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Author Topic: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning  (Read 4788 times)

Lowell

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How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« on: October 21, 2015, 03:53:33 PM »
I bought a Dell PC 6 weeks ago at Costco and I have had so many problems with it.  It looks up all the time.  Some times it won't shut down, and I get untold commercials when trying to look something up on the web.  Today I was trying to find data on a Dzus fastener, and I got 3 commercials come up when I clicked on the fastener size highlight.

So I am going to return it to Costco.  I haven't put any financial data on it but I did use it for e-mail, reading the forum, etc.  It has windows 8.1.  When It boots up it shows my name and it also show if I have any e-mail.  How do I get rid of it show my name or email before I return it.
Lowell

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donn

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2015, 03:55:44 PM »
Format C:  but that delets everything.  Restore should also do it

cmb

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2015, 03:58:33 PM »
I always use Darik's Boot and Nuke.
Charles

herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2015, 04:07:27 PM »
I would definitely NOT recommend that you Format your C drive if you are planning to return it!

You'll have to restore to factory settings, but at least 1, and likely 2, of the issues you mentioned is malware that you downloaded, so this will just happen with whatever you replace it with unless you change some of your habits, and get a good malware cleaner.

The "commercials" that pop up come from your web links might not even be found with malware. They're nasty suckers to eradicate (I've been there). You have to figure out what the url name is of the company that is doing that, then Google how to get rid of it. I can help you with that if you are interested, OR...

After resetting to factory settings, you might try using it again, just for kicks. But this time, get some good web protection so you don't inadvertently expose yourself to this headache again. We can help you with this.
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chuckbear

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 04:17:25 PM »
Lowell, Do a complete system restore and not just doing a restore point. Doing a restore point will leave all your personal files. Delete any email programs and any other programs you installed FIRST. Then download a free program called Ccleaner. Part of the program will allow you to wipe the free space on your computer. This is where everything you have deleted still lives. That should do it for you. It does sound like you have been hit with a virus or malware, causing the pop up ads and redirects. Any computer you own will need a good anti-virus and anti-malware program installed before you ever connect to the internet. Chuck
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Ned

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2015, 04:44:50 PM »
Normally, I would also recommend Darik's Boot and Nuke, but since you're returning this to the store, they will expect it to be in the same condition as when sold.  There should be a system restore partition on the hard drive, accessible usually through the boot menu, that will wipe all data and programs added since you bought it and restore the original factory image.  No need to delete anything first, the restore image will take care of that.

I would do that anyway, even if you don't return it as you have apparently picked up some malware that's causing your problems.  Exchanging it won't solve those if you do the same things all over again with the new computer.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2015, 05:12:37 PM »
Ned has done a good job of distilling what we all just said  :). When you restore the factory settings, there's no need to delete anything else first, or after. It'll be the same as if you just took it out of the box.

Once you've done that, and know how to do it, it's perfectly safe to just start over if you want to try that, rather than returning it to the store. As long as you like the features you bought it for in the first place, it's highly unlikely there is anything actually wrong with the machine itself.
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Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2015, 05:30:32 PM »
If I go to the control panel I see 3 options for restore

1. Create a recogery drive
2. Open System restore
3. Configure system restore.

Which should I use?
 

edit: I also see a "Remove everything and reinstall Windows"
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 05:32:37 PM by Lowell »
Lowell

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Ned

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2015, 05:56:16 PM »
None, you need to access the boot menu when you restart the computer.  Look for a list of function keys at boot time, one of them will start the recovery procedure.  This article from Dell may apply.  If not, then go to the Dell support web site and search for the information particular to your model.

