how to guard against spies in a computer repair shop

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  1. Posts : 9
    win10
       #1

    how to guard against spies in a computer repair shop


    Assume you need to send your computer to a repair shop. (Manufacturer's warranty service, or other, away from your home). How can you ascertain your private information can not be read?
    1) copy USERs folder to your external hard disk, then delete source.
    2) Extract browser history, cookies (browser passwords), URLs and move these to hard disk. Delete source.
    3) If you do a search with words you use often you might find some duplicates of your information. Now this is tedious and unreliable.
    4) Some applications store data inside the application folder without you ever know about.
    5) Here follows what other TENFORUM members suggest...........................................PLEASE.
    A) MS forces use of registration (email), there is a chance repair shop can open email, hotmail, out look, just by using logon data.

    Hopefully this will become an item in the TENFORUMs library to download.
      My Computer

  2. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 11,488
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19043.1151 (x64) [21H1]
       #2

    ezwin10 said:
    Assume you need to send your computer to a repair shop. (Manufacturer's warranty service, or other, away from your home). How can you ascertain your private information can not be read?
    1) copy USERs folder to your external hard disk, then delete source.
    2) Extract browser history, cookies (browser passwords), URLs and move these to hard disk. Delete source.
    3) If you do a search with words you use often you might find some duplicates of your information. Now this is tedious and unreliable.
    4) Some applications store data inside the application folder without you ever know about.
    5) Here follows what other TENFORUM members suggest...........................................PLEASE.
    A) MS forces use of registration (email), there is a chance repair shop can open email, hotmail, out look, just by using logon data.

    Hopefully this will become an item in the TENFORUMs library to download.


    If I was worried about "spies in a computer repair shop", I would... make a full OS image backup, and save that backup to an external hard drive or even an internal hard drive.

    Then I would remove all drives except the OS drive.
    Then I would overwrite the OS drive with zeroes, and delete everything in OneDrive if you use it.
    Then do a clean install of Windows on the OS drive.

    I don't think you could do any more to protect your privacy.
    Last edited by Ghot; 21 Apr 2021 at 20:03.
      My Computer

  3. Clintlgm's Avatar
    Posts : 1,096
    Win 10 pro Upgraded from 8.1
       #3

    I usually on the purchase of a new computer, remove the original hard drive/SSD and replace it with my own choice, that way i pay less for a small hard drive and if I need to send it in I remove my Hard Drive/SSD and put the original back in and send it off.
    Short of that as mention above Make a full image to external drive. Format and and go as far as you think you need to to fully clean your hard drive install a clean Windows and send it away. Kind of hard to do if your Computer is in failure. That's why i just keep the original SSD/HD don't need it often but when you do you do.

    If you only having problems with Windows or software there is noting you can do except figure out the solution yourself.
      My Computers

  4. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,492
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #4

    I'd remove all hard drives before taking it to the shop.

    Make it the shop's business to diagnose whether or not any of the remaining hardware is problematic. Let them determine that however they want to.

    If you have Windows or software problems, figure that out yourself and reinstall at home as necessary.

    I've long since decided that I will never make a hard drive warranty claim. I'll simply take a sledgehammer to the drive and buy another.
      My Computer

  5. Lance1's Avatar
    Posts : 757
    Windows 10 Professional x64 21H1
       #5

    I agree with with all the suggestions offered But... If you are having issues with your system, Just login to TenForums and state your problem. There are many knowledgeable people that can diagnose your issue and help you fix it yourself! Making you more knowledgeable yourself. It's a win win situation. I used to be a repair tech so I know the industry. Bottom line! Do it yourself and we are here to help.

    Did I Just Make A Commercial???
      My Computers

  6. Compumind's Avatar
    Posts : 2,802
    Windows 10 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #6

    FYI -

    HDD's are basically easy, while SSD's are a bit more tricky due to their storage methodology and finite cell count.

    This is a useful article, so be sure to do it the right way -

    https://www.micron.com/-/media/clien...rase.pdf?la=en

    Ensure that your "nuking" program or method is designed for SSD Sanitizing.

    HTH
      My Computer

  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 20,122
    10 Home x64 (21H1) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #7

    ezwin10 said:
    A) MS forces use of registration (email), there is a chance repair shop can open email, hotmail, out look, just by using logon data.
    MS don't force the use of an email login - they just make it very difficult to avoid using one when first setting up a PC.

    If you have been forced into a Microsoft account, you can always switch it to a local account that doesn't use your email address.

    Switch to Local Account in Windows 10
      My Computers

  8. Bastet's Avatar
    Posts : 1,873
    Windows 10 Pro 64bit
       #8

    +1 for Ghot’s suggestion.
    Image the drive using Macrium then clean install Windows using a local account.
      My Computer

  9. simrick's Avatar
    Posts : 16,226
    W10Prox64
       #9

    Take the drive(s) out and send it to the repair shop. If they need to, they can throw in a drive with an OS on it for troubleshooting. Or, find a local person you can trust. Or, learn to do it yourself.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 9
    win10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Thank you all for your advice.
    I actually did ask for help in this forum when Wifi stopped working. One response indicated Qualcomm software, though Qualcomm website offers it only to selected companies. Lenovo Vantage did more destruction to my computer than help the situation. Weeks of No-Wifi resulted. After filtering out all the useless advice from Lenovo (MX) and others I decided to reinstall Win10 from USB (the same I used before), without removing applications. After this and Win10 updates WiFi worked. Lots of other problems kept me busy, some solved, some remain. I marked my WiFi thread solved, adding Reinstall Win10 to it.
    Now to the answers given by you: 1) Thank you. 2) All the answers indicate highly computer-knowledgeable people who need no repair shop. Most users do not have this know-how. Even if their device is no longer in warranty they might need a repair shop. Removing HD will certainly increase repair cost, or the shop might refuse handling the matter and kill warranty for the whole device.
    3) One of the tricky location most user don't know about is C:\Users\ezwin10\AppData\Roaming . There might be others.
    4) I would dare to indicate that most users would be unable to follow the recommended actions simply because they don't know how. Opening a notebook and remove / insert hardware is beyond them.
    5) May be some additional recommendations could be added? I am thinking mainly of memory locations (HD folders) which might be a place to remove data and store outside.
    Shall we continue?
      My Computer


 
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