Buying used laptop, supposedly "clean install"

Kogure

Estimable
May 30, 2014
5
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4,510
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Hello. I'm going to buy a used laptop today.
Now, the thing is, the current owner (whom I do not know personally) said he will do a clean install. If it'll actually appear to be a fresh Windows, should I just download a few different virus scanners to make sure it's fine, or should I reinstall Windows from scratch myself?

Not really sure how well the potential viruses could be hidden.
 

Skylyne

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
405
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5,010
36
While you could run a risk of viruses, there's an extremely low likelihood of that. If anything, I'd be worried about potential incriminating evidence being on the computer. That's even less likely, but still...

What I always recommend for every computer purchased from a non major name distributor is a clean install from a professional (unless you know how to securely wipe a hard drive). That's what I always recommend, since you never know what may be on the computer you received. And no, formatting is never enough for real potential threats.

Either way you look at it, the best method of "cleaning" a used computer is always the same answer. Wipe it, install a clean OS you purchased, and then run/install whatever you wish on it.
 

itmoba

Estimable
Aug 14, 2015
153
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4,660
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Whether the HD is an SSD or not, you can use "CMRR HDDErase" (see link below) to safely wipe out the HD. Simply download it and burn it to a CD.
I'd also like to mention,

(1) Before buying the laptop, make sure that the authentication sticker is clearly visible and that it states all of the information that comes along with the genuine sticker.

(2) Make sure you also receive the Windows installation media that comes with the laptop.

(3) Do a SHA comparison to make sure that the installation media is legitimate.

(4) After doing a wipe with HDDErase, you should feel free to install Windows.


CMRR HDDErase: http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/secure-erase.html
 

johnbl

Honorable
Nov 4, 2012
140
0
10,710
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if it has windows 8.x or above you can run cmd.exe as an admin then run
sfc.exe /scannow
then run
dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

the second will remove some activation hacks and help you detect pirate verisons of windows.
 

Skylyne

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
405
0
5,010
36
If you buy a used computer, always install a clean copy of an OS. It's better that you run your own key in it, just to help prevent some bullshit from microsoft, should a key expire, or the copy is a little messed up on the backend.

Clean installs are the only real good idea for used computers. I'd say the same with used phones, if you know what you're doing.
 
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