It's possible the "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" will also start the recovery procedure.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2015, 06:31:16 PM »
Ned, When I turn on the computer, it goes to a sign in screen.  Then I have to sign in before I can go anywhere else. I don't get a boot menu.
Lowell

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Ned

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2015, 06:41:15 PM »
You have to invoke the boot menu with a function key when you see the BIOS screen.  Did you read the article at Dell that I posted?
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2015, 06:46:34 PM »
Yes, but it was for windows 7.  I just don't see what I am looking for.  I decided to do a Dell Backup and Recovery and see how that turns out.  It says it will remove all my personal files.
Lowell

2005 Cherokee28A TT
pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4
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Tempe, Arizona

Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2015, 07:02:28 PM »
Well, it looks like that worked!  When it restarted, it asks for country of origin, language, keyboard layout, and time zone.  Its going back to the store.
Lowell

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Ned

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2015, 07:34:12 PM »
While the article was written about Windows 7, the boot menu is independent of the operation system.  But since you found that the "Remove everything and reinstall Windows" did the same thing, great.

Your problems were not because of the computer, but something you installed or acquired inadvertently.  If you repeat what you did with a new computer, it will happen again.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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SeilerBird

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2015, 07:44:34 PM »
Ned is correct. You should not return the computer. You should start over with the Dell and get an anti virus program and an anti malware program installed. And you should stay away from suspicious web sites, like porno, gambling and warez sites. And stop downloading things off the Internet. And don't open any email attachments.
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WILDEBILL308

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2015, 08:11:17 PM »
Lowell what virus program are you running? When was the last time you checked for updates and run the program?
You are wasting your time if you don't listed to herekittykitty, Ned and SeilerBird.
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herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2015, 08:27:38 PM »
SeilerBird, I am not disagreeing with you, but for someone who's not quite sure what they're looking at/what's going on, you've pretty much just said, "Don't use your computer."  :D

Not that I have the catch-all solution, but in defense of the semi-computer literate, it's getting harder and harder these days to know what's okay and what's not. Even my favorite malware detector couldn't clean out the last "shopping virus" I managed to contract a couple of years ago, but in my case I knew exactly what it was and what I had to do to get rid of the nasty thing.

Karen
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herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2015, 08:38:06 PM »
Ned, starting with Windows 8, you don't have to access the boot menu to restore factory settings (luckily!). But when I wiped my last Win 8.1 drive, I still had to Google how to do that. They don't want to make that TOO easy to do, I guess.  ;)

Karen

P.S. There are lots of geeky places to go for computer info these days, but the last time I had a puzzling tech problem that even Google couldn't find, I came here. It felt weird going to an RV forum for computer advice, but I knew someone here would have the answer. How awesome is that?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 08:40:26 PM by herekittykitty »
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eliallen

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2015, 08:49:09 PM »
Free games and coupon  sites can be a problem.

Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2015, 08:50:47 PM »
The first thing I did after getting the computer was install McAfee Total Protection.  So if I got virus after that, I'm not sure how.   I did take the PC back to Costco and they didn't give me any resistance to taking it back and refunding my purchase price plus tax.  While there, I picked up a new HP computer equivalent to the Dell in ram and disk space.  As it was on sale today, I even saved a few bucks plus it already has Windows 10 installed on it.  Whether I will like Windows 10 remains to be seen.  I have made all my comments n this thread using my old gateway which keeps on ticking but makes so much fan noise, that it is irritating.
Lowell

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Ned

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2015, 08:54:11 PM »
Quote
Ned, starting with Windows 8, you don't have to access the boot menu to restore factory settings (luckily!). But when I wiped my last Win 8.1 drive, I still had to Google how to do that. They don't want to make that TOO easy to do, I guess.  ;)

That's a result of Secure Boot and UEFI.  You get to the recovery options in Windows 8.1 and 10 through the PC settings, Update and Security, Recovery, Advanced Startup.  Since this isn't something that's done often, I don't mind it being put there and removed from the boot time function key options.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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8Muddypaws

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2015, 09:05:41 PM »
You'll soon find the same things happening to the HP.  Part of it may be caused by all of the pre-installed stuff, known as crapware. 

