> > Prepare a PC or laptop to be sold and donated

Take These 6 Preparations to Sell Your Laptop or PC without Worries

  • Contents:

    This post is all about computers running Windows OS rather than Macintosh.

    privacy is leaked After getting or buying a new PC or laptop, many people choose to sell the old one or donate it to charities since the old one will be no longer used as frequently as before. Nevertheless, selling or donating computers always makes people scary since important files may get lost or privacy get leaked due to either action. In order to help users get rid of this worry, we suggest that users make 6 preparations before selling or donating their computer.

    How to Prepare a PC or Laptop to Be Sold or Donated

    As long as you make these 6 preparations, your private or confidential information will not be leaked and your laptop or PC will be sold at a relatively high price.

    1. Backup All Important or Needed Data to Another Device

    If your laptop or PC saves important or useful files, please make a backup in advance unless you are not going to sell or donate the hard disk. Well, how can we backup data quickly?

    Step 1: Check how many files you should backup.
    copy and paste file If there are not so many files to backup (like several GB), you can copy and paste them to another storage device, which is so easy. However, if there are dozens of GB or more files to be backed up, you'd better clone the partition or disk, which could save you much time.

    Step 2: Download and install a free drive clone software.
    If you do not know which program to choose, try using MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition.

    Tip: MiniTool Partition Wizard Free could be compatible with all versions of Windows OS, such as Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. For server support, please purchase the server edition.

    Step 3: Copy Partition or Disk Using Partition Wizard
    Please launch the freeware to get its main interface:

    copy partition in partition wizard

    To copy a partition, please select the partition and choose "Copy Partition" from the left action panel. However, if you want to clone the whole hard disk to another disk, please select the disk and choose "Copy Disk" feature.

    Then, follow instructions to complete remaining operations.

    However, if Windows is unbootable, please use MiniTool Partition Wizard Boot Disc instead.

    Actually, apart from data saved on hard disk, there is still another kind of data we should back up: website passwords saved by browser if you can't remember them or do not note them down.

    Here, we take Google Chrome for example, and steps are as follows:
    Click the 3 bars customize and control google chrome on the top right corner, choose Settings, select Show advanced settings, click Manage passwords, select the website where you want to transfer password out, click Show password, and copy/paste the password.

    After all important data are backed up, users can sell or donate their computer without worrying about data loss.

    However, users who are preparing a laptop or PC for sale or donation still need to remove private or sensitive information as much as possible, which is the key to preventing privacy leakage from happening.

    2. Clear Computers before Selling or Donating It

    Definitely, the new owner will be able to access your private or confidential data saved on the computer if you haven't removed them before selling or donating. As a result, you have to suffer from privacy leakage or even more serious losses. Well, how can we erase or clean sensitive information completely before selling or donating the laptop or PC?

    Most of you may choose to delete files and then clean the Recycle Bin, or delete files via Shift + Delete, or directly format the drive storing sensitive information. Are these solutions useful?

    If you are using a solid state drive (SSD) with TRIM enabled, any of these 3 solutions is workable. But if you are using a traditional mechanical hard disk (HDD) or SSD with TRIM disabled, both deleted and formatted data are recoverable.

    Let's see why.

    Once TRIM is enabled, files deleted from SSD will be erased from their original place immediately so that there is no chance to recover them. But for a HDD, when users delete a file, system just marks a deletion mark showing space taken up by this file is available for new files, and the real file is still saved in data area until new data is stored. Nowadays, anyone with free or cheap data recovery software is able to recover deleted data or recover data from formatted drive as long as those files are not overwritten.

    Tip: Only Windows 7 and later released Windows OS give support on TRIM, and Windows 7 just supports TRIM for ordinary (SATA) drives and does not support this command for Storport PCI-Express SSD that is a different type of device. If you are unsure whether TRIM is enabled, type the following command in Diskpart to do a check: fsutil behavior query DisableDeleteNotify. If the value is 0, TRIM is working correctly. If the value is 1, it is inactivated. Under this situation, you' better wipe the drive to avoid privacy leakage.

    To make private information unrecoverable, users need to wipe the hard drive of the computer, which is actually the process of overwriting the original data, and there is no chance to recover overwritten files.

    Well, how can we quickly and permanently clear computers before selling or donating them? There is freeware to give you a big hand.

    Wipe Hard Drive Using MiniTool Partition Wizard
    MiniTool Partition Wizard can help you clear your laptop or PC apart from backing up data, so please download and install it on your computer.

    Then, launch the program to get its main window:

    wipe hard disk of pc or laptop

    To erase data saved on one partition, please select the partition and choose "Wipe Partition" feature from the left action pane. However, if you want to clean the whole hard disk, please select the disk and choose "Wipe Disk" feature.

    wipe hard disk of pc or laptop choose a wiping method

    Next, choose one of wiping methods and click "OK" to continue.

    Tip: methods from the top to the bottom cost more and more time but give better and better effect.

    At last, click "Apply" button to make all changes performed.

    After confirming all private information has been erased, users need to make the third preparation for selling or donating a laptop or PC – install Windows, if the whole disk or system partition has been erased.

    3. Install Windows OS to Get Best Computer Performance

    Top Recommendation

    Clean Install, Clone Disk, or Migrate Windows, Which Is Better
    This post shows exact features of clean install, disk clone, and system migration, which can help you choose the most proper way to create new Windows.

