T Nation

Cleaning Your PC?

I have a “friend” who is getting a new company laptop because his old one is crapping out on him. Before returning the old one (he works remotely and will be mailing it back), he would like to give it a thorough once-over just in case he might have, accidently of course, visited some inappropriate websites over the years.

You can find all sorts of free programs to clean caches, delete history and all that other crap, but I understand there’s still ways to find things you think are gone.

Anyone know of any good whitespace-bleaching programs or have any other tips on how to get this thing as clean as a virgin’s honeypot (interestingly, he may have visited a site with this name) before sending back?

it’s highly doubtful that the company will be looking deep enough to get past a simple emptying of the recycle bin.

If wiping the entire drive is an option, that’s probably the best. Load up something like http://knopperdisk.knopper.tk/, boot off that then format and mkfs the drive a few times.

With his next laptop remind him to take an image BEFORE he visits porn sites so when he has to send it back he can simply put the virgin image back on it.

Lawl.

“Eraser” has a feature which allows you to wipe the empty space on your harddrive. That way anything you have deleted is truly deleted

It can also make a boot floppy / cd which allows you to wipe the whole drive.

http://www.heidi.ie/node/6

Just reinstall windows or whatever OS you use.

[quote]Sick Rick wrote:
Just reinstall windows or whatever OS you use.[/quote]

Do not listen to this. Just formatting a drive is not enough to erase traces of old files.

Thanks all!

[quote]Travacolypse wrote:
Sick Rick wrote:
Just reinstall windows or whatever OS you use.

Do not listen to this. Just formatting a drive is not enough to erase traces of old files.[/quote]

A low level format will do the trick though.

Or you can replace the hard drive with a new one.

go ahead and use one of the bootable operating systems described. i would recommend TRK - a linux based system. then, use the command ‘shred’ to overwrite the entire drive. this is not formatting, it is actually inserting random code throughout the entire hard disk.

search google on it, or use the “man” (for manual) or shred -i to find out more options and commands.

[quote]bgundy wrote:
go ahead and use one of the bootable operating systems described. i would recommend TRK - a linux based system. then, use the command ‘shred’ to overwrite the entire drive.

this is not formatting, it is actually inserting random code throughout the entire hard disk. search google on it, or use the “man” (for manual) or shred -i to find out more options and commands.[/quote]

IIRC, you’ll have to overwrite the sector around 30 times to completely remove all traces.

I’ve worked in an area involving cybercrime and you’d be shocked how much data I’ve seen pulled off HDs that were thoroughly formatted.