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Ask Slashdot: How To Clean Up My Work Computer Before I Leave?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the lysol-in-all-the-vents dept.

Privacy 547

An anonymous reader writes "I'm leaving my current job for a new one. I've been at this job for 10+ years so I'm sure there is tons of personal stuff stored on my machine. Since I can't take it with me does any one have a suggestions of tools or practices to clean off all of that data. I've already got my personal documents and files. I'm most worried about CC, debit card numbers and web site passwords I've used in browsers. Does clearing the cache, cookies, temp files do a good enough job? BTW it's a Windows 7 system if that makes a difference."

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Nuke it from orbit (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40791005)

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (5, Informative)

admdrew (782761) | about 2 years ago | (#40791087)

Agreed. http://www.dban.org/ [dban.org] (although you should probably verify with your IT that they simply reimage old machines).

Re:Nuke it from orbit (5, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | about 2 years ago | (#40791339)

If the IT department doesn't reimage old machines, then original poster should be even more inclined to DBAN that thing.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (5, Insightful)

logical_failure (2405644) | about 2 years ago | (#40791365)

DBAN is the only thing I would recommend. Simply re-imaging the machine is not enough.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791101)

lol - agreed...

however, I've found that piriform's ccleaner does a pretty good job, and it's free.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791149)

ccleaner has a free space wiper utility built into it, can set the number of passes to however many you want.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791123)

Wouldn't reformatting be the easiest way? Just backup the essential files first, reinstall OS and all essential programs. It might take you some time, but at least you would be sure.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791261)

Reformatting DOES NOT get rid of files. Programs like TestDisk can easily recover the data. I know from personal experience, reformatted my NTFS XP hard drive to FAT32. Used TestDisk to completely recover the drive, like nothing every happened. Well, I had to use SuperGrub to fix the MBR, but a minor hitch.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40791471)

True... However if the new employee is reconstructing the old File System... Chances are they are not doing their job very well at all.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40791455)

In all but the smallest company, they'll have a 'standard build' configuration, so reinstalling the OS would be pointless: If it isn't done to their procedure, they'll have to redo it anyway. But DBAN would destroy the data, and then they can use their automated reinstall procedure. It's usually a very simple thing to do, because Windows needs reinstalling so often.

Change all your porn membership passwords (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791129)

Who gives a flying fuck about anything else ...

Re:Nuke it from orbit (2)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#40791177)

Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

You may not need to go that far. Just re-image the machine. However, that won't take care of backups. Hmm... how far offsite are the backups kept? The parent poster may be on the right track after all.

Re:Nuke it from orbit (5, Insightful)

dAzED1 (33635) | about 2 years ago | (#40791499)

damaging the computer in any way (yes, I know the "nuke it" comment was a joke...but the other comments in the thread aren't) is a great way to lose a final paycheck, or otherwise have your former employer be very unhappy with you. You have work on your computer that shows your thought processes while you were doing certain tasks...notes, etc. If something goes wrong 4 months from now, they may want to check those notes.

Why would your credit card info be on the box, again? I know I already asked, but...huh? What year is this...did I go back in time?

Re:Nuke it from orbit (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40791503)

For systems with limited access. Where Whipping the PC isn't an option. I would suggest the following.
Delete Cache, and Cookies, Clear up your Document Folders.

Then I would run a program that fills the disk with a large file ( or several large files, of random data)
then Delete that file.
Then Defragment the drive.

Perfect! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791021)

This fits my current situation perfectly. Patiently awaiting for some insight....

Re:Perfect! (1)

lorenlal (164133) | about 2 years ago | (#40791215)

The answer lies in how paranoid you are. Easiest solution to me is go find a liveCD or USB distro that lets you do a DoD wipe... Let it run... Return the laptop. The IT department will have a re-imaging process that they should be using anyway.

If you want to play around a little more, and if you have administrative privs on the laptop, I have a fun one. Enable BitLocker, but don't use the TPM if there's one present. Use a USB stick to store the keys and make the USB necessary to boot. Encrypt the disk. Then use dd from a liceCD to wipe the whole thing. It isn't as good as the DoD wipe, but it can be fun. It also gives you a little more time to poke around the drive to find anything else you might want to save.

dd (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791025)

Boot a Linux live-cd and type dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

Re:dd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791161)

Seriously, that is funny, but don't do it. For those of you not familiar with Linux this will write binary zeros to your hard drive.

