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I'm about to sell a computer and want to know if there are any good, cheap (hopefully free) programs that will make deleted files unrecoverable. I don't want personal files to be hacked into, and would prefer not to wipe/reformat the harddrive. Thanx
 

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what togg said. You can either give them the hd as is, or reformat it. Not a lot of middle ground. And if you are REALLY concerned about them getting data off, use dban as togg suggested. If you are freakin' worried, only option left is to physically shred the drive. Doubt you'll go that far; at the very least, I would use dban and let them get their own operating system.
 

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Restoration is a very handy program to use to recover deleted files. Everyone should have a copy for that day when a file gets accidently deleted. That is how I have used it for years.

But it also has a wipe feature.
"Restore files which are deleted from the recycle bin or deleted while holding down the Shift key by mistake. Conversely, this program has another function that makes it almost impossible to restore all deleted files. You can use it after deletion of confidential documents, embarrassing files and so on. You don't have to install it, so it doesn't leave any garbage on your PC. It can even be run from a floppy disk."

Right click, Save Target As...
ftp://ftp.externet.hu/pub/mirror/sac/utildisk/rest2514.exe

sekirt
 

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jamesh2923 said:
Wipe the HD. Not only to protect your data but your SW license for Windows prevents your reselling it.
?
A link to that resale clause would be good, because I belive you are incorrect.

The only "restrictions" come with OEM systems is that they can only be sold with the computer that they were installed on, never transferred to another PC. They "live and die" with that PC, irrespective of who may own the PC from time to time.

But to the original question, if you are REALLY concerned about a new owner recovering personal data, then fit a new HDD and reload Windows, keeping the old HDD yourself.

If someone was prepared to throw enough money and time at the old one, data could be retrieved.
 

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There are programs out there that can wipe the free space. Eraser and Ultra-Wipe are two that I have played with. Sysinternals also has a secure file deletion tool but I have never tried it.
 
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