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Best way to clean computer files

1326 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  BigDaddy
So my roommate moved out and this is his computer. I have plenty of stuff that once I copy off I would like noone to be able to get back. (quicken, personal emails, ect, ect) What is the easiest way to do this? Formatting it is not a option due to the fact that all his stuff is still on here too. I need to take care of all this stuff tonight. Also might not be online for a while. I pulled out my old PC and plan on hooking the cable modem to it but I'm missing a card. It's not in this machine and I have no idea where it is.
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This is what I do to wipe out software and any of it's remnants:

Make a backup of your regedit file (just in case you screw up)
start>run>regedit>file>export to desktop
start>search>tools>folder options>UNHIDE THE HIDDEN FOLDERS
uninstall the software
start>run>regedit Then navigate yourself to to find an type in the name of the software and hit find - if anything from the software is left over, it'll show in the wondow on the right. Select it, delete it, then F3 to find the next one. Do this till everything is gone.
In notepad, open the win.ini file (located in Windows folder) and see if there's anything about the software too, and delete it.
Wipe out temp folders. Start>search>files or folders>type in *.tmp and delete all
Clean out your recycle bin

Should be wiped out completely. That's what I do and it works for me!
(Freakin' Symantec Software!!)
I can do it backwards & in my sleep.....
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Thanks Shandog but what about just a few files....not whole software programs.

Also where can I get a cable modem card for my old school PC?
A free, quick way that will get rid of most of it...

Backup and remove all of your files.
Run the defragment utility on that hard drive.

Defrag will reorginize the drive to its max efficency. This will cause date to be written over the places where most of your data was, making it truly erased. There is however no garentee that this method will cover all of the sectors on the drive that had your data, but it is free.

I have seen software in computer stores that will truly delete files. Not just there headers. I don't think that it is too expensive. Unfortunatly no software titles come to mind.

Good luck.
QUOTE(rerun @ Jun 9 2003, 07:13 PM)Thanks Shandog but what about just a few files....not whole software programs.

Also where can I get a cable modem card for my old school PC?
Simple: Select what you wanna get rid of and hit the "delete" key.
It's over here > > > > > > > > >

Dunnow about the cable card dude
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Well it's not like this info is WMD files or anything. It's just a checkbook and crap. So I'm sure that will work for me.
QUOTE(Shandog @ Jun 9 2003, 06:15 PM)Simple: Select what you wanna get rid of and hit the "delete" key.
It's over here > > > > > > > > >

That only gets rid of the file header. The data can still be recovered untill that physical portion of the disk is ovewritten.

If you trusted your roommate with that data on his PC you should be OK knowing that your files will eventally get overwritten.
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The delete, Empty Recycle bin, and defrag idea sounds good. Like others have said there is software that can make sure it's gone, but if you were already sharing your computer with this guy, you can probably trust that he isn't going to get the software to dig up your old files, no?

Post some of the programs that you have to cleanup personal files from, and we can help you find which files you need.

ie, if you have your mail in Outlook Express, it may be different files than if you have the full Outlook 2000. If you have AOL... I'm sorry.
What Shandog said. I have never used Norton's regedit software either...

Defraggin after will help eliminate them as well.

Norton's Wipeinfo......but be careful since it's not your machine.

Actually there are companies that can retrieve data off any hard-drive no matter what you do to it! That's to make you think <_< .....Even a virus can survive a reformatting! That is why it's so important to eliminate it before the reformatting process.

You can go to any computer store and get a nic card (network card with a rj-45 plug) that hooks your computer to the cable modem via the rj45 cable.

try searching CNET.COMfor a good deal on the net card.

Hope this helps..good luck!
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It's not that I don't trust him at all. He could of easily looked at it anytime on this computer. Along with anyone else that ever sat here. (many have over the years) But he's living with other people now. (Not that I don't trust them) But it's Where this computer will end up in the end that I worry. I heard a study some students did where they bought a ton of used computer and were able to retrive all sorts of personal data from them. (SS#, Credit card #, Account #'s) People think cause they hit the Delete key that it's gone and we all know that's just not true.

Any computer I ever throw out or get rid of will be less a hard drive for these reasons. Maybe I'm a little paroind but I know of 2 people that have had there identies stolen already and I'm sure this is a crime that will only increase with the age of cyber world.
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plus all the freaky/kinky porn that is on the computer could have people questioning my morality

did i say "my morality"?, i meant reruns
rerun, if you need a nic card let me know I have a dozen Dlink 530TX+ cards. Free to you bud.

Skip the regedit, not something I would recommend to anyone not good with pc's. If its files and not programs, deleting is your best choice.
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Well thanks for the offer Hammer but I snagged what I think will work form work. I'll let you know if I have any problems.

I ended up just Del said files than cleaning rey bin than ran the is gone and out of my hands now.

Now I need to get the new/very old one working again. No computer at home could be the death of me.
Sorry about being late to this party....

Several years ago I was working closely with a transnational telecom firm on advanced prototypes. Not quite black box but I worked under an NDA and had to follow strict procedures for handling the proprietary data that came my way. Part of this involded handling the removal of data.

A discussion of this topic can be very involved, but here are a few facts for anyone interested in protecting their identity, data, letters to Mom etc.

If you want to securely remove or move files there are various levels of action you can take and each provide a certain level of performance and effectiveness. And remember, don't shoot the messenger!!!

Deleting files is totally (fing) useless.
Any shmo looking to scam your data will get around that as fast as plugging your HD into their own machine. There is quite the cottage inddustry doing just that looking for whatever they can find.

A Defrag can help but will do little to stop any determined person.

Either of these actions will only provide a false sense of security.
Although the only way to be totally sure is to completely destroy the HD, like Ahnold did in T2 for example. Melt that baby DOWN. But since most of us do not have access to a blast furnace or smelting facility, these are sound options...

Use an Erasing utility such as ... "Eraser" (go figure!) Such utililties offer very good functionality and several different algorithms for removing data from prying eyes.

To give you an idea of how useless reformatting or emptying the recycle bin is, conside this: The US Department of Defense's standards for erasing start at a minimum of 3 complete overwrites with specific algorithms. The recommended is "Gutmann" which uses 35 passes! 35!

Ever hear of PGP? Probably not but you should make the effort. You can get PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) free for personal use here. Take 15 minutes of your day to find out how to protect yourself. PGP provides secure encryption of data such as email and is VERY VERY VERY difficult to break even if you are a Virginia farmboy. ZIP passwords? Yeah right.

Good luck!
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Thanks Big Daddy you always come thru with the knowledge.
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