Safely erase your personal data when replacing your computer.
Many of us change our laptops every few years and upgrade our computers and devices as needed over time. It is very important when selling or trading in our old hardware that our personal data or company data is fully erased. On Microsoft windows this not difficult. Most computers manufactured in the last few years have a recovery partition, this enables you to restore the computer to the factory state which will overwrite your existing files and data. (Google your model of computer e.g. “dell inspiron 1720 factory restore”, the results will usually take you through the process step by step ). Another way of doing this is to create another administrator account via control panel, then log out and back in to the new account. When you are back into the new account you can delete your original account, be sure to check the option to delete all files, ( make sure you have a backup copy of anything you may need in the future). Once this process is complete you can navigate to your main drive, ( usually C: ), click on the ‘users‘ folder and check that your user files are no longer there. If they are you can manually delete them by highlighting the folder, then hitting ‘shift’ + ‘delete’ at the same time then click on ‘yes’. this will permanently delete this folder rather than just sending it to the recycle bin! These methods are fine in most cases, but, a competent computer tech will still be able to recover these files with a bit of work, so if you have any very sensitive information on there, there are other options. There are many software solutions out there that will completely wipe the drives, such as; Disk Wipe or Shredit, these are all great, but if you use them with the complete wipe option, the whole operating system will need to be reinstalled to be able to use the computer again. Of course you can always remove the drive itself and either reuse it yourself or destroy it. Bear in mind though, most non tech savvy people will not want to buy a computer that has no hard drive in it!