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Windows 7: privacy risk when preparing a PC to be sold

01 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
privacy risk when preparing a PC to be sold

This is a little different kind of security question.

I have one too many PCs after renting a cloud server. I will sell the surplus. I reformatted, reinstalled Windows and the Service Pack and numerous Windows Updates. It was ready to be sold.

Unfortunately, I could not resist doing a little webmail checking and posting on sites such as this one that require a log in. Since passwords tend to get saved, what do I need to do to clear this computer of private data? I know I can go into Internet Explorer and clear the browser history but I read somewhere that passwords get stored encrypted in the registry. How would I get rid of that and all else that needs getting rid of, please? Browsing with Internet Explorer 9 is the only thing I have done with this fresh install.

I don't want to do the reformat and installations again because the number of Windows Updates is significant.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit
 
 

I think you just log out of the Web-Mail sites and other sites like this one. If you are using Chrome then you can go to Settings>Personal Stuff and after pressing the Manage Password Button delete all your saved passwords. You can do the same in other Browsers too.

That should be adequate security to cover most cases. If however you had kept extremely sensitive data earlier on the Computer and the buyer is hell bent on getting it then he can do it and so it is better not to sell the machines at all. I had read somewhere that in that case the hard disks should be shredded and then melted. But I think it is just paranoia to us run of the mill persons.

Good Luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

It was a bit of trouble but I formatted and reinstalled. I'm quite sure I read that the registry is used for encrypted passwords.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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