PDA

View Full Version : Best Software to Clean Up a PC (Windows)


JCorre
08-09-2009, 01:11 PM
Quick Summary:

My mother is giving her desktop pc to some less fortunate friends so that they can use it to do simple web browsing. She has been using this computer for over 5 years.

She would like me to come over and make sure all of her private data is cleaned off before handing the pc over.

My question is, are there any good freeware programs that will help me do this? I know most of the common places to wipe out all of her documents and pictures and such.

I've looked at cnet and found some things that trash all of the internet activity but i'd like something a bit more comprehensive. I was hoping for something that would do some sort of diagnostics that would show me all of the files on C: that were created from her user account?

Swapping out for a new hard drive is not an option. Nor is reimaging from the original windows xp cd.

Any advice would be very helpful. Thanks a ton.

Lobsang
08-09-2009, 01:27 PM
I personally wouldn't trust any 'free programs' that do this type of thing. I strongly reccomend you do it manualy...

back up any files you want to keep (put them on a cd/dvd or usb stick, or even a second hard drive if you have one)

re install windows afresh. In the windows setup when you get to the bit about where to install it click on the main partition. Delete it. Create a new partition. Install windows on it. As well as clearing any private data the computer will run better (for a while) with a fresh installation.

KlondikeGeoff
08-09-2009, 02:12 PM
I have used Eraser (http://eraser.heidi.ie/) which overwrites any files you choose several times, and everything I have read states this is an excellent way to accomplish it.

I have used it on two old computers I got rid of, and tried everything before selling them to restore an overwritten file. It could not be done.

JCorre
08-09-2009, 02:55 PM
I personally wouldn't trust any 'free programs' that do this type of thing. I strongly reccomend you do it manualy...

back up any files you want to keep (put them on a cd/dvd or usb stick, or even a second hard drive if you have one)

re install windows afresh. In the windows setup when you get to the bit about where to install it click on the main partition. Delete it. Create a new partition. Install windows on it. As well as clearing any private data the computer will run better (for a while) with a fresh installation.

Can you reinstall windows without the original cd?

JCorre
08-09-2009, 02:56 PM
I have used Eraser (http://eraser.heidi.ie/) which overwrites any files you choose several times, and everything I have read states this is an excellent way to accomplish it.

I have used it on two old computers I got rid of, and tried everything before selling them to restore an overwritten file. It could not be done.

Thanks! I will check it out.

Lobsang
08-09-2009, 02:57 PM
Can you reinstall windows without the original cd?



Afraid not. But if you have the serial number (usually on a sticker stuck to your PC somewhere) you could use anyone's copy of windows as long as it's the same version.

As long as you use your key to install it, it's perfectly legal to use someone else's actual copy.

Markxxx
08-09-2009, 05:05 PM
Check out Snapfiles (http://snapfiles.com) and look around. I do agree with the poster who said to just reinstall Windows. It's just a lot easier all the way around.

Can you make a recovery disk? If it's OEM you can sometimes obtain these from the computer maker on their website.

Here a site from MS (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/326246/en-us) you may find helpful to look at, if you want to reinstall

astro
08-09-2009, 08:41 PM
The real world chances that someone in this computer lacking family of less fortunate people is going have the savvy or inclination to go data mining and re-assemble deleted files is about the same probability that you would get hit by a meteorite. Just clear the documents and other data areas, clear the net caches and bookmarks and you'll be fine.