Preparing a Mobile or PC for Resale or Donation

Friday, July 29, 2011

Robert Siciliano

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You may have read my last post where I talked about “Clean the Clutter” out of your life and sell all the stuff you don’t absolutely need.

In my Clean the Clutter process I sold 1 Windows XP laptop computer (missing lots of keys), 2 Windows XP desktops and 5 mobile phones all on Craigslist.

Prior to selling my electronics I wiped all the data off of each device. Cleaning all the data off your salable electronics is absolutely essential in our identity theft prone world.

It’s easy.

Reinstall your operating system: The best and quickest want to clean your data is to re-install the operating system. For Windows based PCs insert your operating systems disk and restart the PC.

When restarting keep hitting F12 or your PC may want you to hit F2 or F8 and select “boot from CD” and follow the prompts. Most data forensics guys will tell you to reinstall 3 times to really clean it out.

Microsoft has more instructions here that just confuses me: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall or use KillDisk HERE

Clean your Phone: For mobile phones you want to do a factory reset. All software to do this is already on the phone.

  • Android factory reset: Menu > Settings > Privacy > Factory data reset.
  • iPhone factory reset: Settings > General > Reset > reset all settings.
  • Blackberry factory reset: Options > Security Options > General Settings > Menu > Wipe Handheld.
  • Windows 7 phone factory reset: Settings > About > Reset Phone

Any other operating systems or Symbian based phones you will need to do a search on your phone online such as “Phone Name, Model Number, Carrier, Factory reset”

Remember to remove or wipe any media like SD cards and CD/DVDs too.

Otherwise get a drill and poke lots of holes in the device and its hard drive or hit it with a sledge hammer. This may be lots of fun, however this may make it less saleable.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing home security and identity theft on TBS Movie and a Makeover. Disclosures.

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Mark H. Reinstalling Windows (even multiple times with format in between -- and who has time for that) can still leave lots of recoverable data on the HDD. This problem has already been solved, though. Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) is freely downloadable and a single pass will completely wipe a drive.
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