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CNET Membership newsletter March 15, 2004 

The 5 that matter

Dear CNET members:
While many of our members suggested that Jack simply reformat the hard drive--according this article and many like it--performing a basic reformat just isn't good enough to ensure that your personal data stays safe. Below is our pick, which touches on a few possible solutions depending on Jack's needs. If you would like to discuss this topic further, you're welcome to join us by clicking here. Thanks for all the great submissions!

1 I'm donating my old PC to charity. What should I do to make sure all of my information is completely gone? --Submitted by Jack K. of Jacksonville, FL

There are basically three ways to eliminate information from a hard drive:

1. Overwriting the data -- This is probably the solution that this particular user is interested in, since he wants someone to be able to reuse the hard drive. There are several free, shareware, commercial products and services that provide this option.

2. Degaussing (demagnetizing) -- This magnetically destroys the data on a hard drive. However, it requires a special machine that the general public doesn't normally have access to. And it can render the hard drive unusable.

3. Destruction -- This can be psychologically gratifying to those with a sledgehammer and a latent hatred for all things technological. But it renders the hard drive unusable for future use.

--Submitted by member: Steve P. of Toronto Canada
Please click here to check out Steve’s full response.

For his efforts, we’re sending his choice of any Learning CD.

Check out next week's question:

I just started using Outlook 2003 and discovered that it doesn't automatically display the images in my e-mail--I have to right-click them to see them. As a graphic artist, I need to see the images in HTML e-mail immediately. Is there any workaround?

--Submitted by member: Pam C. of Waterville, ME

We feature a new question every Monday. If you have the answer, e-mail us at If we choose your response, you'll get a free CD. Click here for Q&A submission guidelines

Lee Koo
CNET Community
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1 Defragging woes
One problem facing computer users is that from time to time, the Windows defragging program doesn't complete its task. It starts over and over again or simply just freezes. It's frustrating, but you're not alone. This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions in the forums; it comes up almost every day. So what do you do when the defragging utility stops in its tracks? Find a solution in this discussion. And if you're still unable to resolve your issue with this utility, a solution from the forum is just a post away. More from the Computer Help forum

1 Is Kazaa the culprit in Explorer's high CPU usage?
Have you noticed anything strange or different about your computer after you downloaded the peer-to-peer (P2P) Kazaa Media Desktop file-sharing service? If your system just doesn't seem right, you may want to check out this discussion to find out how to remove Kazaa completely. More from the Virus & Security forum

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