Friendly and Helpful Consultants

Personal Info Cleanup

If you're going to sell or give away a computer, some of your personal information will go along with it if not scrubbed. Most of this is pretty innocuous (your Minesweeper high scores, your news website cookies) but some may be serious (Quicken / MS-Money data, saved passwords for e-banking, chat logs with your best friend's wife). We can scrub it away for you.

We offer several options to meet different needs:

Search and Destroy

The most labor-intensive method, it's most appropriate when you don't have anything terribly sensitive on the machine, and need to preserve the existing OS and software. (Reinstalling the OS and software, if not needed for other purposes, can also be labor-intensive. It may even be illegal - Microsoft in particular requires that you have the original CD and key, or we're assisting you in violating their license).

This method entails one of us combing the data on your drive for anything personal, deleting it, then overwriting the empty areas of the disk with random numbers (to prevent anyone from reading the deleted data). Getting any residual information (unless we miss something) would require the services of a professional data-recovery company, at a high cost.

Disk Wipe

This gets rid of everything on your hard drive. The computer will need an OS and software installed after this to be useful (though that may be the purchaser's / recipient's problem). We have software that will overwrite everything on the disk, several times, with random numbers.

The only data possibly missed by this method would be old data in sectors of the drive that went bad (the drive firmware won't let you get to it, even to write over it). Other than that, it would take a major government (or an adversary with similar resources) to recover anything.

Disk Destruction

I say we take off, and nuke the whole site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

-- Ellen Ripley, Aliens

If your paranoia level requires it, we can do the above disk wipe, and then physically destroy the drive's platters. The drive is now unusable (of course) but the data is gone forever.