The laptop arrived from a well known computer distributor. The unit was refurbished and came as expected; no media (Cd’s or DVDs). The system started and setup process just after it was turned on. There was no indication that the system was any different than a new machine as far as the operating system or user setup. It was when the system folders were viewed that it became apparent that this system’s hard drive was not wiped of data before being sent out to me.
After the system was completely up and running, it was checked by me for a new user. In a routine check of the files on the hard drive, I noticed that the folder that contained the Windows files was named differently than the standard. The operating system folder should be called Windows. This one had a name that included the serial number of the system; Windows-L123456.
The hard drive folder list also contained one named Textbooks. As a computer service technician, I recognized that this was not a standard folder for the manufacturer. In every installation of Windows from XP forward, the operating folder is called Windows. You should also see a folder called Documents and Settings under which is the folder named for the user. The other standard folders in a clean installation of Windows XP are, Program Files, Recycler and System Volume Information. Under the Documents and Settings folder will be Two other folders not named for the primary user. They are Default User and All Users. There should not be a folder named for another person and the current user name should not be hyphenated with the serial number of the computer.
If you see hyphenated names in these folders, the system was not wiped before you got it. Wiping removes the data and the files and creates a clean empty drive that the operating system installs to. It is not recommended to wipe the refurbished system yourself unless you have a CD or DVD matched to that system to re-install the software. Most refurbished systems do not supply operating media disks.
If you are returning a system for replacement, you can wipe the disk before you send it. If the system does not recognize the hard drive, it will be removed form the returned system and sent back to be repaired. In this case, the drive will be wiped or destroyed by the manufacturer. Disk wiping software is available for this purpose.
Disk Wiping services are also available for this or for systems that will be donated to Goodwill Industries or another charity.