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I have a Windows 7 laptop that is not charging the battery, neither getting power from it. I'm sending it back to the manufacturer because it is still under warranty. ( can use the a/c adapter, so i still have full access to windows)

Should I be worried about the techs having access to my personal data? They specifically asked that i remove any passwords on my user account so they can log in if needed. I can set up a dummy administrator account on windows that they can use, but can they use that to get at the data stored under my accounts?

I'm mostly worried about my passwords for online accounts, like banks, bills, etc.

Should I be worried about when i get my laptop back if they did anything to it? (Keyloggers, malware, etc)

Is the only safe way to wipe my harddrive before sending it, and wipe it again when getting it back?

I don't mean to sound like i assume the worst of the techs, but i just want to be cautious with my data.

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It's just basic common sense, not any bad will to the techs. You never know what happens in transit. Although a laptop with unencrypted bank account data... I hope it's exclusively used in your home, not on the road. – Daniel Beck Feb 9 '11 at 16:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Personally, I'd backup the system along with all my data and then completely wipe the disk and reinstall it.

When it returns, I'd wipe again, then restore.

You state that you want to be cautious with your data, if you don't do the above, then you aren't being.

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I rarely ever send laptop back to manufacturer, but because I have a plethora of hardware at my disposal, when I do send a laptop back for repair, I just swap the drive with a similar sized/speed drive. This is quick and easy, just as long as your HDD isnt the issue. When it comes to HDDs being the problem, I just find that its easier to deal with HDD manufacturer directly.

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