Selling my old laptop, best/cheapest way to "sanitize" it??


Sep 14, 2016
So I recently picked up a sweet deal on a 2016-era laptop from Best buy, and so i no longer need my old laptop. This is a 2012 era laptop that is still a solid performer.

Only problem is, I don't really know how to "properly" delete my personal data (as in, make it unrecoverable). There is a TON of personal stuff i need to permanently delete before selling this. My personal data (over 400 gigs) runs the gamut from legal documents, to tax forms, to porn, to old college era schoolwork, you name it. I spent over $600 on this laptop, and according to my casual research of the market (amazon, eBay, etc) it still fetches anywhere from $250-$350.... so i definitely want to sell as opposed to just throwing it away. An extra ~$300 or so would be nice right about now, no doubt about it xD

Any freeware or cheap software that "fits the bill" for my situation?

I just want to safely delete my personal/sensitive stuff, i want to leave the OS and "stock" programs (IE, Chrome, Acrobat reader, etc) untouched for the potential customer.

Any ideas on best way to go about this?

i'm looking for the best or cheapest way to "clean up" my laptop.

thanks in advance


Sep 17, 2012
Ok this is what I would do.

The laptop more than likely has a recovery partition for a Factory Recovery. I would pull everything off your drive and then find out how to do a factory recover on your laptop (If you have windows 10 you can do a Windows Reset by going to settings and then Updates and security and then click on Recovery on the left and reset this PC.

Once windows has reset you can do this one of two ways.

If you don't care about a username just make a generic Owner or User and then download CCleaner, go to the Tools section and there is a drive wiper

Select free space and then select a 3 pass. If you are paranoid do a 7. I do 3 pass wipes on all bad drives before i dump them or on drives i plan to reuse for other clients and i can not recover anything off of them.

then just select your drive.

If you want it to seem like a brand new install for them


CTRL+SHIFT+F3 before you do ANYTHING during the inital setup process.

it will reboot into the administrator, you can then go in and wipe drives, install apps etc. Then in the System Prep Menu select Enter system out of the box and then shutdown.

Then when they start it up, everything is wiped and installed and clean and they can make their Own username.

Note: Try not to let it go to sleep while in System Prep. If it does it won't let you log back in. You must hard shutdown the PC and turn it back on. It should then get you back in.
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