There are several ways of getting rid of crapware.  I've found www.majorgeeks.com to be a great resource.  Use their search function to find 'crapware removal' and choose whichever one appeals to you.  I've used De-Crapifier in the past but I don't know how current it is now.  I build lots more computers than I buy these days and haven't needed it in a long time.
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SeilerBird

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2015, 09:06:28 PM »
SeilerBird, I am not disagreeing with you, but for someone who's not quite sure what they're looking at/what's going on, you've pretty much just said, "Don't use your computer."  :D

Not that I have the catch-all solution, but in defense of the semi-computer literate, it's getting harder and harder these days to know what's okay and what's not. Even my favorite malware detector couldn't clean out the last "shopping virus" I managed to contract a couple of years ago, but in my case I knew exactly what it was and what I had to do to get rid of the nasty thing.
No I did not tell him not to use his computer, I told him how to use it properly. I have been using computers over 35 years and I have never gotten a virus or malware and I have never run anti virus or anti malware. Follow a few simple rules and it becomes almost impossible to get a virus or malware. You just have to restrict yourself to safe sites and not download off the Internet, pretty simple.

I use a Chromebook as my main computer and that really simplifies things.
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RodgerS

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 09:16:22 PM »
Try spending a bit more money...buy a Mac and you won't have to look back.
The only reason to have a Microsoft computer is for personal self torture.
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« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 09:18:53 PM by RodgerS »
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herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2015, 09:19:43 PM »
No I did not tell him not to use his computer, I told him how to use it properly. I have been using computers over 35 years and I have never gotten a virus or malware and I have never run anti virus or anti malware. Follow a few simple rules and it becomes almost impossible to get a virus or malware.

Yes, Sir.

I know you don't like it when I disagree with you, and I'm not, really. I'm just pointing out that it's not "pretty simple" for most of the computer-using public, and I don't want to scare anyone away from asking questions; nor do I think it's necessarily the right answer to tell someone not to use a tool to its full potential.

FWIW, I download things from the web and from email every single day without consequence -- things I need and use, things I went looking for; even (gasp!) executables. I have to; it's part of my job. Very few of them are carriers of malware and viruses. The trick is knowing what is hinky and what isn't, and that can be very difficult for most users, and it just gets more and more difficult every day.

Even though I'm "only" 57, I, too, have been using computers for 35 years. I started out by writing code, though that is far beyond me now. I owe virtually everything I know now to not being afraid to "mess around" with this tool.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 09:25:48 PM by herekittykitty »
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WILDEBILL308

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2015, 09:49:23 PM »
I haven't ben using a computer as long as some. My first was a home built wit a screaming fast 8088 chip running 10 megahertz in "turbo" Didn't have to worry about downloading from the internet. It hadn't ben invented yet by Al Gore.
Bill
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HappyWanderer

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2015, 10:00:31 PM »
Some people are more vulnerable to this stuff. My mother falls into that category. I had to whack her old computer twice, because the malware she had downloaded made it unusable. I gave her a new machine last year, and it was dog slow in a week!

She clicks on every link she stumbles across and installs games like crazy. For a while, I would go over for dinner once a week and clean up the computer while we ate. Maybe it was a ploy to see the grandson!
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Lowell

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2015, 10:07:43 PM »
You'll soon find the same things happening to the HP.  Part of it may be caused by all of the pre-installed stuff, known as crapware. 



Hopefully not.  I just want to point out that the web sites I use and forum sI go to, I have used for a number of years.  And I do not have this problem on my old desktop or my lap top that I use when traveling.  Therefore I'm convinced there was a problem with that specific Dell.  I have had excellent service from previous Dell computers so I'm not picking on Dell.
Lowell

2005 Cherokee28A TT
pulled by 2009 Dodge 1500 Crew Cab 4X4
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Tempe, Arizona

legrandnormand

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2015, 10:46:31 AM »
For sure any computer user needs to install an anti-virus and needs to keep it updated automaticly.
Some users don't use antivirus or malware are just computer ignorant users, the reason being that even if they go to "safe sites" how in the world do they know that it is a safe site ? They must be genious to know that !
The same goes for e-mail received from your close friends... they can be infected e-mails that even your close friends don't even know that they are infected...
« Last Edit: October 22, 2015, 10:48:46 AM by legrandnormand »
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GRRV

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2016, 04:03:27 PM »
I'm sure you have returned it by now.  But for what it's worth for others facing a similar situation, here are my thoughts.