Re:dd (2)

Tukz (664339) | about 2 years ago | (#40791241)

Yes, and completely wipe it.
Isn't that what is being asked?

Re:dd (1)

kanweg (771128) | about 2 years ago | (#40791311)

It is like killing all cancer cells 100% by shooting the patient.

There's probably company stuff on it that shouldn't be zero'd.

Bert

Re:dd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791423)

Exactly what my point was this guy is talking about a company machine. He doesn't want to wipe the OS off. This would probably make his company wonder if he was hiding something.

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791459)

It is like killing all cancer cells 100% by shooting the patient.

There's probably company stuff on it that shouldn't be zero'd.

Bert

Wooosh!!!

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791263)

Why not do it?

You're leaving the company and want all traces of personal information removed from the computer. This will do exactly what he wants.

I am assuming, of course, that you have created documentation and provided training for your replacement and the contents of your computer will not be needed by the company to have someone else continue your job duties.

Re:dd (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791319)

dd if=/dev/zero | tee | /dev/sda will write them to your screen as well

dd if=/dev/urandom bs 1024k | tee | dd of=/dev/sda bs=1024k is better for security and ASCII bells, as well as ruining your termcap temporarily and erasing faster.

pv -ptres "Size of disk in gigabytes followed by a G" /dev/urandom | dd of=/dev/sda bs=1024k will provide a nifty progress bar

Re:dd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791341)

Seriously, that is funny, but don't do it. For those of you not familiar with Linux this will write binary zeros to your hard drive.

Uh, that is kind of the point when you want to clean your drive....

Re:dd (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 years ago | (#40791375)

Errr, he was being serious, and the result he mentioned was the intent. I don't suppose you RTFT did you?

Re:dd (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 years ago | (#40791405)

I mean the result YOU mentioned.

Re:dd (1)

caffiend666 (598633) | about 2 years ago | (#40791431)

Yes, do this. Logged in to make sure someone included this. DSL on a thumb drive works well for wiping. If you're trying to be nice, do a mkfs.ntfs on the drive afterwards. Also, try to avoid wiping the boot sector. They should be installing a fresh image afterwards, so wiping the drive shouldn't matter. There is also a good chance this system will end up auctioned or recycled, so you're also protecting the company by wiping the drive.

OK more seriously (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40791027)

Clear your browser including flash cookies and cache, clear temp folders, uninstall and wipe the folders of any chat apps you may have been using, and that's good enough unless you think they're going to use a file recovery app on your hard disk.

Re:OK more seriously (5, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 years ago | (#40791287)

His first mistake was using a company machine for private transactions.

Use your smart phone/iPad/whatever to that sort of stuff. Browse all you like at Newegg, but don't buy it at work!

Re:OK more seriously (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791413)

CCleaner [piriform.com] does pretty good. It also has secure delete for the tinfoil hat people. Chances are you'll forget about storing something important.

Re:OK more seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791421)

I like the above idea of using ccleaner to just get rid of the major stuff. Doing a nuke/DoD wipe really isn't possible. I am an admin but there is stuff on here that they will need. I just want to make sure all the personal stuff is gone. If I zero out the blank spaces then probably not much to worry about (as long as I do that after I delete the cache/cookies/temp files).

Re:OK more seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791491)

If you have updated your browser (such as Firefox), you'll find that the old caches are still floating around. Many of your Linux dot directories (eg. .thumbnails) store copies of every picture you viewed, every CD/DVD that you burnt, as well as log histories of every USB device plugged in.

Easiest thing to do - create a new user directory on your machine and move everything that is work related into that user space, then whatever else is left can be deleted.

DBAN! (5, Informative)

brandor (714744) | about 2 years ago | (#40791045)

http://www.dban.org/ [dban.org] Works wonders :)

Re:DBAN! (1)

imagined.by (2589739) | about 2 years ago | (#40791097)

I don't have mod points, but this.

