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erase memory

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Anonymous
a b } Memory
April 25, 2004 7:03:40 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win95.general.discussion (More info?)

Isnt there a hardware piece that I can take out of my
computer to erase all memory before I give it away to
someone so that they dont find out information about
myself that might be on there?

More about : erase memory

Anonymous
a b } Memory
April 25, 2004 7:23:08 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win95.general.discussion (More info?)

MIKE F wrote:
> Isnt there a hardware piece that I can take out of my
> computer to erase all memory before I give it away to
> someone so that they dont find out information about
> myself that might be on there?

What doe you mean by "memory" in this instance?

Taken literally, that would mean RAM. You erase RAM by powering off the
computer.

But I suspect that's not what you mean. I think you want to erase the hard
drive. How to erase this depends on how thoroughly you want to do it. For
example, on one extreme, it probably isn't possible for you do erase it so
thoroughly that nobody anywhere could ever recover it given the right
tools - on the other extreme, very few users are going to have any
sophistication to look past the first layer or two of deletion. (There are
uncounted variations in between these two extremes.)

I suggest this approach: Make a Windows boot floppy and make sure that both
FORMAT and FDISK are on it. Boot from the floppy. Type:
FORMAT C:
(and press Enter). Confirm when it asks if you're sure, etc., and let it
wipe your drive. Repeat with each other partion (drive letter) that you have
on the hard drive (e.g., FORMAT D:) .

If you wish, you can format each drive 2 or 3 times. This is almost
overkill, but a second format does make recovery a tiny bit harder to do.

Then, just to make their life harder, launch the program FDISK off the
floppy. This isn't quite so easy to explain in a short newsgroup post, but
basically it has menus that are almost as clear a they need to be <g>. What
you want to tell it to do is to delete each partition on the hard drive.
With a little patience, this should go quickly and easily for you.

What I've described is probably a step or two more than you really need to
do, but I think it hits the level of concern your question expressed.

Write back if you have any more questions.

--
Jim Eshelman, MS-MVP Windows http://aumha.org/
AumHa Forums: http://forum.aumha.org/
The Parasite Fight: http://aumha.org/a/parasite.htm
Computer Health: http://aumha.org/a/health.htm
Troubleshooting: http://aumha.org/a/tshoot.htm
Anonymous
a b } Memory
April 25, 2004 10:51:36 PM

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.win95.general.discussion (More info?)

>Isnt there a hardware piece that I can take out of my
>computer to erase all memory before I give it away to
>someone so that they dont find out information about
>myself that might be on there?

No, there is no such simple solution. Moreover, it isn't clear that
you want to erase abolutely everything because the computer needs an
operating system. If you intend to give the computer to someone in a
workable state, then you need to leave it with Windows still
operative.

1, To erase everything, the simplest method is to reformat the
harddisk. First, make a bootable "Windows Startup Disk". To do this,
start Control Panel, choose "Add/Remove Programs", and select the tab
labeled "Startup Disk". Alternatively, you can obtain a Windows
Startup Disk at:

http://www.bootdisk.com/

Put the Windows Startup Disk in the floppy drive and turn on the
computer. You will get a prompt that says A:>. Then enter the command:
format c: /s
The format program will then write zeros all over the harddisk. The
result will be a computer that will start MS-DOS but will not run
Windows. If you want Windows to be operative, you will then have to
(a) install the software needed to enable the CD-ROM drive and (b)
install Windows. Here is how to add your CD-ROM software to drive C:.

The CD-ROM driver will normally have a name with the letters CD in it
and it will have the extension .SYS. One way to get a CD-ROM driver is
to run the installation program that came with the CD-ROM. Also, you
can usually get a driver from the web site of the companmy that made
the CD-ROM. Or you can search your C: drive for *CD*.SYS.

Using Notepad or any word processor, make a text file, name it
CONFIG.SYS and add it to drive C:. This file should look like this,
but with the name of your CD-ROM driver in place of CDDRIVER.SYS:

DEVICE=CDDRIVER.SYS /D:MSCD000
DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS

Also, add a copy of MSCDEX.EXE to the boot disk. You can get MSCDEX
from the folder C:\Windows\Command. Then Using Notepad or any word
processor, make a text file, name it AUTOEXEC.BAT and add it to the
bootdisk. It should look like this:

MSCDEX.EXE /D:MSCD000

Reboot. You should then have a working MS-DOS on drive C: that can
read the CD-ROM. Insert the Winodws CD-ROM, in DOS give the commands

D:setup

2. You can just delete all the files on drive C: that are personal --
letters, spreadsheets, databases. Then empty the Recycling Bin. This
will make your personal data invisible to casual users but someone
with the right knowledge or the right software will be able to recover
those files. To assure that the files are unreadable, you need to
write something all over the harddrive until the harddrive is entirely
full. This is fairly easy to do by simply creating a word-processing
document that contains random digits and then making this document
bigger and bigger and bigger by pasting a copy of it into itself.

You also need to get your name out of the Registry (and possibly out
of application programs such as Word), Go to Start/Run and enter
"regedit". Search for your name. Wherever you find it, substitute
"Anonymous" or "John Doe".

You may also want to uninstall some or all application programs. You
can do this via the "Add/Remove Programs" module in Control Panel.

Bill Starbuck (MVP)
!