Please help me get rid of this laptop before it becomes a museum piece.
March 25, 2019 4:25 AM   Subscribe

I’m planning to sell my 2013 Lenovo ThinkPad T-530 on Craigslist. I originally bought it for work, then ended up changing jobs, and have since neglected it in favor of my MacBook. It has pretty much sat unused for the past 6 years, and I no longer remember the administrator password. What’s the easiest and cheapest way for me to remove all my data from this laptop in preparation for giving it away? If it matters, it's running Windows 7.
posted by invisible ink to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cheapest and easiest: Unless you have a way to reinstall the operating system, just pull out the hard drive out and advertise it without a drive.n

Anything else will be fiddly.

E.G. to prove it boots up to a potential buyer, you could make a bootable linux USB (I'd go with Mint or another Ubuntu variant) to demonstrate that it's functional. If you can do that, you're also capable of just installing Linux on the thing and selling it that way.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:56 AM on March 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

Assuming it's a hard drive rather than an SSD, DBAN will wipe it if you don't feel like pulling the drive. You don't need a lot of passes to remove the data, two is more than sufficient.

If it's an SSD, it's a little different.

The easiest thing in either case is to just pull the drive and sell it as is, though obviously that drops the price and makes it harder to sell.
posted by Candleman at 5:36 AM on March 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

You have several options. Even if you don't know the Windows 7 administrator password, there are several utilities that will allow you to reset the administrator password. That will let you log in and back up/delete your personal data. That's probably the least-effort option.

There is a utility called DBAN that will completely wipe all the data, applications, and operating system from the computer. If you go that route, you either have to find someone who will accept a computer with no operating system, or else re-install the operating system. To reinstall the operating system, you need two parts: the operating system image and the licence key. The operating system image can be downloaded. The licence key might be printed on a sticker on the bottom of the case, or maybe inside the battery bay.

Do you know whether this machine is equipped with a mechanical hard drive or a solid state drive? Control Panels > Device Manager > Disk drives will tell you that. Lenovo's specs indicate that both were available. If it has a mechanical hard drive, you have the option of replacing it with a solid state drive for better performance.

There is a subreddit called /r/thinkpad full of people who are quite interested in this machine.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:52 AM on March 25, 2019

Just FYI: It looks like Microsoft is about to end support for Windows 7, so anyone who buys this machine is going to have to change up the OS anyway.
posted by mccxxiii at 6:19 AM on March 25, 2019

Thanks everyone. Yes, it has a solid state drive.
posted by invisible ink at 6:52 AM on March 25, 2019

Your general audience for these will be people who want to customize, and the first thing I'd do with a machine of that vintage would be throwing in an SSD. I don't really think the lack of drive will be that big of a downside.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:53 AM on March 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

On preview, NM.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:00 AM on March 25, 2019

I just bought a nice Thinkpad with no drive for @ 40. With a drive and an OS, it would have been a lot more. Even a standard hard drive with an OS makes it worth more.
posted by theora55 at 8:43 AM on March 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

So - personally, I would definitely buy it without the HD - I still love my W530, but the trackpad and keyboard are wearing down...
posted by jkaczor at 10:39 AM on March 25, 2019

If it's been sitting that long the batteries are likely shot and may not hold a charge for any reasonable amount of time.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:28 PM on March 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

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