You and I are definitely kindred spirits, I do the same thing with old
hardware. But you are obviously in a much more populated area, given
the number of systems you have done. The 2010 population of my county
seat is only 1,089. That is not a typo! <grin> So my "supply" of
old hardware is really minimal.
We vary very little in our approach or philosophy. But I do approach
the question of the "clean up" different than you.
Char and Vanguard are 110% correct, you should wipe the hard drive,
never, never, never, ever, ever, ever give that unit away by just
*not* know or have any control over where the system will end up, or how
it will be used, or the knowledge of any of those users.
I have no qualms asking, if I have the chance, for the original media.
I explain to them, that when they bought the (assumed) Windows computer,
the EULA, if I remember correctly, states that if the computer is sold,
given away, etc., the installation media must go with the computer. I
acknowledge most people never read it. And some people do not know what
they did with the media, or where they put it. And neither of us know
whether the person giving us the hardware is the original owner, or the
2nd, 3rd, etc. We're simply stuck.
I always format the hard drive, sometimes removing it and formatting it
on my Mac. I have also been know to use GParted, and format for Linux,
and then NTFS. When reinstalling the Win OS, I will format again, but I
delete the partitions first. I do not delete the recovery partition,
though, I do not want to mess with that, nor do I change the drive letter
Doing this also removes any leftover gunk from software no longer
installed, removed viruses, trojans, etc. I also partition the drive,
which most do not. And, when I have done all this for an owner and getting
paid for it, everyone has said the system works as fast or faster than
when they bought it or it was given to them.
I do not worry about whether I have the original media. With newer
systems, there is not any. And if the HD in a system is toast, there is
no restoration partition either. I have got a Win7 system I saved that
has that exact problem, the HD is toast for the recovery partition area.
Now what do you do?
Myself, I base everything, in the case of Windows, around whether I have
a COA sticker with the product ID. If I have that to include, I
consider it legal. I do not care where the copy of Win came from.
During or after install, I go into Win and change the product ID of the
install to match the sticker I have. If that does not work, the computer
goes nowhere until I can make that change. Then and only then do I
activate that copy of Windows.
I have been reasonably successful using an original CD obtained from a
less than reputable source. Before Char and Vanguard get too upset,
this is simply an ISO of a retail disk, not a cracked copy, nor do I use
a Keygen program to get things to work. This particular ISO has you
enter the product id during the install. And not all of the product id
stickers will work with this copy. The copy is too old, I suspect. In
this case, it is XP Home SP1, not even 1a! LOL So, if the product ID I
have works, I then have to manually install SP2 and SP3 in order to get
access to the Microsoft Update system.
If the system you are working on happens to be a Dell, you can take the
service tag number, go to Dell, and for @ $20, order a replacement
system disk. Then download the drivers from Dell, and you are in
business. I never order the drivers disk or any software disks, if they
are available. For software, I install about a dozen free, but quality,
programs. Some of which, the utilities, do a better job than what came
with the OS, IMO.
What do you do if you have no product ID? There are software programs
that will tell you that ID from the hard drive, but how do you know if
that was a legal install? You do not, AFAIK. I simply will not do this.
What I am looking at now, is installing Linux on some of these machines.
Despite what the Linux aficionados of Linux say, I do not think many of
the multitude of versions are ready for prime time. Haven't given up,
We certainly are not stealing any "sales" from anyone, if anything, we
may actually create a sale or two. The recipients of our systems do not
have the money for a system, so there is no sale to be lost. If we
did not give them a computer, they'd be using one that is public at a
library, or someone else's computer.
If you want to compare notes on what we are doing with this old stuff,
feel free to email me at the address above. it is valid.
Char and Vanguard, that offer extends to you two also.
Mac OS X 10.6.8