    If you are quite familiar with installation process, just skip to the next section. But if you have any doubts, see the following steps for reference.

    There are many ways to install Windows. For example, you can install it from USB flash disk, CD/DVD, and hard disk, but most steps are identical. Here we just take installing Windows 7 from CD for example.

    After the installation CD is prepared, please power on computer and put the CD to the drive. Tip: without starting the computer, you will be unable to make the driver pop out. Then, restart computer and press a required key to boot into BIOS. For how to enter BIOS, you can find the exact answer from the internet. Once the computer starts from CD successfully, you will get the following screenshot:

    install windows language select interface

    Then, choose desired language, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method to continue.

    install windows install now

    Next, click on Install now, accept the license terms, choose Custom (advanced), and select the unallocated space to install Windows to. Of course, you can also create new partitions and then install Windows to the newly created partition. Afterwards, Windows will be installed automatically. During this time, your computer may restart for several times. After the last restart is finished, please set user name, computer name, password, etc. In addition, a product key is required to activate Windows. Please type or copy and paste the key, and then uncheck the option Automatically activate Windows when I'm online (recommended). At last, make other necessary settings such as time/date setting and network location type.

    Now a fresh Windows OS installation has been completed successfully. But for people who are using SSD with TRIM enabled, there is no need to install Windows. Instead, they'd better clear computer for better performance.

    4. Speed up Computer for a Good Price

    If you do not want to reinstall Windows OS, please take the following 2 measures to speed up the computer or optimize computer performance.

    Measure 1: Reset or restore computer.
    Resetting computer will not reinstall Windows but delete your personal files, settings, and apps — except for the programs that came with your PC, while restoring will undo recent system changes you've made. Therefore, both of them could make the computer you want to sell or donate run faster.

    There are multiple ways to do the reset or restore, and here we mainly introduce 3 of them.

    1: enter BIOS to enable the option Load Optimized Defaults which can also be called Get Default Values, Load Setup Defaults, and Get Default Values, and this feature is capable of loading the best default settings.

    load optimized defaults

    2: remove all unnecessary peripherals like USB flash drive, printer, and mobile phone, restart computer, and press on F8 several times to call out Advanced Boot Options. Then, highlight Repair Your Computer to get System Recovery Options window, choose System Restore, and follow instructions to start the restore.

    restore system

    3: when Backup and Restore function is enabled on your computer, you can perform the following operations to reset computer to factory settings: click Start button, navigate to Control Panel, choose System and Security, click Restore your computer to an earlier time, tap on Advanced recovery methods, choose Return Windows to original settings, and select Return your computer to the factory settings. Afterwards, detailed operating instructions will be given, and users just need to do as told.

    return windows to original setting

    Tip: these solutions are more likely available on Windows 7 computer. If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 10, you can do like this: click Settings, choose Change PC settings, select Remove everything and reinstall Windows under General menu, click Get started, select drives to remove, choose a proper option to clean the drive, and finally click Reset to start resetting the computer.

    reset computer in windows 8

    After reset, users need to speed system via making correct alignment.

    Measure 2: Align Boot Partition to Get Correct 4K Alignment If the Computer Is Configured with SSD

    Though the newly created partitions will be aligned automatically since Windows Vista, they might be misaligned if users have done operations, like change partition size and move partition location. Once the partition saving Windows OS (boot partition) is misaligned, the computer will run much slowly. Therefore, it is very necessary to check and align misaligned partitions.

    Nevertheless, since Windows does not provide a lossless way to align partitions, users need the help of third party program. And MiniTool Partition Wizard is capable of doing this, too. For detailed steps, please see the post Align Partition or Align All Partitions.

    After these steps, users need to clean their laptop or PC so as to make it newer.

    5. Clean Your Laptop or PC Like This

    It cannot be denied that there is much dust covering on hardware equipments, like keyboard, screen, and interfaces. If you want to sell it at a relatively higher price or make it newer before donating, don't forget to do the cleaning.

    Needed things:
    For laptop: a cotton rag, a cleaned and soft brush, specialized detergent, and hair drier. If there is no detergent, clean water is also OK.
    For PC: except those for laptop, users can also prepare a small dust collector if there is.

    Detailed steps:

    clean laptop For laptop: make the laptop vertical to the ground or desktop, clean dust with the brush slightly, and use the cotton rag which is with detergent or clean water to wipe screen, keyboard, interfaces, and so on. At last, dry the laptop with hair drier. IMPORTANCE: you'd better not allow both detergent and water to enter the laptop, or the computer would be physically damaged.

    clean pc For PC: take apart the computer case, blow the dust with hair drier or clean dust with dust collector, then sweep dust hidden in slots or gaps with brush, wipe all residual dust with the cotton rag, and finally dry the machine. Of course, you also need to clean the screen of PC like cleaning screen of laptop.

    After these steps, your computer would be much newer than before. And next you'd better do the last preparation.

    6. Find out the Invoice of Your Computer

    A computer with official invoice would be sold at a much higher price since it proves the ownership and purchase information of the computer.

    Are you planning to prepare a PC or laptop to be sold or prepare it for donation? If yes, now make some or all of these 6 preparations, which would help you sell it at higher price or donate it without worrying about privacy leakage.