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Possible Duplicates:
Best (preferably free) tool to wipe deleted files on an NTFS filesystem
Is there a program to truly delete all deleted files?
Erasing data before selling a computer

I'm selling my laptop, and I want to make sure no body tries to recover anything. Is re-installing Windows enough? or do I need to purge it? Please suggest me programs to use too, if needed.

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marked as duplicate by Tom Wijsman, sblair, random Jan 22 '11 at 6:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Can you check if the first answer here or any answers here help you? Re-installing and then performing that wipe should get rid of any data and leave the disk with an installed Windows, also make sure that you don't automatically activate it... – Tom Wijsman Jan 22 '11 at 0:37
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The best solutions is called DBAN. If you want to be sure dban it is =) Then install windows again.

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

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+1, and when using DBAN, run with the default settings. Anything above that is excessive and pointless for your needs, even one pass of zeroes will be secure to be honest, but you might as well take the time to do the DoD Short (never know what people will be able to do in future). – Matthieu Cartier Jan 22 '11 at 0:58
+1, but I would NOT reinstall Windows. Explain to your potential buyers that the system was completely wiped and whether you are providing the media or not. I would NEVER buy and use a system someone else loaded. Allowing them to reinstall themselves gives them the confidence you didn't load any malware and prevents them from accusing you of such. – Blackbeagle Jan 22 '11 at 1:08

Use a file shredder and perform a deep format for your hard drive, then re-install Windows after repartitioning your hard drive. This will make it nearly impossible to recover any file.

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No point in using a file shredder if you're then going to zero it. – Matthieu Cartier Jan 22 '11 at 0:59

The only way to completely be sure that no-one can recover your data is to replace your hard disk. If you don't store EXTREMELY sensitive materials on your drive then a normal format should be enough to conceal information from someone that isn't looking hard for it. If anyone such as the police wanted to get information off the drive, they could regardless of the software you use... There are some very clever algorithms out there. There is plenty of software which will try and write over data a few (hundred) times to try and make it very inaccessible, such as Active @ kill disk. If you're just being paranoid, chill out and do a format or two ;)

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Recovery from Mersenne twister, whilst theoretically possible has never been demonstrated. This is all research-level theory, you make it sound like a feasibility, which it isn't. – Matthieu Cartier Jan 22 '11 at 0:57

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