General Question

sjg102379's avatar

How do I make sure that all my personal data is removed from my computer?

Asked by sjg102379 (1245points) January 27th, 2007
I'm getting a new computer, and will be donating my old one. But how to I make sure that all my personal information is removed from the computer--especially saved credit card information, etc, from various websites?
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10 Answers

ben's avatar
Depends how paranoid you are:
ben's avatar
For basic stuff, removing your cache in you browser and deleting all old files is sufficient
ben's avatar
But if you're concerned about sensitive data, a better bet is to reformat your hard drive (and reinstall your old operating system)
ben's avatar
There are also many commercial programs which go even farther and completely scramble all recoverable data from your machine
ben's avatar
but just for charity, I think erasing personal data and clearing out browser cache is sufficient. They will most likely be wiping the machine clean anyway.
sjg102379's avatar
Ben! I don't know how to do any of that stuff! More explaining!
samkusnetz's avatar
either mac or pc, the way to reformat your hard drive is to insert the system software disc that came with your computer and go through the process of re-installing the system software. if you look carefully, there will be an option to completely erase your hard drive before the re-installation.
SomaShine's avatar
One word - Chainsaw
wept's avatar

boot and nuke:

“DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.”

you can download an iso, create a boot disk and wipe it with varying levels of zeroing/random data/etc.

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