Costco has really good return policies.  There was a video floating around the Youtubes of some college morons who bought a pool from Costco, the big backyard kind with an inflatable top ring.  They put it in the living room of their apartment, filled it, and used it for a few months that way.  Eventually growing bored of a big pile of water in the place, then eventually drained it, and threw it off the balcany - out the slider, left it there til it had accumulated much algea and slime.  They finally bunched the thing up, dragged it back in, AND RETURNED IT!!!

Not saying they will accept a computer with wiped hard drives.  But they are really REALLY good about returns.  I would probably stop in at the service desk, tell them my privacy concern, and ask if I could return it after wiping the hard drive.  I wouldn't be surprised if they took it, even if you didn't check in first.

SeilerBird

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2016, 04:27:31 PM »
For sure any computer user needs to install an anti-virus and needs to keep it updated automaticly.
Some users don't use antivirus or malware are just computer ignorant users, the reason being that even if they go to "safe sites" how in the world do they know that it is a safe site ? They must be genious to know that !
The same goes for e-mail received from your close friends... they can be infected e-mails that even your close friends don't even know that they are infected...
I have never used anti-virus and I never will. It is totally unnecessary if you know what you are doing. And anti-virus is not 100% effective. It is still possible to get a virus even with the latest and greatest installed. If gives you false security. After 35 years of being virus free I am not worried in the least. I am certainly not saying anyone else should follow my lead. Most people either don't know enough about computer security or don't have the reserve to do it my way. I am just saying it is wrong to say everyone should use anti-virus and that those who don't are ignorant.
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herekittykitty

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2016, 07:32:46 PM »
I had my UPS guy run over the drive itself with his truck.

Does that help?!
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WILDEBILL308

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2016, 09:37:40 PM »
I think that will work.
Bill
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legrandnormand

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2016, 07:13:47 AM »
I have never used anti-virus and I never will. It is totally unnecessary if you know what you are doing. And anti-virus is not 100% effective. It is still possible to get a virus even with the latest and greatest installed. If gives you false security. After 35 years of being virus free I am not worried in the least. I am certainly not saying anyone else should follow my lead. Most people either don't know enough about computer security or don't have the reserve to do it my way. I am just saying it is wrong to say everyone should use anti-virus and that those who don't are ignorant.


IMO a anti-virus is required to protect your computer, basicaly, just like a key to lock your house or your car, it won't protect you 100% but at least the offender won't have a free pass to your personnal stuff. Not using them, IMO is pure ignorance.

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John From Detroit

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Re: How do I remove personal info off PC before returning
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2016, 12:50:09 PM »
A lot depends on how paranoid you are. I have purchased several used PC's with tons of personal stuff on them.

But: Level one:

There are several "Drive wipe" programs out there,, Let me see if I can find one: O,k that did not work.

Some of these programs will do multiple writes of 1s and 0s and 101010s  and 010101s to the drive, The more you overwrite every track and sector the deeper they need to :"Tunnel" to find it, Eventually it gets to the point where only government funded hackers have the needed hardware.


Then there is the military method (Which is a bit much in my book but.. Well, for military grade information, perhaps not)
Drills, Hammers, Magnets, Flame throwers, Hand gernades, Run over the hard drive with a tank. Drop it in a vat of acid, (All of the above)

As you can see, that would not leave you anything to retrun so that's a bit much.. But it is the Army way.
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