How do I clean up my hard drive before giving away my computer?
March 14, 2005 4:49 PM   Subscribe

My google-fu is failing me on this. I'm getting a new computer and my dad wants my old beast of a Dell. I don't need to clean my hard drive to DOD-specs, but it does seem reasonable to do more than just delete my files. It's not busted, the Windows 98 is pretty beat up, but it's still usable. What's the sane minimum of clean-up before it leaves my house?
posted by desuetude to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
If you have your Windows disk give it a fresh install and call it good. A 'beat up' 98 install would be a PITA for your dad anyways.
posted by dirvish at 5:02 PM on March 14, 2005

Best answer: Yes, fresh install. Windows 98 installations degrade over time. A fresh install should run well for a year or so. The way it is now, it's probably a mess, and there's not much you can do to clean it up.
posted by knave at 5:31 PM on March 14, 2005

I vote for the format/fresh install method. Better Win98 response, plus it gets rid of that porn so your dad isn't surprised by it :)
posted by xorowo at 5:34 PM on March 14, 2005

Do your dad a favor and put a couple of hours into giving him a nice clean fresh install. This is more about giving him a trouble free computer than erasing any personal stuff. A clean install can save you fix-it duties later.
posted by caddis at 5:40 PM on March 14, 2005

And afterwards, do Windows Update of course.
posted by mono blanco at 6:25 PM on March 14, 2005

If you have a system restore disc, use that to make sure you have all the right drivers. It's been a while, but I think Dell's website has a page of driver updates keyed to a service code # on the box.

Then after Windows Update, give him a fighting chance with downloads of Ad-Aware & Spybot, Firefox (does it run on 98??), etc.
posted by omnidrew at 11:48 PM on March 14, 2005

You said you don't want DoD-level security, but I tend to use Secure Hard-disk eraser every time a hard drive leaves my possession. Your dad might not want any of your old data, but it's a good habit to get into.
posted by Plutor at 7:11 AM on March 15, 2005

Response by poster: I could'a marked all of you as best answer, since it's unanimous. Thanks -- I guess I didn't expect the easiest, most obvious answer to be the correct one. (Because, you know, with Windows, you never know.)
posted by desuetude at 8:33 AM on March 15, 2005

Ditto Plutor: wipe the drive. (See also Darik's Boot and Buke.)

Burn a CD-ROM with relevant Win98 security updates -- (how to find them.)

Then a fresh install of Win98. Then apply the security updates before you put it on the net.

Follow instructions here for more good things to do.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:19 AM on March 15, 2005

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