Re:DBAN! (2)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 2 years ago | (#40791121)

I second this - the UBCD4Win project also has it built in.

But running dban is a surefire way to nuke all your files permanently. The autonuke option is sufficient to all but the most determined state agencies.

Re:DBAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791163)

What he said. Wipe the sucker and let IT reload it.

Re:DBAN! (2)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#40791201)

Yes, DBAN works very well. Google around and you'll find instructions on how to put it on a bootable USB stick. I recently ran this before taking my girlfriend's old desktop to the tip.

I don't know your employers' culture, but a reasonable approach seems to me:
  - call the IT dept
  - say "I'm going to completely wipe this laptop; you'll be OK to re-image it, right?"
  - run DBAN

Re:DBAN! (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40791223)

It's Windows 7. The guy's probably not allowed to install it.

I keep all my stuff in a "personal" folder so when the time comes for me to leave I just drag the folder to my USB: drive and then delete it from the computer. Technically the IT guys could undelete and recover, but it's doubtful they would. More likely they just reinstall the whole OS for the next guy.

My browsers are Opera and Chrome portable. When I delete the personal folder, they disappear too. Not that it really matters; the proxy server has a record of every place I've ever visited. (There is no privacy on a work computer.)

Re:DBAN! (2)

Reschekle (2661565) | about 2 years ago | (#40791313)

DBAN is a bootable CD/USB key. Unless IT has locked down the BIOS and locked down the boot options menu, he can run it regardless of what security measures are in effect in Windows.

Re:DBAN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791417)

dban is a minimal linux boot cd, so unless they have a bios password installed, and the case locked (or a laptop...) he'll be fine.

shred early, often (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791047)

Start shred'ing your files as soon as you know you're leaving - especially if your shit is being backed up...it keeps the file sizes the same, so they will propagate through any backups or archives.

Re:shred early, often (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791099)

I have never left a job where my computer had not been completely wiped and shredded to the point of being non functional. Let them reinstall Windows - not my problem.

Wipe (5, Informative)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#40791049)

Depend on your IT setup, but if an option, just ask your sysadmin to re-image it. Don't discount the obvious and direct route. It's a reasonable request, you have justification, and if you are on good terms with the IT department I'm sure they'll hook you up.

Re:Wipe (2)

br0ked (2629951) | about 2 years ago | (#40791141)

This is the best advice I think anyone can give on this.... Your IT department should have no issues with nuking it and putting a fresh image on it for you...

Re:Wipe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791363)

If I were running your IT department, I'd assume you're a moron, just for the safety of the company. Assuming that you're a moron means:
1: You've loaded the system with malware, viruses, etc.
2: You have sensitive company information on the drive
3: You have sensitive personal information on the drive that could get the company in trouble if the next user does bad things with the information you left.

That being said, I'd either toss the HD and install the new one (if the budget allows), or do a low-level format and re-install.

Just ask if they'll do the low-level format and re-install for you.

Re:Wipe (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 2 years ago | (#40791461)

I boot off a DVD/USB to a minimal Linux system then write over the whole drive with cryptographically secure random data. That is a bit overkill but I work in security/cryptography and often have or had extremely sensitive data on my machine. "dd if=/dev/zero" works faster and is plenty good for normal people. This "nukes" the whole drive to a blank slate.

From there I'm usually able to install whatever OS they are using and set the machine up fresh. If the company has draconian IT policies and I can't install the OS then I let them re-image the drive. I only do this after I completely wipe the drive myself though. A re-image on top of your existing system most likely will not wipe all your old data.

Delete the user profile/account (0)

JcMorin (930466) | about 2 years ago | (#40791053)

Deleting the account would remove most setting from browser, application, documents, internet history. Then I would check other folder not in the "My Documents" for instance C:\projects....

DBAN (1, Informative)

T-Mckenney (2008418) | about 2 years ago | (#40791059)

Boot it, Nuke it. http://www.dban.org/ [dban.org]

You can't get rid of automated / off-site backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791063)

For any company worth it's salt. They've been doing automated backups in the background for you. Anything you do, even wiping your drive will not take those backups away.

