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Is deleting the partion and reformatting enough for security

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December 6, 2006 8:59:24 PM

I recently upgraded from a gaming laptop to a custom PC rig that I had some people build for me. I finally got around to selling the laptop on Ebay. I deleted the old partion, reformatted a new one, and re-installed Windows. Is this enough to completely remove all of my information that was there before? It seems as though everything is gone but I am no computer expert. I know that it stored a lot of personal information including my credit card number. I highly doubt that the buyer is a computer genious that is aiming to steal personal information by spending $600.00 on an Ebay computer from someone half way across the country as there are easier and cheaper ways, but you can never be too sure. Thanks in advance for any help.

I am sorry if this is on the wrong board, as there are so many here!
December 6, 2006 9:36:37 PM

Short answer is NO. A format and re-install is not enough to prevent the data being recovered.

Have a look at something like DBAN if you want to really delete a drive. If you are not scared off by linux there are also plenty of ways to do it from a linux live CD too.
December 6, 2006 9:52:57 PM

Like Kooch66 said, NO. What you did was actually changed 1 byte at the start of the file or folder. With a unerase program every that was not overwritten can be recovered. Eraser57 is a free utility for wiping files/folders and drives.
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December 6, 2006 10:27:29 PM

and if your still not comfortable with that then there is one other option:

buy a "cheapo" hard drive to sell with the system. its not like hard drives are expensive any more. $40 will get yah 80. or just leave the hard drive out.

you keep your old hard drive as a spare or backup and eliminate any fears of someone stealing your data.
December 14, 2006 9:13:49 AM

Technically no. Even if you overwrite a section of data it is possible using sophisticated tools to recover data that has been overwritten even 7 or 8 times. Therefore to fully destroy the data you need to use a tool that randomly overwrites the disk several times, there are a few available out there, even some free ones.

At the end of the day though, how paranoid do you want to be? If this is just run of the mill data I severely doubt some random person you are selling to is going to go through the trouble of running data recovery tools just to see if there is any tasty data that can be recovered. Anyone who has a career in information theft is not going to be buying hard drives to see if they can recover data from them.... in which case just reformat the disk.

But if you are going to lose sleep over it, one of the aforementioned tools is what you need.

Legally speaking you shouldn't be reinstalling Windows on it, that is more likely to land you in trouble than data theft, I hope you realise that!
December 14, 2006 9:35:46 AM

overwrite the drive 7 times,
that should be more than enough.
!