This post is all about computers running Windows OS rather than Macintosh.
After getting or buying a new PC or laptop, many people choose to sell the old one since it will be no longer used as frequently as before. Nevertheless, selling an old computer always makes people scary, because they may lose important data or suffer from privacy leakage due to an inappropriate sale. Well then, what operations can users do to avoid these troubles or annoyances? In this post, we are going to show users some necessary preparations for selling a computer.
How to Prepare a PC or Laptop to Be Sold
1.Backup All Important or Needed Data to Another Device
A computer used for a period of time must save useful files. If we want to go on using these files on new computer, making a backup should be done before the sale unless we are going to preserve the hard disk. Nevertheless, no one is willing to purchase a computer which is without hard disk. Well, how can we backup our important data?
Firstly, please check how many files you should backup. 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 needed files reach to dozens of GB or more, you’d better employ a third party data backup program, because this will save you much time.
Then, users need to download such a piece of software from the internet. Nevertheless, when searching on the internet you may find most of such programs are chargeable or even expensive so that you are hesitating. Considering this situation, we suggest using MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition as long as you are running Windows non-server operating system, like Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. For server support, please purchase the server edition.
This program offers 2 functions to backup data, namely Copy Partition and Copy Disk. Unlike copying and pasting files, it clones the partition or disk directly, definitely including all saved files, which is the key to quickening data backup. Next, we take backing up a partition for example to show users how to operate the program.
Steps to Copy Partition with MiniTool Partition Wizard
Step 1: start and launch the freeware to get its main interface after it has been installed successfully.
Step 2: select the source partition (the partition we need to clone) and choose “Copy Partition”. Tip: there must be an unallocated space on another recognized device to hold the copy of the source partition. If there is no such space, please shrink a large partition via the function Move/Resize Partition to create.
Step 3: select the unallocated space to copy source partition to and click “Next>”.
Step 4: change the size and location for the new partition, and then click “Finish” to continue.
Step 5: click “Apply” to make all previous changes performed.
Now the backup for source partition has been created, but there is still another kind of backup we should do: backup 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 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 need to remove private or sensitive information as much as possible, which is the key to avoiding privacy leakage.
2.Erase Sensitive Data before Selling a PC or Laptop
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. As a result, you have to suffer from privacy leakage or even more serious losses. Well, how can we erase private information thoroughly? Most of you may choose to delete them and then clean the Recycle Bin or delete them 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. Why?
Once TRIM is enabled, files deleted from SSD will be erased 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 data is not overwritten. To make private information unrecoverable, users need to wipe the drive, which is the process of overwriting the original data, and there is no chance to recover overwritten data.
But note 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.
Well, do you know how to wipe a hard drive or partition? There is freeware to give you a big hand. For more details, please see Erase Data Permanently.
After confirming no privacy leakage will emerge, users need to install Windows if the whole disk or system partition has been erased, or clear current computer to make it run more smoothly when they are using SSD with TRIM enabled.
3.How to Install Windows OS (for a erased hard disk)
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 largely identical. Here we just take installing Windows 7 from CD disc 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:
Then, choose desired language, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method to continue.
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 (for SSD with TRIM enabled)
We have said there is no need for a part of SSD users to reinstall Windows OS, but they had better take the following 2 measures to speed up their computer or optimize computer performance. Undoubtedly, any people want to buy the computer with good condition.
Reset or restore computer.
Resetting computer will 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. There are multiple ways to do the reset or restore, and here we mainly introduce 3 of them.
Solution one: 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.
Solution 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.
Solution 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, an select Return your computer to the factory settings. Afterwards, detailed operating instructions will be given, and users just need to do as told.
Tip: these solutions are more likely available on Windows 7 computer. If you are running Windows 8, you can do like this: click Settings, choose Change PC settings, select Remove everything and reinstall Windows under General menu, click Get started, select the drive to remove, choose a proper option to clean the drive, and finally click Reset to start resetting the computer.
After reset, users need to speed system via making correct alignment.
Align Boot Partition to Get Correct 4K Alignment
Though the newly created partitions will be aligned automatically since Windows Vista, they might be misaligned if users have operated them, 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 the computer.
5.Clean Computer to Make It Newer
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, don’t forget to do the cleaning.
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.
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.
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.
After all these preparations have been made, you can sell your laptop or PC on the internet or market for higher price and without worries.