your HD, but, the best is your hammer/shredder :)

« Last Edit: 05/03/2011 14:46:35 by yor_on »
 

Offline RD

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #23 on: 05/03/2011 16:17:50 »
A cheap angle grinder would do but you must wear googles.  I learnt the hard way.

I think I caught your act  :) ...
t=2m5s
 

Offline Bored chemist

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #24 on: 05/03/2011 20:32:01 »
Whatever tickles your fancy I guess.
Tell me RD, what were you looking for when you found that?
 

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How Can I Be Sure I've Deleted All My Data ?
« Reply #24 on: 05/03/2011 20:32:01 »

 

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