Would memory change to access to deleted file

December 10, 2010 at 05:44:44
Specs: Windows 7
i want to sell my laptop, would changing the ram stop someone from retrieving deleted files?

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December 10, 2010 at 06:25:04
No... the RAM is what is known as volatile memory. This means that once power is not supplied to the memory chips they will lose all data. The RAM serves to function only as short term, high speed memory.

You are confusing RAM with the long term non-volatile memory that a hard disk (or solid state) drive provides.A hard-disk drive doesn't need electricity to retain data. This what needs to be addressed to prevent someone accessing old deleted data.

There are tools available that allow you to wipe free space on the hard-drive such as Eraser by Heidi (freeware) which theoretically should overwrite the unused space on a hard-drive where old files may have resided. This would probably be safe enough to securely wipe the deleted data beyond retrieval by non-industry standard undelete software IMHO. This method leaves the operating system intact.

Others would argue that a tool like DBAN "Darik's Boot And Nuke" (freeware) is more appropriate for wiping a hard drive. This method will completely erase the hard-drive leaving no operating system. This method requires an operating system reinstall.

Finally there are some that say the only true method of removing all traces is to replace the hard-drive altogether, and ultimately they would be correct.

Basically those are your options... the questions you need to ask yourself is how much effort do you think anyone would put in to try to retrieve data off your old hardware? and how valuable is the data that it truly remains private and indiscoverable?

As always in these situations it is probably best to think worst case scenario. What is the worst that can happen?

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December 10, 2010 at 06:25:16
You RAM has absolutely nothing to do with the ability to retrieve deleted files.
All contents of RAM is lost when power is removed.

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December 10, 2010 at 07:42:41
No RAM has nothing to do with it at all.

If you want to prevent someone from accessing data on the hard drive after you have sold / passed on your laptop then you have a number of options.

The options will depend on if you have the original recovery partition that came with the laptop that allows you to recover the system to a factory fresh state.

If you do have this recovery partition then you do NOT want to delete it as it provides the new owner with a licensed original factory fresh install.

For the case where you do have a recovery partition, and you want to retain it, then you can use Active@ Kill Disk - Hard Drive Eraser available from http://www.killdisk.com/ to securely delete data from all the other partitions except the recovery partition.

For the case where you want to wipe the hard drive completely including the recovery partition then download from your hard drive manufacturers website their hard drive utility tool (e.g. seatools, data lifeguard, powermax, etcetera). You can get information for most of them from http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm...

Create/Write a bootable CD for your hard drive manufacturers utility and run it. Use its low level format feature to write zeros to every location of the hard drive. At the end of this you will have NO DATA on the hard drive and it will be like a factory fresh hard drive. This is the MOST effective way of cleaning a hard drive short of taking a hammer to it.

When everything else fails, read the instructions.

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