Re:You can't get rid of automated / off-site backu (1)

Reschekle (2661565) | about 2 years ago | (#40791345)

You can if you tell them you had sensitive medical information stored on your PC...

Re:You can't get rid of automated / off-site backu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791369)

This is true, but my experience has been that deletion of off-site user backups are part of out-processing. We used Iron Mountain at my last job, and I had to manually remove data stores for every outgoing employee. Annoying as hell.

Re:You can't get rid of automated / off-site backu (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#40791387)

I wish my company was doing automated backups.

Re:You can't get rid of automated / off-site backu (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#40791389)

For any company worth it's salt. They've been doing automated backups in the background for you. Anything you do, even wiping your drive will not take those backups away.

My company doesn't back up any desktops - if it's not put on a fileserver drive, it's not backed up.

Re:You can't get rid of automated / off-site backu (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#40791429)

Backing up User machines? Not a chance. We back up our servers, and provide plenty of storage space on those servers for users to store important docs ... but the 2000+ user machines are on their own.

And as a former IT guy, we nuked and reinstalled every computer before it went to a new user. You don't want someone else potentially having access to your old files, and I don't want someone else having to inherit whatever problems have arisen on your PC over the last 10 years.

Darik's Boot And Nuke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791069)

http://www.dban.org/

BleachBit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791071)

bleachbit.sourceforge.net/
BleachBit quickly frees disk space and tirelessly guards your privacy. Free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and ...

the only way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791073)

Bleach & fire.

Linux boot disk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791085)

Linux boot disk, use the security wipe tools there, or good ol'dd.

Main reason to use a boot disk is to avoid any windows based security that might prevent you from performing a true wipe.

DBAN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791091)

Darik's Boot and Nuke?

In light of your concerns, and the clear potential for lingering personal data, would it be wrong to leave them with wiped bare metal? They could always re-install Win 7 (perhaps even from a recovery partition).

Piece of Cake (3, Informative)

mackil (668039) | about 2 years ago | (#40791105)

Remove your files and profiles manually, then delete your windows user account. Create a new one, and use one of the many delete utilities (Like Hard Disk Scrupper [summitcn.com] ) to wipe out the present free space so they cannot be recovered.

If you work for the NSA, that might not be good enough, but it should be for the majority of people.

Reinstall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791111)

Just talk to the SysAdmin and ask him to format and reinstall the machine.
I did the same thing at my previous workplace. Only difference : I was the only IT-guy, so I've done it myself.

Can you install things? (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 2 years ago | (#40791113)

Eraser [heidi.ie] for Windows is probably what you want. Though if you can't install anything, sdelete [microsoft.com] is probably more useful.

Don't worry they have already copied it (4, Insightful)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#40791127)

Why were you doing this kind of stuff at work?

erase (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#40791137)

Just DBAN it.

If you're on good terms with your IT dept and want to be polite, ask one of them if it's okay for you to do that.

Almost certainly whoever uses it next will want a clean install anyway. Or they may just dump it and your info will be in a used PC for sale on eBay in a couple of weeks.

wipe? nah! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791145)

1. burn post-it note on monitor.
2. rest assured.

Format the hard drive (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about 2 years ago | (#40791147)

Wipe the whole thing. Don't worry about causing problems for the next user of the machine, tech support would probably do a format-and-reinstall anyway just to be sure that it's back to company standards.

DBAN (0)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#40791153)

DBAN [wikipedia.org] Also there are some software out there that overwrite only empty space resulting in not requiring to drop a new image, but getting rid of everything would seem the only safe course of action.

P4? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791159)

You poor bastard. They hadn't upgraded your machine in 10 years? No wonder your leaving.

Policy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791167)

Your company should have some sort of information security policy that requires drives to be zeroed out and then reimaged before being given to a new employee.

Ask slashdot going way downhill (5, Insightful)

gr3yh47 (2023310) | about 2 years ago | (#40791169)

The quality of questions on slashdot lately is abysmal. You really need a slashdot answer to tell you to reinstall windows and reformat the drive in the process? or to nuke the drive with any easily-googable drive erasing tool and reinstall windows?

10 year old Win7 comp? Outstanding! (5, Interesting)

dAzED1 (33635) | about 2 years ago | (#40791179)

That's really impressive, actually...

Easy. Start with not storing personal stuff on a work computer. Next step - assuming you're an admin on your box - create another admin account on the box. Log off your account, log in to that account, delete your profile off the box.

Why would your CC info be on the box, anyway? Do you really type out your CC number into text files and leave them on your PC? Why?

personal stuff on a work pc? (0)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#40791191)

Really? Why? Whatever. Anyway, I thought it was standard practice to wipe and reimage any pc if it changes owners in a company. Anything else is frankly bizarre.

Hard Drive (2)

ltwally (313043) | about 2 years ago | (#40791195)

Remove or destroy your workstation's hard disk. If you feel they might object to this, replace it with a new one and re-image the machine. Next job: use Portable Apps http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com] from a thumb-drive, and you won't have to worry about it.

Replace the Drive. Don't trust software. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791207)

The best way is to replace the drive with a new one. You keep the drive. Do what you want with it, you may need it later.

Buy the exact model # to avoid issues.

Re:Replace the Drive. Don't trust software. (2)

Khashishi (775369) | about 2 years ago | (#40791309)

Bad idea. The company might come back and accuse you of stealing company data. Which you did.

Re:Replace the Drive. Don't trust software. (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#40791391)

Yikes. I don't think the company will be too pleased with you keeping THEIR data after you leave.

how was this missed? (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40791217)

D-Ban it.

Go ahead.. redundant.. but it should be repeated over and over.

dban (1)

woodworx (1780214) | about 2 years ago | (#40791235)

Derek's boot and nuke. cleans up everything. the other thing that you shouldn't really ever do is store debit/credit card numbers in browser cache. it's almost like giving away your money. good luck!

Just started getting worried? (1)

azadrozny (576352) | about 2 years ago | (#40791251)

You have been working with a machine(s) that you do not own for some number of years are you are just starting to worry about this now? In most offices, anyone can log on to any machine, probably remotely. There are probably backups of your stuff running around the infrastructure somewhere too. If anyone wanted your info, they already have it. I would simply ask that your machine be re-imaged before you go. If questioned, you want to be courteous to the next person to occupy your desk.

srm (1)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | about 2 years ago | (#40791253)

Use srm (secure remove). It will do 35 passes writing random data after deleting your files. It can take a while to run if you have lot of large files to delete.

All you need to do is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791255)

Data sanitation is part of my job; usually you'll get the derp that'll say "only way to be sure is to destroy it", that's because they're ignorant.

Here is what you do:

1. Go get CCleaner, make sure that you set wipe mode to at least 1 wipe (this is all you need to permanently destroy anything... you do not need to do 7... or 35), and WIPE EVERYTHING; including flash cookies, temp files etc. Here is a factual study from a university that says so: http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml This will get rid of everything currently on your computer.

2. Go get Eraser, set it to wipe 1 time by "filling up" your disk. This will get everything you've ever deleted on the machine that wasn't properly erased.

That's it, you're done.

Re:All you need to do is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791445)

How do you get rid of backups?

Thermite reaction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791267)

Well, no, not really. You don't want to set the building on fire and burn a hole down to the floor below.

I guess talk to your IT guy and see what their policy is. I work in a fairly small place but I feel confidentiality is important enough to make wipe-and-re-image SOP whenever a computer is pulled from a desk. It's a trivial operation and it saves a LOT of headaches down the line. Even though we run a domain, lots of security policies, regular updates, no local admin for end users, etc.. You still can't be sure exactly what is on a computer if you haven't personally used it for two years. No matter what sort of security policy, user policy, or automated software inventory you might be running it's not worth it to re-use an install and find some odd issue the next day.

If you don't have a good working relationship with your IT dept and you don't, just run DBAN (http://www.dban.org/) and give the machine a good security erase. If someone asks you questions just shrug and feign ignorance. "Dunno. Just won't boot man. It's my last day anyway! What luck, huh?"

Less secure, but you could boot a linux distro disk and use DD to wipe the first few MB of the hard drive with 0s. This will erase the partition table, and will effectively erase the drive for anyone who doesn't care to run a forensic recovery suite on the drive.

kinda funny... (1)

woodworx (1780214) | about 2 years ago | (#40791293)

how this comment section has become a testimonial for DBAN.

Admin Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791317)

Is your user an admin account? If so, I would create a local user as an Administrator, reboot, log on as the local administrator, then completely delete your user profile from: C:\Users\ProfileName - Of course, there is nothing to stop the IT guys from running recovery software to get these files back, but if you are on a domain (without roaming profiles) you can then log back on as your domain account. This will re-create your local profile based on the default machine profile and this will look exactly like a normal profile folder, only it will be completely empty, without any of your browsing history etc.

Again, they can use recovery software to try and get stuff back, and other than formatting a bunch of times, or running shredding software, or filling and emptying the drive a few times, there isn't much you can do about this... Other than maybe running the process I mentioned above and then running a ghost copy to a completely new drive and telling it to ignore whitespace...

It all depends on how far you want to go!

Zeb

dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791321)

Think of it like a spin cycle.

Is their IT staff? (4, Insightful)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#40791331)

IT should be taking care of this for you. Don't try and do things yourself without consulting with IT first, I've seen many users mess things up when they try to take maters in their own hands. Remember, you're using company property, and all the data belongs to the company too. If you have personal data, let the IT person know this, and they will be responsible to dealing with it.

Wait...what? (3, Informative)

killmenow (184444) | about 2 years ago | (#40791351)

I've been at this job for 10+ years so I'm sure there is tons of personal stuff stored on my machine...BTW it's a Windows 7 system if that makes a difference."

Ummm...my math may be a bit off here but...

2 options (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40791355)

You can boot from a DBAN disc and 0 out the entire hard drive and say it randomly broke
or
Download the secure shredder application that normally comes with Spybot Search and Destroy. They do offer a separate download. Drag in anything sensitive and it overwrites it with garbage data. Then to clear off anything you may have deleted in the past without securely overwriting it, use CCleaner's "wipe free space" feature which by the way is turned off by default. Anything that's listed as available space on the hard drive is overwritten with 0's. You can also nuke your internet history and temp files first easily with CCleaner.

Delete Your Profile (3, Informative)

c0d3r (156687) | about 2 years ago | (#40791377)

Delete your profile Control Panel->System->Advanced system settings->Advanced -> User Profiles -> Select and delete.

If it is backed up, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791381)

Forget about deleting personal things from backups

A short list (4, Insightful)

Caffeine_Coder (537162) | about 2 years ago | (#40791385)

While it isn't the same as destroying the drive, this should be good enough, w/o inconviencing the systems team.  Any 'work' ( documents / files / email ) you generated while using the computer for work is considered property of the company, so only focus on your personal stuff (so you dont get busted for 'destroying company property'.

- Open each browser (firefox, IE, chrome) and delete cache, cookies, etc...
- Move / delete all your files in My (Documents | Pictures | Videos | Music), and desktop
- Uninstall any programs you installed and wasn't for work
- Confirm no personal items stored in root "C:\"
- Delete everything in %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Temp
- Delete everything in %SystemRoot%\TEMP

If you have admin perms
-After you have saved your work files off someplace else, create New admin User, log in as that admin, delete your old profile, and confirm that C:\Users\"OLD LOGIN NAME" does not exists

Here's what I do (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791409)

When I get a new box, I ghost the hard drive right after I get all the work stuff installed and setup. Upon leaving, simply reimage the drive and move along.

Doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791451)

If you have a semi-competent IT department it's backed up multiple times anyway.

NUKE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791481)

NUKE THE SITE FROM ORBIT

An ounce of prevention? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#40791485)

I always have a concern about the "hit by a bus" item, and where I work, I rather have all my documentation available for someone replacing than accidently leave the fact that I am looking at trips on Saturdays to head to.

Browsing history? Easy fix. Plug in a drive, use sandboxie, and redirect it there. Then when having to leave, unplug drive and erase that. All the stuff needed on the workstation is still there, but private browsing stuff is well sequestered away.

You6 fail it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791489)

Derek's Boot and Nuke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40791497)

DBAN. Enough said.

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