View Full Version : Wiping a laptop before selling it

13-08-2010, 10:01 AM

Just reading in the latest issue that it's easy to sell a laptop. That may be, but how can you be sure that you've wiped all your personal details off the device before selling it on?

I'm talking about Facebook logins, online banking details, user names and passwords for all kinds of sites and probably other things I don't even know about.

Is there a way of wiping your laptop clean before selling it on. If so - how and where?


Speedy Gonzales
13-08-2010, 10:07 AM
Download this ISO then burn it to a cd, then boot from it. It may take a while. Depending on how big the hdd is. Its only 10.5 mb. So wont take long to download / burn


13-08-2010, 10:18 AM
Excellent. Thanks for the "speedy" response.

What if it's a notebook without a CD drive I'm after wiping?

13-08-2010, 10:20 AM
Excellent. Thanks for the "speedy" response.

What if it's a notebook without a CD drive I'm after wiping?

There is a floppy dos version on the site as well!

13-08-2010, 10:29 AM
You do realise that if you use the application that Speedy suggested that it will wipe your entire hard drive clean? This means you will need to reinstall the Windows operating system, motherboard drivers, graphic drivers and any other driver required for the laptop to function, before you sell it?

Or are you just wanting to remove your personal files without removing the Windows operating system?

13-08-2010, 10:40 AM

I'm just wanting to remove personal files without removing the Windows operating system.

Speedy Gonzales
13-08-2010, 10:41 AM
In that case, dont use that program

13-08-2010, 10:50 AM
Toooooo laaaaaatte!

Only joking (but phew).

13-08-2010, 11:16 AM
What if you make a new user account then remove yours?

this may be a worthwhile read

13-08-2010, 11:17 AM
easiest way is prob do what speedy said then use your recovery cd to load the stuff back on. or use the hidden partition to access the setup files.

or ... hows the customer gonna have a licensed windows? just installed? no recovery options?

13-08-2010, 11:28 AM

So it's not easy to sell a laptop/netbook then?

13-08-2010, 11:31 AM
like anything else .. a customer may want windows licensed. well wouldn't you. sure you can sell anything without it but some customers may want a drop in price....

what did the netbook come with originally? is there a sticker on netbook re: the license? what happens if a customer wants to reinstall the software? are they stuffed?

the netbook windows is a bit diff to the PC version afaik. they come with the starter version and this is not available at the shops i think. nor can they access it thru their mates. cos many big brand netbooks the file is locked to their bios....

Speedy Gonzales
13-08-2010, 11:32 AM
I would wipe it clean.. And let whoever buys it install windows from scratch. Too bad if they dont have windows

13-08-2010, 12:14 PM
So it's not that easy to sell a laptop then?

13-08-2010, 12:21 PM
go on trademe and have a look.
generally speaking even if you have the software pple generally don't pay big bucks, that's what happens to technology. how old is it? without software i guess you might lose $100? you may not appeal to the more consumer customers. but anyway new ones can be had for like $599 so it's not like you will be making heaps.

13-08-2010, 12:47 PM
So there's no simple way of ensuring you can sell a laptop without being 100% sure the buyer isn't going to steal your identity?

13-08-2010, 12:56 PM
Its actually very easy -- the Laptop Will have either a Set of recovery CD's or a hidden recovery partition.

Simply boot from what ever is supplied, put it back to factory default - if it asks for user details (name) put owner.

For all intense purposes your data is gone - if someone "really" wanted to get it back, they could, but they would have the skill and software to do it.

13-08-2010, 12:59 PM
yeah if you mean identity. LOL. your current windows may say licensed to Joe Smith. Oh .. hi Joe! ..... so back to the point, you gonna give them no software at all or do you have the hidden partition for installation? i assume your cdrom less netbook does not have a CD or a DVD.

if ya paranoid do what speedy said and then reinstall windows or not....

13-08-2010, 01:27 PM
So all those laptops on Trade Me could easily have personal details on?

13-08-2010, 01:35 PM

13-08-2010, 01:41 PM
That's crazy in this day and age of cyber crime!?

I'd rather not sell it and let it gather dust.

13-08-2010, 03:08 PM
But not everybody whos buys laptops off trademe is out to steal the identity of the buyer
Take the hard drive out and sell it without one. It is the only way to make sure. (nuke the site from orbit :))

13-08-2010, 03:13 PM
Anyone who sells a laptop without making sure it's been wiped clean clearly has no idea of the dangers of the world we live in.

Crims don't need to whack you with a baseball bat anymore to steal your credit cards.

(Took me a while but Aliens!)

13-08-2010, 03:18 PM
Haha nice one
Yeah, and if you dont need the money then keep it, let it gather dust.

13-08-2010, 03:19 PM
Do you have the install CDs that came with the laptop? If yes that use that particular program and wipe the whole drive, after that, just reinstall the OS and other drivers, if you dont have the install CDs than just create another admin account and, log into that and just delete your profile folder.

13-08-2010, 03:27 PM
I'm mainly talking about an notebook that has no CD drive at all.

13-08-2010, 03:42 PM
Remeove the hard drive and put it through a shredder or knock the sh** out of it with a sledge hammer.

Then you will know that your data is safe.

13-08-2010, 03:45 PM
I'm mainly talking about an notebook that has no CD drive at all.

when you start the netbook up, does it tell you to press a special key to access installation or a recovery thingy? that can be your CD built into the hard drive.

13-08-2010, 03:50 PM
I'm mainly talking about an notebook that has no CD drive at all.

Sounds like a netbook.

There are programs that offer a "secure delete" option which overwrites your data multiple times when deleting personal files but I'm not sure how they handle internet cache or saved passwords for MS apps such as Internet Explorer.

If Firefox or Opera is installed you can secure delete the files which will take care of the saved passwords and internet cache in them.

System Info (http://majorgeeks.com/SIW_System_Info_d4387.html) is a good program that will let you know what passwords and other "secrets" are viewable on your system so that you will be able to see if they have been cleaned out or not.

13-08-2010, 03:56 PM
What about something like this: